By Camillia Dababneh |Staff Writer|
CSUSB student, Philip Castellanos, has dedicated himself to be a true humanitarian by helping people with a variance of special needs.
Castellanos is double majoring in economics and political science, along with a minor in intercultural communications.
After high school, when in need of new living quarters, Castellanos was offered a place to live in Riverside, but in return, was expected to lend a helping hand.
Castellanos began living in the Room and Board, a facility that offers a place full of compassion and tenderness for people with mental illnesses, disabilities, the elderly, and sometimes even parolees.
Castellanos explains that the government places these patients in the homes, offering each of them Social Security to help pay for their current situation.
When he accepted this opportunity, he understood the huge commitment and responsibility.
“It was extremely nerve-wracking, but based on my living conditions I knew I had to test the waters,” said Castellanos.
In the Room and Board, he manages as a caregiver for six people in the household, around the clock.
“I supervise 24/7, 365 days a year, and also on weekends, for seven years,” said Castellanos.
Castellanos’ responsibilities include cooking every meal, cleaning the home inside and out, helping with giving medication, securing the facility, as well as enforcing rules and regulations to make sure all the patients are following them.
“I knew going into this I had to be calm and patient with them but learned pretty fast that I needed to be more stern at times,” said Castellanos.
Castellanos mentioned that sometimes he becomes impatient with them, but they understand that he is just having a hard day at work.
There are six homes in close proximity of each other, which makes it easy for Castellanos to frequently drive to and make sure things are running functionally. With a job this demanding, it comes to no surprise that running a Room and Board can be tough, but Castellanos considers himself extremely fortunate to have supportive friends.
Castellanos’ close friend and fellow CSUSB student, Jorge Partida, has shown encouragement by donating a trunk full of clothing for the patients that stay there.
Most of the patients that come into these Room and Boards arrive with no personal items—including clothing.
“Sometimes I will give them the clothes off my back if I have to,” said Castellanos.
When it comes to his school work, Castellanos always finds a way to never fall behind by making sure he studies for his exams and staying on top of his assignments.
“I’m the type of person that always gets his work done no matter what,” said Castellanos.
Castellanos ambition doesn’t stop him from working, he created an Instagram page, @TheSwollLifeProject, that is dedicated to motivating people to reach their goals in life, fitness, and education.
The only thing that makes what he does more enjoyable, is being able to hear their stories and share their laughs.
“When you get random moments of laughter, that’s the best part,” said Castellanos.
Since Castellanos was introduced to this world, he doesn’t see it ending any time soon.
He has big goals planned ahead. Castellanos plans to venture on an international scale by buying pieces of property and opening more Room and Boards for those in need to get back on a focused path.