Making a Difference Together: Supporting Chapter Travel Builds Bonds and Helps Communities

Chapters play a key role in FIMRC’s success, and while we like to recognize the work they do as a group, sometimes there are special individuals who truly lead by example. John Park is an alum of the Texas Tech Chapter and has since graduated with a Doctorate in Pharmacy. John is also one of those unique leaders who, although he wasn’t able to volunteer at a FIMRC site while in school, has given back an incredible amount to allow others to do just that. This past year John donated to create a Texas Tech Chapter travel scholarship for individuals who would otherwise be unable to volunteer.

John joined the Texas Tech FIMRC Chapter during his first year of pharmacy school, and truly enjoyed the local aspect of volunteering within the community that surrounded his campus. His favorite activity was spending times at the High Plains Children’s Home, where he spent time building relationships and providing meals to children in the foster care system. John also wanted to volunteer on a chapter trip with his FIMRC family, but school and other financial constraints prevented him from traveling abroad. He understood, however, the impact of a service trip with FIMRC, both on the community and the student.

“I know how these experiences can shape and change a person, especially ones who will be spending the rest of their lives in the medical field.”
— John Park

“I promised myself that once I become a pharmacist, I will try to help out those who are in a similar situation as I once was. Growing up with parents who were missionaries, I know how these experiences can shape and change a person, especially ones who will be spending the rest of their lives in the medical field. My reason for the donation was to bolster their experiences and also to encourage them to do the same.”

John is committed to helping provide life-changing experiences to students through FIMRC, and we agree with John that, “it takes a special type of person to be unselfishly willing to help others who are in need and these are the type of health care professionals we need more of in our society.”

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Opportunities like this are incredible for those who do not have easy access to travel, and this is why FIMRC started our scholarship program to help increase access. Kayla Lentz, vice president of the Harvard FIMRC Chapter, was one of the spring recipients who volunteered at Project Restauración with the Harvard Chapter. As a chapter, “A lot of times when you’re supporting the Adopt-A-Projects from afar it can feel removed but being able to see how excited they were to learn the material was really cool.”

Trips with your chapter are so uniquely different than individual trips, it allows you to bond not only with the community members but also with your chapter members throughout the experience. Digesting the many differences in culture, cushioning each other for bumps in the road, and laughing at the memories once you return. This March, FIMRC had 15 chapters participate in trips to FIMRC sites, with a total of 98 volunteers. While your chapter may feel small on campus, the impact on the communities is great, and the impact on your life perspective, even greater.

Think about your chapter, and think about your legacy. Are there areas where you can open up opportunities for members to volunteer with FIMRC, and experience our work first-hand? FIMRC Chapters are a great way to increase awareness on your campus, and if you’re already part of a chapter, providing funding opportunities for members to volunteer abroad only helps to strengthen our FIMRC family. If you’re able to thrust forward your career through this experience, how much more would the healthcare field benefit from having someone else also gain this experience?