By: Lorena Brasnic

Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, the DWW-SBSM van parks outside of the Trinity Church of Nazarene in Lompoc and enthusiastic volunteers led by the passionate leadership of the clinic coordinator Cassie, set up a clinic in the communal room of the church. According to the clinic’s vitalist Bobby, patients’ volume differs from Saturday to Saturday, but the amount of eye-opening stories never fail to inspire. One busy Saturday afternoon, I had a chance to observe the volunteers in action and in between incoming patients, talk to them about their DWW and Lompoc stories.

Lompoc clinic coordinator – Cassie

Since graduating from UCSB, Cassie has been involved with DWW for almost four years now. She has seen Lompoc clinic in its early stages and has been an integral part of its development ever since. Her journey from being a scribe and packs volunteer provided her with the well-rounded experience needed to take on the role of Lompoc clinic coordinator which she has been running since Summer 2018. A lack of initiatives such as DWW in this often overlooked area, brings low-income families and people experiencing homelessness together every other Saturday of the month in the local church where under her guidance, Lompoc clinic embodies the positive difference in this underserved population.

Unlike other clinics, Lompoc clinic is distinguished by its repeating patients who are utilizing the variety of services that the church provides. She also suggests that a greater pool of resources provided by the Lompoc community encourages members to remain more stable and stationary in order to access this consistent source of help and comfort. As coordinator, she identifies a lack of volunteers as one difficulty Lompoc clinic faces due to the bigger time commitment and travel distance. This gap has been filled by the newly implemented requirement where volunteers who cross-train are required to attend Lompoc clinic at least once every three months which inevitably contributes to the sustainability and efficiency of this clinic.

When asked to single out one advice that she would pass on to new volunteers, she states, “Embrace the experience that makes you able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and empathize with difficulties these people are going through, no matter how that looks for them.”

Cassie tackles the importance of realizing that vulnerable populations often go the extra mile to seek resources and assistance. More importantly, these people have already taken the first brave step to get help and being that bridge between them and resources requires a great deal of patience, but returns as the most rewarding way to serve the underserved, she explains.

Cassie’s interest for improving the quality of life of the homeless population extends beyond DWW. She is also closely involved with New Beginning Safe Parking program which aims to provide safe overnight shelters for homeless people living in their vehicles. As a program coordinator, she connects them with the available resources in order to ensure long-term sustainability of their lifestyles while transitioning into permanent housing.


Lompoc clinic vitalist – Bobby

From being an a EMT in a local shelter in Santa Barbara, to volunteering in parks for three years, and now serving as a vitals volunteer in Lompoc clinic, volunteering with DWW has become integrated as an essential part of Bobby’s life since his college years.

What drew Bobby to the Lompoc clinic was its uniqueness and the diversity of population they are serving. He emphasized the well-structured and organized model of those ‘Lompoc Saturdays’ held in what they popularly called ‘multipurpose room’ of the local Trinity Church of Nazarene. Alongside the meals and basic hygiene services, the underserved members of this community are welcomed to access medical services at our mobile clinic. 

Bobby’s kind message to the new and future DWW volunteers is to have patience with identifying their strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly, to keep an open and engaging mind when learning and interacting with patients. He sees this volunteering opportunity as a mission saying that in this ever-changing field of medicine, he yearns to serve wherever there is need.




Lompoc Clinic MD – Debbie

After completing a Masters degree in Neuroscience at Columbia University, medical school at University of Pennsylvania, followed by Emergency Medicine training in Pittsburgh, Debbie came back home to California where her introduction to street medicine occurred. Stemming from the fortunate circumstance of doing an internet show with our medical director, Dr. Jason Prystowsky, Debbie was exposed to the field of street medicine and humanitarian work. This first point of contact was enough for her to immediately engage with the organization and embrace the practice of street medicine. 

As a Lompoc clinician, Debbie volunteers regularly and is beloved by the patients. She believes her knowledge and skills are of a great asset here where she notices a prevalence of poverty and fewer resources compared to Santa Barbara. Every other Saturday she overcomes these challenges of limited resources while encouraging patients to seek long-term and more sustainable healthcare. A rare, but inconvenient circumstance she faces is having too many patients and too little available hands to help. However, this obstacle is overcome by having local residents coming in and helping out as well as through the recruitment of people residing in the area. 

What makes it easy for her to come back every other Saturday as well as engage in other DWW initiatives is the joy of working with young, passionate people who she is always more than happy to teach and pass valuable skills on to.

Thank you to Cassie, Bobby, and Debbie for taking the time to share their stories and for all the invaluable work they do in the Lompoc clinic!