Omar Elsemary describes his experience in the CHS course Foundations of Service Learning.
Students at California Northstate University College of Health Sciences aim to become healthcare professionals. The ultimate goal is to help others in any way we possibly can.
To do so effectively, it is important for students to first recognize the importance of interacting with community members and helping the community. For this reason, at CNUCHS students are offered an amazing experience through a class called Foundations of Service Learning.
Initially, students may easily overlook the importance of the class, especially considering the rigor of the course work at CHS. However, all of us that have taken this course can agree that this class has helped us develop as people and teaches us to become more empathetic by interacting with members of the community that can use volunteers to help teach young students or feed the community. Through this class, we were provided the opportunity to volunteer at a number of various sites that permitted us to interact directly with many members of the Sacramento community.
In spring semester, I volunteered at the Yisrael Family Urban Farms. It is an organization that serves to provide healthy foods in an area which lacks grocery stores, such areas are fittingly called food deserts, while also encouraging people to grow their own food. I helped out around the farm by working with Chinook Yisrael, a man who took it upon himself to create a solution to the food desert in the Sacramento area by growing a farm on his own property, and aided with the further development of the farm.
Working at Yisrael Family Urban Farms opened my eyes to just how privileged my own life has been. Although the work at the farm was physically exhausting, I am extremely thankful, for I truly feel that I developed as a person. I realized that while I stress over exams and homework, there are those around me who struggle to find foods that will not harm their bodies. This realization fueled my desire to help people in any way that I can and rekindled my motivation to become a physician to positively impact the lives of those around me by maintaining their health and comforting them in their times of need. With the intense coursework at CHS, I gradually felt my motivation to become a physician diminish, for I began to lose sight of what I was working for. I am happy to have found my passion once again in the best way possible, by giving back to the community and realizing how much I love to help people.
I believe that the experience this course provides is an absolutely crucial one for any aspiring healthcare professional, for it provides an unforgettable experience that will motivate students to do everything in their power to help. Ultimately, interacting with the community teaches one things that will prove useful not only now, but also years down the line as a professional. I believe that interacting with people and volunteering teaches someone to have empathy and a desire to help, which are both crucial things for any healthcare professional. I am extremely thankful that I was given this opportunity, and I feel that I would not have been the same without it for I would not have developed such a strong desire to help people any way I can. Having learned so much and interacted with members of the community I call home, I look forward to giving back to this community in any way that I can.