At Ross Medical Education Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the campus is passionate about helping out those in need in their community. However, oftentimes those they are aiming to help aren’t the only ones that are appreciate of the experience. Time after time the staff, faculty, and students express deep enjoyment and even being deeply impacted after a community service effort. Recently, students in the Pharmacy Technician program were able to do a drive and then visit the local Freedom House, and many of them were very moved by the experience.
Freedom House is a 12 step program for women who are dependent on alcohol or drugs. Some stay six months while others may stay longer. After hosting a drive to collect items for blessing bags for the residents, the students were excited to visit and hand deliver the blessing bags. During the drive, they had collected over 100 items from the Huntsville campus donations. “I challenged all of the students to meet the goal of making 16 bags for the 16 residents,” shared Campus Director Elizabeth Bowden. “Myself and the Assistant Campus Director of Education got pies in the face because they met the goal. They collected gum, mints, socks, washcloths, pens, lotion, notebooks, chapstick, body wash, notebooks, tissue, paper towels, and crackers.
“My trip to Freedom House yesterday was a life changer,” shared one student that visited. “The women there who went through so much are there because they want to change their lives. They made a conscious choice to be a better person. Some don’t last, from what I found out, and it is a journey getting through each day. One woman in particular that really inspired me was there voluntarily. She wanted to be a better person for her family and wanted to make a change.
One student asked the women if it was difficult to be in this facility without everyday technology like a cellphone. One of the residents answered with, “No, when you want to make a change and start over, it’s a sacrifice that will be worth it in the end.” A student shared about her experience, “I also connected with an older woman there whom I had a lot in common with. A military background, she traveled to a lot of places, and she had a love of nature. She was not allowed to leave the house and I think people take everyday situations for granted. This was an amazing place to visit and I was not aware of what to expect so I went in open minded. I think everyone in their lifetime should volunteer, donate, or visit a home with people going through challenges. They are exactly just like us; I could not see anything wrong with these women on the outside. This experience was humbling and a life changer. I believe it will help me in my career as a pharmacy technician to view people as humans and treat them with respect, because you never know what someone is dealing with in their life. Every day is a challenge and that’s ok. Breathe, take one step at a time, and you can get through anything.”