Daniel Scheese of Birdsboro and other student leaders representing Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s (Geisinger Commonwealth) MD Class of 2020 recently organized a multi-site “Day of Service.” On Sept. 18, second-year medical students fanned out across Lackawanna County to clean parks, stock food pantry shelves and help care for youth, elderly and the homeless population in the region.
Briana O’Donnell, of Merrimack, community service chair of the MD Class of 2020, conceived of and planned the event with the help of class president, Cindy Ciccotelli of Yardley. “I think it important for us, as a class, to get out and show the community that we all want to serve,” said Ms. O’Donnell. “Sometimes we get so caught up in studying, it’s important that we step back and realize the reason we are here is for other people. The Day of Service supports our person-centered curriculum.”
Ms. Ciccotelli, who spent the day helping to stock St. Francis of Assisi’s food pantry, said her group had lunch with patrons of the St. Francis soup kitchen. “We talked about football, mostly. It was incredible to form relationships with these people and appreciate them and to gain insight into their hardships,” she said. She said class leadership plans to hold another Day of Service soon and will pass the event off to the Class of 2021 with the hope that class-wide “days of service” become regularly occurring events in the academic year.
As part of the Day of Service, five groups of between 15 to 20 second-year medical students volunteered at the Carbondale YMCA; Lackawanna Heritage Valley’s River Heritage trail; Nay Aug Park; the Waverly Community House; and St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen.