PA Students Give Back to Local Communities
Programs Around the Country Got Involved During PA Week 2018
November 27, 2018
By Caitlin Harrison
Twenty-six PA programs from 19 states participated in the Student Academy’s third annual PA Student Service Week, which encourages PA students to serve their communities during PA Week. These programs held food and toiletry drives for the homeless, participated in charity walks, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. A few PA programs are highlighted here, and more photos are featured on the Student Academy Facebook page.
Campbell University, North Carolina – Southeast Region
Forty PA students from the class of 2020 organized a drive for non-perishable food and personal hygiene items for victims of Hurricane Florence, a storm that affected tens of thousands of residents throughout the Carolinas. The class collected enough donations to fill the bed of a full-sized pick-up truck within a week. These items were donated during PA week through the North Carolina Academy of PAs in Raleigh, N.C.
Concordia University, Wisconsin – North Central Region
Concordia’s PA class of 2020 volunteered with the Healthy Snack Packing program of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. PA students decorated snack bags with motivational messages and pictures and put together snack packs for kids who attend after-school programs. These snack packs supplement meals served after school or are sent home with those facing food scarcity.
Pacific University, Oregon – Western Region
Thirteen PA students from Pacific University helped with landscaping and clearing property of a house that will be used as a day-service building for homeless adults in Washington County. They worked with the non-profit company, Just Compassions, removing blackberry bushes and laying gravel and mulch.
“It was a nice way to connect to the community that we are living in. It also provided a great opportunity to become closer as classmates by coming together for a good cause,” said PA student Emily Hermann.
SUNY Upstate, New York – Northeast Region
#HappyPeriod is a nationwide organization that “provides menstrual products to anyone with a period who is low-income, homeless, or living in poverty.” Recently, Upstate PA student Quinn Searles and her sister, Madison Searles, began a Syracuse chapter of #HappyPeriod, to work towards menstrual equity in the Syracuse area. On Sunday, October 7, #HappyPeriod Syracuse held their first packing party, an event where volunteers organized donated pads, tampons, wipes, and underwear with a personalized note in individual bags for distribution to those in need. Upstate PA students supported their classmate in assisting at the packing party, where nearly 100 kits were created. Each kit is enough for one period for one person. The kits will soon be distributed to The Rescue Mission, WYCA, Hope Print, The Salvation Army, and Wholely Grounds at the R.O.A.D. Church.
“The #HappyPeriod Packing Party was an amazing community-lead event which will have a great direct impact on the Syracuse community. It was inspiring to be together with other volunteers packing kits from donated items, to be able to give these kits to people with periods who need menstrual products. It’s a wonderful organization working towards menstrual equity in the Syracuse area!” said Upstate PA student Alaina Wayland.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas – South Central Region
The Kelly-Rahn-Turnage Fellowship for University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences PA students, in collaboration with the Arkansas Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association (AMDPA), held the fifth annual Heroes Against Hunger 5K at Murray Park in Little Rock on October 6. The race was at the start of National PA Week, with the intent to give back to the local community. With each single dollar providing one meal to five children, this is a tremendous support to local Arkansans. UAMS students set their highest goal to date, $10,000, for the race this year. Funds are still coming in, but the fundraiser should pass the $10,000 goal. Additionally, more than 200 runners came out to the race. Not only did the race feed hungry kids of the community, but it also educated the community about the PA Program and all that PAs can do.
“My favorite part of this week is sharing our talents and time with our local community. Food disparity in Arkansas is very real; I am so glad to be part of a university PA program that emphasizes a great education in healthcare but also a willingness to meet the basic needs of those around us,” said Emily McKinney, a University of Arkansas PA student.
Towson University, Maryland – Mid-Atlantic Region
PA students held a donor drive for Be the Match. Be the Match helps to find bone marrow and blood stem cell matches for patients who are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases, which could save their lives and potentially cure their cancer. PA students helped to raise awareness of this organization and diseases that students could help cure if they register to be a donor. (Read about PA Kevin Schwartzel, who signed up for Be the Match as a student and was able to save the life of a seven-year-old boy.)
“We loved being able to increase the diversity on the registry as Towson University has great diversity and the registry needs that!” said Rachel Weitman, a Towson PA student.
It’s not too early to start thinking about how your program will celebrate PA Week 2019!
Caitlin Harrison is of AAPA’s manager of the Student Academy and Volunteer Engagement & Governance. She can be reached at [email protected].