IUSM Volunteer Day!

Aug 20, 2018 | by Katherine Basaran

In August, The Salvation Army had the opportunity to partner with the Indiana University School of Medicine to help prepare the next generation of physicians for a career serving their community. We created a variety of experiences and projects that would give first-year medical students a chance to learn more about the population that The Salvation Army serves.

The first event involved IUSM first-year medical students enrolled at the school’s campuses across the state.  The students came to The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, where they were given a number of projects to complete. The largest group of students was tasked with folding and sorting donated clothing by size. There were dozens of boxes when the day began, and breaking them all apart and sorting them correctly was a task that would have taken days had it not been for the large group.  Having these cloths organized correctly makes intake of new patients to the center go more smoothly in what can be a very stressful time.

Other small groups of student volunteers worked on landscaping and picking up trash outside of the facility, organizing an office space, and cleaning the gymnasium.  The teams of students were challenged to stay organized and work quickly to get everything done before the day ended. 

A second IUSM service learning experience involved medical students from the Indianapolis campus, who volunteered at four Salvation Army facilities around Indianapolis.  We had students volunteering at The Fountain Square Community Center, The Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center, Booth Manor, and our Harbor Light Center on the same afternoon.  Each group had a different goal; some groups were given a specific task to improve a building, while others were given a game or activity with the goal of putting a smile on someone’s face.  

The group of students at the Women and Children’s Center helped to prepare dinner, did arts and crafts with the residents, mulched the playground, and painted a few areas of the building.  They also utilized their medical training to provide health tips for the women and children as the day went on.  "We are so grateful to the students that came and donated their time to us today.” Pam Fleck, Director of Center said. “The women and children really enjoyed having them here, and the work that they did to update our facility and playground will help us throughout the year."

The students who went to The Fountain Square Community Center traveled over to Shoe Carnival to help pick out a new pair of shoes for a senior involved in The Salvation Army’s older adult ministries. The medical school students were a perfect fit for this task, as they were able to talk with the seniors and work with them to find a pair of shoes that felt great and would last.

At Booth Manor, a game of bingo was the “project.” A few students ran the game, while others played alongside the older adults and encouraged excitement and healthy competition.  As the game got closer to the end, and more people were shouting “bingo,” you could feel the excitement in the room. It was a great opportunity for the residents to get out of their apartments and spend some time with different people where the only objective was to have a good time.  Andy Amick, Director of Corporate Relations said, “The event was a success, the students were highly engaged and asked great questions while touring the facility.  You could tell they had a great deal of compassion and the desire to help others.  The IU students brought a lot of fun and love with them, and Booth Manor residents left smiling ear to ear and in great spirits.”

The students who came to the Harbor Light Center were able to learn about the different treatment and recovery programs offered and then were able to practice their medical skills by doing wellness checks and health screens on some of the residents. 

We want to give a big thank you to the Indiana University School of Medicine for working with The Salvation Army to instill a sense of community and service in the next generation of medical professionals. If you would like to see some pictures from the various locations, please visit our Flickr page: https://flic.kr/s/aHskGeDaYY

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