One Redondo Beach high school graduate used the boredom of time in quarantine to find his true passion -- EMT certification so he can help out during the pandemic.
Redondo Union High School graduate Xan Wesley is now working out on the streets, testing people in homeless encampments for COVID-19, and he’s starting his path to his goal of becoming a doctor.
The 18-year-old, a newly certified EMT, has been working in street medicine, doing nasal swabs to test for coronavirus.
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"When school ended, I had all this free time on my hands. I thought— what can I do to help people? Because I saw all this going on with hospitals when the pandemic hit," he said.
Wesley finished high school through distance learning. He missed out on the big milestones like prom and graduation.
But he was able to focus on his goal of working in medicine.
"There are so many homeless people. We get to interact with them and help them every day. Some of the things we see as we go, no one else gets to see. It’s really humbling and at the same time, we are learning so much," he said.
As a recent high school grad, he’s working 40-plus hours a week, starting his day at 5 in the morning.
He hopes to inspire a generation of young people and prove that quarantine can be valuable time.
"I really hope that especially for minority students and kids that look like me -- Black and brown students -- that they really see that we need more doctors. We need more EMTs who are Black. We need more medical professionals. That is the only way we better ourselves and our communities," he said.
In addition to his new job, during quarantine, Wesley also created a nonprofit research foundation dedicated to his friend Ryse Williams who died from Renal Medullary Carcinoma.
It’s a rare sickle cell disease that impacts young African Americans.
"I accumulate the most info about treatments for Renal Medullary Carcinoma, and put it on one platform and I simplify it down, so that people who have it, who have the sickle cell trait, can really understand staying motivated, and hoping to set a good example for other teens," he said.
He said he hopes to prove COVID-19 won’t stop young people from making a difference in their communities.