Students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine spent Saturday volunteering at two metro Detroit nonprofits as part of the annual National Make a Difference Day.
OUWB students step up in metro Detroit on National Make a Difference Day
Make A Difference Day 2019a
Fifteen OUWB students volunteered at World Medical Relief in Southfield for Make a Difference Day.

Students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine spent Saturday volunteering at two metro Detroit nonprofits as part of the annual National Make a Difference Day.

About 30 OUWB students were split between World Medical Relief Inc. in Southfield and Hope Warming Center in Pontiac.

Created by the former USA Weekend magazine, National Make a Difference Day was established as an annual occurrence on the fourth Saturday of October. Organizations like OUWB have carried on the tradition.

“It’s important for our OUWB students, staff, and faculty to honor the tradition of Make a Difference Day and give back, especially to our local communities,” said Jean Szura, Ph.D., director of service learning at OUWB. “

World Medical Relief, established in 1953, aims to help the poor, sick, and elderly on a local, national, and international basis. Its mission is to collect and distribute excess medical supplies, medicines, and recycled medical equipment for the betterment of mankind. The mission is accomplished through a variety of programs, services, and volunteer opportunities.

On Saturday, OUWB students helped sort medical supplies being prepped for shipment to countries such as Yemen and Senegal.

George Samson, Ph.D., president and CEO of World Medical Relief, said OUWB volunteers helping at the nonprofit definitely made a difference in donating their time and efforts, and thanked them for volunteering.

“They are helping save the lives of people who are in dire need of supplies,” Samson said.

OUWB M2 Ryan Nierstedt said students from the school’s Emergency Medicine Interest Group and Anesthesia Interest Group volunteered at World Medical Relief. Nierstedt is president of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group.

“We thought it was important to not only focus on our own community but also the global community as a whole,” he said. “It’s great that World Medical Relief takes all these medical supplies and puts them to good use.”

M2 Muhammad Waheed was among the 15 volunteers at World Medical Relief.

“People overseas are dying because of the hard conditions they face,” he said. “I feel it’s important to be part of this process, not just as medical students, but as human beings.”

Make A Difference Day 2019bAnother group of 13 OUWB students worked at Hope Warming Center’s Recuperative Care Center in Pontiac. The volunteers stained a wooden fence around the perimeter of the center’s backyard.

Bob Jenkins, past president and current member of the center’s board of trustees, thanked the students for volunteering.

“To Hope (Warming Center) and our guests, it shows that people care,” he said. “These volunteers could be doing other things, but they’re here making a difference.”

M1 Abiba Salahou said she wanted to volunteer at Hope Warming Center for a specific purpose.

“I thought I’d really liked helping out here, especially because I really liked the last time we did something in the community,” she said, referring to OUWB’s annual Day of Service held Aug. 24. Sakahou was part of a team of OUWB volunteers that worked at Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac.

M1 Dana Rector said it felt good to get out and give back to the community.

“A lot of times you feel stuck inside, focused on studying,” she said. “It’s nice to get a bit of fresh air and give back in a different way.”

Julia Brown, coordinator of community and global health engagement (and organizer of OUWB’s efforts on Make a Difference Day), said she was “super proud” of the students who volunteered.

“It’s a world that we forget sometimes if we don’t go get engaged and get involved,” said Brown. “I’m super proud of the students, especially since I know how busy they are with their schedules.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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