Valentine fundraiser by OUWB student organization shows love for local nonprofit
An image of OUWB students assembling valentines
OUWB students gather to assemble the valentines. Facing camera from left, Brenda Bortis, Kaitlyn Butzin, Maya Jaradi, and Yusra Zakria.

In what has become a signature fundraising event held in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, an OUWB student organization once again used the annual celebration of love to raise money for a local nonprofit.

The OUWB chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) hosted its annual Valentine’s Day Gram Fundraiser for Haven, a Pontiac-based organization that focuses on supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through free shelter and support services, advocacy, and education.

Merzia Subhan, M2, AMWA treasurer and co-chair of community service and finance, said the annual fundraiser makes sense for a student organization at OUWB.

“We're a very tight-knit campus community. Because of that, we have all formed very deep bonds with each other.” Subhan said.

“So, when the opportunity comes to both support a good cause and show our love for one another, people will take advantage of that.”

Through the fundraiser, AMWA raised more than $500, with each dollar going a long way for an organization like Haven.

“It's a nice opportunity to reflect how I care about the people I appreciate. It feels good to know that I'm sharing that appreciation with them,” said Anna Heath, M2, and co-chair, community service and finance, AMWA.

“It's the middle of winter, and there's a lot of exams going on. So, during times like these, I think that these lighthearted events are great,” added Heath.

An image of the OUWB valentines

This advertisement for the fundraiser includes examples of the valentines available for purchase.

Here’s how it worked:

Starting on Jan. 22 and through Feb. 9, participants could buy valentines to be sent anywhere in the U.S. Valentines featured medical-themed puns such as, “I want tibia your valentine!” Valentines were sold at $4 a piece, or two for $6. For an extra dollar, a “glitter bomb” could be added.  

After the deadline, AMWA members created and decorated the valentines before mailing them out.

“It's very sweet to see the loving things that people say about their friends, classmates, family members, etc.” said Subhan. “It just shows that everyone has a lot of love in their hearts.”

“I really had a good time last year assembling the cards with everybody. It’s fun when we all get together,” said Heath. “We talked about this in one of our classes about how it feels good to be recognized and appreciated. And just because you feel that way about someone, they might not always realize it, so the reminders are heartwarming.”

AMWA maintains close ties with Haven.

Subhan said every year, AMWA has speakers from the nonprofit address students at OUWB to share stories about clients who survived domestic violence and sexual assault. As future physicians, the discussion also includes details about what they can do in that role. 

“As future physicians and being part of a group that is women supporting women, we really want (the fundraiser) to be tied to this organization,” said Heath. “We want to become involved now at an early stage in our medical career so that we are comfortable and know how we can better support those individuals in the future.”

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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