Leonie Wims Physician of Oriental Medicine
Dr. Leonie Wims, L.Ac
“I feel like more than a caregiver. I feel like I found a place where I'm welcome, where my skills matter, and where I matter,” says Leonie Wims, Poverello’s latest Volunteer in Profile (VIP). Originally from Jamaica, and Mom to her beautiful Labrador retriever, Wims came to South Florida as an immigrant in 1999. Her mother still lives in Jamaica, and sadly, her father passed away from Parkinson’s disease two years ago.
Wims, who provides free acupuncture treatments to Poverello clients, remarks: “My purpose at the time I immigrated was to climb the corporate ladder and I had no interest in medicine whatsoever. When that didn’t work out, I had to fend for myself, so I became a home health aide and then a certified nursing assistant. I decided that I wanted to be a nurse and I attended Brown College to do my nursing prerequisites. I then applied to Nova University and was accepted, but it just didn't feel right. The way I live my life is very natural. I have no issues with Western medicine, but I was thinking to myself, how can I be an advocate for something that I don't take advantage of myself.”
“At the time,” Wims recalls, “I had no knowledge of Eastern medicine. I found a book titled Natural Awakenings and Atlantic School of Oriental Medicine was mentioned in the book. Atlantic’s curriculum is based in traditional Chinese medicine, including herbology.
I now am a certified acupuncturist, and I practice herbal medicine as well. I recently earned my doctorate and my focus is on internal medicine. What is so great about my school is that it also had Western medicine infused into the coursework. We studied physics and chemistry, so I feel well rounded in both Eastern and Western practices. I want to be able to treat anyone who walks into my practice.”
“This is an amazing organization,” she declares. “Just from what I have experienced, the people that Poverello reaches out and helps: the homeless; the people that you pass on the road; the people that the churches forget; the people that the government agencies forget; they can come to Poverello. Gay, straight, homeless, or I don't have a paycheck this week, a client can come here and get food, chiropractic services, acupuncture treatments, work out in the gym, and even get a haircut!”
“Not only that but to provide jobs for people and a place where people can come and volunteer. So, you don't have to feel like I'm taking, I'm also helping. For me, that's why I feel so connected to this organization, because I'm just one person doing acupuncture. But I'm helping eighteen people a day when I'm here, and I feel better knowing that I'm helping someone.”
Wims mentions that Poverello is her first volunteer experience. “I am absolutely enjoying it,” she exclaims, “I feel proud to say that I find Poverello so relevant to the needs of the community. You guys do it all here!”
“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
Acupuncturist of the Month,
Leonie Wims, L.Ac