Re-Directing Design Dexterity

It was March 16, 2020. I had worked my last day at the Virtua Cardiology office in Moorestown, NJ, and with the pandemic revving up, I was unsure of what my future would hold as a medical scribe or how, at large, I could assist others.

Five months later, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Antoinette Spevetz, a hero working on the front line at Cooper Hospital in critical care medicine. We discussed my background, goals, and aspirations in the field of medicine. After learning about my extensive history of video game design skills, Dr. Spevetz recommended I re-purpose my skills into volunteer work to help those in need. Later that day, while summarizing the conversation we had with my parents, the idea of volunteering my skills brought a smile to my face. A few days later, Dr. Spevetz sent an article in regards to a nonprofit organization called “Helping Hands.”

Within the first few paragraphs of the article, I fell in love with the accomplishments and goals of LA Helping Hands, but at the time of the article, NJ/PA Helping Hands was relatively new as an extension of the LA organization. As I continued to scroll down to read the article, I was shocked when I recognized one of the members from a picture of three individuals. Joe Miscioscia, the Allyship Program Director, was a childhood friend of mine from Ann A. Mullen Middle School whom I hadn’t spoken to since our graduation! I immediately opened up Instagram to contact him about potentially joining the organization.

Shortly after catching up with events occurring over the interceding years, I pitched what I could bring to the table. I was eager to integrate past branding guidelines with the vision I had to amplify the mission of NJ/PA Helping Hands — to empower New Jersey and Pennsylvania communities to combat poverty, isolation, and educational inequities. It has been an honor to work in the Outreach Program alongside Zack Finacchio, Madison Largey, and a team full of similarly motivated, brilliant individuals. I have had the privilege to work on numerous projects including website reconstruction, social media designs, PowerPoint guidelines, and most recently, advertising for COVID-19 relief in India.

A snapshot of the home page to Galante’s website overhaul

In today’s age, especially with in-person meetings limited due to the pandemic, technology is one of the greatest means of communication. No one in this team has succumbed to the obstacles along the way and instead has consistently surveyed the field for another route to assist others. The ongoing COVID relief efforts in India reflect this and make me grateful that I am part of this team.

NJ/PA Helping Hands has been one of the greatest and most meaningful adventures in my life. There may be more than one team within the organization, but we remain closely connected on a weekly basis via a Zoom call that helps strengthen our core priorities and optimize synergy. This team has shown me that anything is possible as long as we all work together and lend a helping hand to those in need.

Alex Galante, Principal Designer and Outreach Coordinator for NJ/PA Helping Hands

An NJ/PA-based group providing support through our allyship, virtual companionship, and online tutoring programs. Assist at gf.me/u/x5htyk! njpahelpinghands.com