Giving Back is a Personal Mission

CHOA’s Maciolek “Has been there,” Understands Patients’ Helpless Feelings

Laura Maciolek

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

In addition to working full time at CHOA, Maciolek dedicates one day a week to Good Shepherd Clinic, a free medical facility in Dawsonville.

Indigent patients, ranging from children to seniors, seek help at Good Shepherd. Whether it’s a bout of bronchitis or more serious complications from diabetes, Maciolek lends both a hand and an ear to those in need. Jane Stuckey, the director of Good Shepherd Clinic, describes Maciolek’s work as “tireless,” not only noting her compassionate care, but also her ability to help find financial and supply resources to keep the clinic active.

Giving back continues to be a personal mission for Maciolek. Years ago while applying for nursing school, she and her children were involved in a severe car accident. Being confined to a hospital bed herself while her seriously injured son received treatment brought a feeling of helplessness to Maciolek. Witnessing the selfless care nurses gave her and her son, including one nurse coming in on her day off to check on Maciolek, inspired her to give back.

“It’s terrifying when it feels like your world is crashing down upon you,” she said. “I know what that feels like, because I’ve been there. Now I can give that back to somebody else.”

On volunteering at the free clinic:

“What makes me feel really good about working there, is that I can be there for somebody. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them and do something for them. They see someone does care, someone’s listening and someone’s going to help them get through their problem. …Knowing that I can make a difference for them means a lot to me, even if it’s just for that day.”