Volunteer Spotlight: Eric Lee

Eric Lee, HCAT Volunteer

Working as an administrative intern at AHP can be a life-changing experience—just ask Eric Lee. In 2010-11, the Vancouver native served as a post-baccalaureate administrative intern at AHP. “Once I got a taste of mental health services as a part of the ASAP (AIDS and Substance Abuse Program) team, and I was seeing all these people come in with issues that I hadn’t thought about before, I knew I wanted to work directly with clients,” said Eric.

When Eric’s internship ended, he signed up to become an HIV test counselor at AHP. He went through a five-day HIV counselor training with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and an eight-week training that AHP conducts for all of its new HIV Counseling and Testing (HCAT) volunteers. Eric’s considerable people skills as well as his knowledge of HIV have served him, and our clients, particularly well as he has undertaken both in-house and on-the-street risk assessments.

“Eric brings on a wonderful dedication to the HCAT team. He has stayed with us long after his one year commitment,” according to HCAT Manager Perry Rhodes III. “Eric always has a positive, willing-and-able attitude.  He embodies all the qualities that we look for in our counseling team.”

There is a direct relationship between Eric’s volunteer experience at AHP and his career choice. Eric says, “It just made sense. I was already working here, and it was a natural transition to go into clinical psychology,” he reminisced, his smile revealing his sense of wonder. “I can’t even believe how much time has gone by since I moved here. It’s already been almost five years, and here I am, a second year clinical psychology student!”

After his AHP internship, Eric was accepted into the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP)–Stanford University PsyD Consortium program. As part of his practicum, he works at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Hospital where, under the supervision of one of his professors, he manages a full caseload of veterans seeking psychological care. Somehow, in the midst of classes, his clients, and a vibrant social life, Eric continues to fit a weekly five-hour AHP volunteering shift into his schedule.

“I love the group of counselors and everybody that I get to work with at AHP. They are a great group of people who all have such interesting lives,” he states. “One of my favorite things about volunteering at HCAT, is that I get to be a part of the community that is so accepting and supportive.”

AHP relies on volunteers like Eric. We go through an exhaustive process to recruit, train, support, and supervise the best volunteers. We know Eric will someday move on to devote himself to LGBTQ-affirming mental health. Until then, we are grateful to have him—his energy, expertise, experience, not to mention his wit and charm—doing great counseling for the clients who need it most. Thank you, Eric!