Student Chapters Volunteer at Home by Serving, Building, Running

MEDLIFE’s mission of providing access to medicine, education and development to everyone may be based in Latin America, but it doesn’t end there. One of the most important things that students can take away from the Mobile Clinic experience is the drive to serve in their own communities. MEDLIFE chapters all over the US are partnering with other on- and off-campus organizations to work toward a better world.

V 1Though a young chapter, MEDLIFE at San Francisco State University has taken this message to heart. After forming last year and going on a Mobile Clinic, they decided to find a way to help out in their hometown. So last Friday night, several members of the chapter took a few hours to volunteer at a local church that serves meals to the needy as part of the GLIDE program, an organization that provides various social services in the San Francisco area.

Chapter president Emily Parathara says, “Hundreds of hungry locals lined up to eat dinner. I couldn’t help but wonder about their access to health care — many had rashes and hives on their skin which were probably never seen by a doctor.” Emily says the experience reminded her of her Mobile Clinic experience in Peru. “It just motivated me to be a doctor and reminded me why I’m doing this in the first place. Most of all, it reminded me that poverty is everywhere.”

collageAt the University of Florida, MEDLIFE members did their part by helping to build houses for low-income families in their community. They joined forces with 50 other volunteers for their first group community service project with the local Habitat for Humanity. Says chapter president Michelle Nguyen, “Together, as a community, we helped build Kay and her children a safe, comfortable, and affordable home.”

Volunteering together can also be a great way for chapters to come together as a team and get to know other groups on campus. At the University of Vermont, MEDLIFE chapter members participated in a community event called the Catamountain Classic, where, says president Austin Davis, “we and the rest of the UVM clubs divided up the long trail and attempted to hike it all in one weekend.” The money raised from donations and registration fees went toward the creation of a scholarship fund, in memory of a UVM student, to allow local youth to participate in wilderness education trips.

When looking for the right volunteering opportunity, it’s a good idea to check out local organizations that need volunteers to help with projects related to your interests. MEDLIFE at UGA has formed a lasting relationship with Medshare, a nonprofit that collects excess medical supplies from hospitals and packages the supplies to send to underprivileged communities abroad. Members of UGA’s MEDLIFE chapter often volunteer at Medshare’s Atlanta-based headquarters, and last year, Medshare donated supplies for a Mobile Clinic in Peru. Click here to read the Medshare blog about our partnership here!


Thanks to these chapters, and to everyone making a difference in their community! If your chapter has recently volunteered, please share your story with us at [email protected].



Hear it From MEDLIFErs

Testimonial Quote

Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

Testimonial Quote

Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

Testimonial Quote

Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

Testimonial Quote

David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

Testimonial Quote

Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

Testimonial Quote

Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

Testimonial Quote

Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

Testimonial Quote

Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

Testimonial Quote

Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

Testimonial Quote

Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

Testimonial Quote

Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

Testimonial Quote

Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.