From regularly working with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana to assisting the Sojourner Truth House, Indiana University School of Medicine–Northwest-Gary serves their whole community. Michelle La-Turner is the Northwest representative to the service-learning board. She works with the class representatives and coordinates with administrations so there are activities year-round. You may have heard of these opportunities during your MS1 Orientation. This year, the group went to the food bank, where they always need assistance sorting and packing food to serve families at their mobile food distributions.
When asked how participating in service-learning affects her educational experience, Michelle said, “I think for a lot of people, and for me, we feel it’s connected to our education because it’s a huge part of our public health research. It’s also the reason we came to medical school. To be involved in public health and to make the community better. For me, it reminds me why I’m studying so hard, why it’s worth it, and so I really enjoy opportunities to get out and do something with service-learning because then it makes all the hard work and all the long hours studying feel like they’re worth it.”
The chief trauma surgeon, Chief Serrano, MD, is partnering with the American Heart Association and community groups. Northwest-Gary students are involved in a small but impactful way. After money has been raised for the project, medical students will become certified to teach CPR and then help teach the high school students. Their goal is to provide mannequins for all the high school students so they can teach them CPR and let the high schoolers take the mannequins home to teach their families.
Fall Day of Service
For this year’s fall day of service, students partnered with Litter League and Faith Food Farms to help with clean up. They cleaned up around the IU Northwest campus as it was needed. Faith Food Farms is a huge urban farm that received a grant for canning, preserving and freezing food from the farm to give out to the community members. They even have bees, chickens and goats.
Faith Food Farms
This organization utilizes its resources for food security, safe housing, environmental justice, and economic development to help better their community. Residents in and around Gary can access fresh, local, and nutritious food as part of their food security mission. Residents with specific health conditions can receive free produce every week. They also freeze a portion of the produce to give to the Northwest Indiana Food Bank while the rest is sold to schools, local restaurants, and consumers. Safe housing is a work in progress but nowhere near less important. Faith Food Farm’s Gary Consolidated 221-2025 plan is available for download on their website.
When volunteering at Faith Food Farms, students can look forward to helping with the farm and all that comes with it. It all depends on what the organization has planned for the season, as they are constantly finding better ways to help their community. Students could put together community supported agriculture (CSA) boxes, restock the Blessing Box, and more.
Look out for GroupMe messages containing information on all opportunities to help serve your community!