More than 200 American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) students, faculty, colleagues and their families participated in Community Action Day on Saturday, June 18. The semesterly event, which has become a staple for our university, is a day-long celebration of service to and with the island of St. Maarten. This year, participants volunteered 775 hours of service at 11 sites across the island.
 
Community Action Day continues to evolve and grow since its initiation years ago. This year, students and campus organizations ran volunteer efforts to beautify Mullet Bay, tutor youth in the St. Maarten Little League Player Development Program, build awareness of sickle cell disease, clean up public parks, playgrounds and the zoo, support local animal adoption events, oversee a science fair, and provide entertainment for the elderly as well as foster children.
 
“Giving back to the community is so important—not only as a community member but as a physician as well,” a student said. “This helps us to gain trust from the community we are treating and teaches use about the healthcare needs of the people around us.”

Several student organizations helped to co-lead the event, including Phi Chi (AUC’s community service fraternity), Student Volunteer Committee, South Asian Medical Student Association, Christian Medical and Dental Association, Pediatric Interest Group, Canadian Medical Student Association, Black Medical Students Association, Family Medicine Interest Group, American Medical Student Association, and the Geriatrics Interest Group.

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Students learn about local fruit tree preservation during a Community Action Day event at Bellevue Gardens.

On Sunday, following the main event, twelve students were invited to Bellevue Gardens to learn about local produce and efforts to preserve fruit trees across St. Maartin. Dr. Golden Jackson, Assistant Dean for Service Learning and Community Affairs, gathered with students to work the gardens, hike the grounds, and share stories about the power of positivity and seal healing.
 
“The experience working at the gardens taught me several important lessons,” a student commented. “It was very pleasant to work the land and for the first time in a long time I felt relaxed, truly relaxed. The experience reminded me to seek out spaces that provide that relaxed state, where I am free from my own mind.”
 
Community Action Day typically takes place on the Saturday following block exams. The next event is scheduled for October 15, 2016. 
 

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Shannon Toher

Posted June 24, 2016 07:46 AM

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