Virginia Tech Chapter Raises the Bar in Giving BackFeb 08, 2021
FIMRC relies on the support of our fellow volunteers, partners, and donors to continue providing healthcare to underserved communities worldwide. One of the fantastic groups that help keep FIMRC's mission possible is our FIMRC Chapters, dedicated groups of students passionate about advocating for FIMRC. FIMRC Chapters play a vital role in coordinating fundraisers, coordinating volunteer groups, raising awareness of public health, and providing service in their own communities. Through their efforts, Chapters of every size have directly contributed to the health of thousands of people worldwide, and today, we're highlighting the Virginia Tech Chapter for their amazing contribution to FIMRC over this past year.
After coming across FIMRC at a student organization fair, Eric Panther became passionate about the mission to serve not just his own community, but also communities abroad. "I was interested in pursuing global health, but through FIMRC, I found a passion for serving the Spanish-speaking population," explained Eric. During my volunteer trip to Project Restauración, I was inspired by the doctors in the Dominican Republic." FIMRC pushed Eric outside of his comfort zone, but he says he loved every minute of it. After spending his time volunteering at our Project Restauración, Dominican Republic, Eric pursued learning Spanish and was encourage to continue on his path towards medical school.
Eric has been involved with FIMRC’s Virginia Tech Chapter for the past four years and is now the group's president! What he loves most is not only the chance he's had to volunteer abroad, but also the opportunity to mentor younger students interested in the field of Global Health. "There are a lot of things that I wish I knew about regarding the pre-med track such as testing and volunteering abroad, so I love to mentor younger Chapter members." Before COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in-place, Eric had the chance to volunteer at FIMRC’s Project Alajuelita, Costa Rica and Project Restauración, Dominican Republic. He still keeps in touch with friends and mentors he met on those trips.
"In years past, before I became president, I feel like we were not consistently giving back what we were able to give," explained Eric. "This wasn't with any bad intention, but I think our previous presidents weren't as attentive to our finances. For this reason, combined with successful fundraising for the last several years, I inherited the club with more funds than we needed to run the Chapter. I believe that the timing has been perfect because we have been able to give more than we could have this year had the cards not lined up this way."
The Virginia Tech Chapter has held multiple fundraisers, including a t-shirt fundraiser, a partnership with a local yoga studio, and even a grilled cheese fundraiser! "We make grilled cheeses and go downtown to sell them," said Eric. "They're successful, and some people will even donate and not buy the grilled cheese at all." The Chapter has also partnered with In-Balance Yoga Studio offering donation classes. "They allow up to 15 people to take a class completely free and 100% of the donations go to our FIMRC Chapter," explained Eric. "Each time we do this, we raise a little bit over $100."
Since the beginning of the school year, FIMRC’s Virginia Tech Chapter has raised $3,000 for our project sites and has donated to our Project Site La Merced, Peru, Project Site Bududa, Uganda, and Project Site Restauración, Dominican Republic. "I'm happy to be able to make these donations as this site has a special place in my heart," said Eric about Project Restauración. "This Chapter has meant so much to me personally, and the last four years have been integral to my development as a service-minded, future physician. I'm glad that I can give back in such a meaningful way."
We are so grateful for our amazing FIMRC Chapters that advocate for our mission, and are happy to see students become passionate about the field of global health. If you want to know if your university or community has a FIMRC Chapter or if you're interested in starting one, email us at [email protected] to learn more!
Interested in volunteering abroad or participating in our virtual programs? Check them out below!
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