Medical Partnership Students Give Back to Local Children

The students at the Medical Partnership have recently put their community service skills to good use by organizing a book drive and a toy drive for local children.

The M2 Student Government Organization (SGO) put together the Holiday Toy Drive last semester for the Athens Alliance Coalition, and the Pediatric Interest Group organized the Book Drive Honoring Jill Crim for Books for Keeps.

Rachel Gerald, the M2 SGO Community Service Chair, said the toy drive was a way to help out the community even during the pandemic.

“Typically around the holidays we like to do something for children in the area but had been unable to do our typical events because of the pandemic,” said Gerald.

After doing some research, Gerald found the Athens Alliance Coalition and thought they would be a good organization to partner with.

“They are on the ground in Athens weekly serving those who need it most and specifically have a heart for youth and homeless people in Athens. They are willing to help whoever needs it and have recently started a program providing transportation for adults to get to work. They really know Athens and were able to connect our toy donations with those who needed it most,” said Gerald.

The book drive was done in honor of Jill Crim, the late wife of Medical Partnership faculty member, Dr. Matt Crim.

“When we heard of Jill’s passing, we wanted to be able to do something that would celebrate her life. Part of her life’s work was in children literacy, so a book drive seemed like a great way to do so,” said Kyle Ahmed, the Pediatric Interest Groups Vice President of Service.

Ahmed said they wanted to help local children while honoring Jill Crim.

“The Pediatrics Interest Group was aware of the work of Books for Keeps in Athens, and it happened to be an organization that Jill was passionate about, so it was a great place to donate the books,” said Ahmed. “Their mission is to give books to children in Athens who may otherwise not have their own. Having the donation made in Jill’s name made it even more special to know that we were able to contribute to a cause she was very passionate about. We’re hoping this will be an annual drive, so we can continue to celebrate Jill and contribute to her legacy of improving children’s literacy in Athens.”

At the end of the toy drive, 200 toys were donated from the Medical Partnership to Athens Alliance Coalition which went towards helping over 1,000 children in the Athens-Clarke County area receive a gift for the holidays.

When the book drive was complete, 170 books went to Book for Keeps in Jill Crim’s honor.

“During the pandemic where it feels like we are not able to interact in the community in ways we would normally and it is a tough time for most, it feels wonderful to be able to make a small but tangible impact on so many children’s lives in Athens,” said Ahmed.

“This is a great reminder that we are doing all of this studying so that one day we can care for people like these kids we’ve reached with these drives,” said Gerald. “In the future we will be providing healthcare, but for now it is nice to know that now we may have a small part in making their holiday season a little brighter via a toy or get them interested in being a lifelong reader via a book from the book drive.”

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