(Left to Right) Brian Ngo, Samantha Giles, Nimo Yusuf, Sailaja Thavva, Benjamin Chow and Garrett Mason, MCPHS students 2009.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) has always made community service a top priority among its students and college mission. MCPHS has incorporated a Service-Learning requirement to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, which integrates community service with coursework and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. First-year students are required to select from several local nonprofit organizations to perform 20 hours of community service during their first trimester.

Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. (WCAC) was fortunate to have the volunteer service of 6 students: Brian Ngo, Samantha Giles, Nimo Yusuf, Sailaja Thavva, Benjamin Chow, and Garrett Mason, over a 7-week period that began in early October. These eager, intelligent, and upbeat young people assisted WCAC staff and departments with an array of assignments. On their first day at WCAC, the students expressed their willingness to assist in any way that would be beneficial to the agency.

Mr. Ngo, Mr. Chow, and Ms. Thavva focused their efforts on one-on-one tutoring with several Project Excel and WINGS GED students. Ms. Yusuf provided office support to a new initiative at WCAC–the East African Community Outreach Center. Ms. Giles conducted community outreach for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps program) to promote the program. Mr. Mason provided support to several programs at WCAC including assisting in the Fuel Assistance Department, SNAP, Youth Employment, and Administration.

WCAC is very appreciative to have had this dedicated group of students who often worked passed their required weekly hours, for the 7-week duration. “We could not have asked for a better group of volunteers. The students provided tremendous support to many of the agency’s programs. We at WCAC believe in ‘paying it forward,’ and the Service-Learning model exemplifies this belief. We have seen first-hand the incredible impact it has our local community organizations,” said Jill C. Dagilis, Executive Director. “Thank you, students, for such wonderful work at WCAC!”