MGH Institute Students Volunteer A Day to Help People in Charlestown

Making an IMPACT in the Community is what MGH Institute students recently did, spending a  day to help people in Charlestown and beyond.

Savannah Marcelino was one of 17 MGH Institute of Health Professions graduate students who were at Harvard-Kent Elementary School on September 15 when Principal Jason Gallagher and Assistant Principal Mark Silva walked in and explained what they would be doing with the pupils.

Rock painting – with a purpose.

It was part of the public school’s beautification project, and the MGH Institute students spent the morning helping the youngsters adorn the rocks that will be distributed throughout the school in the coming weeks.

“It was a way to have the kids feel like they are part of something special, something they can be proud of,” said Marcelino, who is in her first year in the Institute’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies program.

She was one of the 300 IHP students who participated in the school’s annual Community IMPACT Day, where they assisted more than 40 non-profits throughout Greater Boston doing such things as taking blood pressure, providing healthy nutrition and smoking cessation information, doing general cleanup, making blankets, and reading books to children.

The day launched the school’s IMPACT Practice curriculum. This series of interprofessional courses and activities encourages students to learn with, from, and about one another. Teams of five or six students from the school’s academic disciplines – nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, and speech-language pathology – will spend their first year absorbing an educational focus that has been an Institute hallmark since it was founded in 1977.

“It was good exposure early in our education to learn what the other programs do and how they look at things from their perspective,” noted Carley Kaikkonen, a Doctor of Physical Therapy student.

One of the more popular events was a Teddy Bear Clinic, held at the Institute’s Charlestown Navy Yard campus in conjunction with the Charlestown Mothers’ Association. Throughout the morning, children brought into the school’s nursing labs their favorite stuffed animal or doll, which IHP students proceeded to give the toys a “check up” and a clean bill of health.

“It was a low-key ice breaker for people in Charlestown to learn about the IHP and for us to meet people from the community,” said Julie Nadel, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy student.

Students also went to five separate housing developments, working with personnel from the Kennedy Center to assist residents of Charles Newtown, Ferrin Street, 55 Bunker Hill Street, Mary Colbert Apartments, and Mishuwam Park.

Other Charlestown sites where students assisted were: Access Sport America, Boston Centers for Youth and Families @ Charlestown Community Center, Boys and Girls Club of Charlestown, Captain’s Quarters, Charlestown Public Library, Charlestown Coalition, Children’s Quarters, Constitution Co-op, Constitution Inn YMCA, Courageous Sailing, Dennis McLaughlin House, Golden Age Center, Harvest on Vine Food Pantry, Heading Home, Kennedy Center, National Park Service @ Charlestown Navy Yard, Ronald McDonald House, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Special Townies, Saint John’s Episcopal Church, and Zelma Lacey House.

Locations in Greater Boston were: Amy Lowell House, Boston Children’s School, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, Boston Rescue Mission, Center Club, Community Resources for Justice, Eliot School, Hope Lodge, Horizons for Homeless Children Kroc Corps Community Center, North End Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Project Place, Ruggles Hearth, Susan Bailis House, Umana Academy, and Women’s Lunch Place.

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