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September 4, 2012
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate medical students launch volunteer day Sept. 8

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Medical students at Upstate Medical University will fan out through Onondaga County Saturday, Sept. 8 for a day of volunteer service aiding nine area non-profits, from Habitat for the Humanity to a local farm.

While Upstate’s medical students are active in dozens of community organizations throughout the year, this marks the first time they developed a dedication community outreach day.

Second-year medical students Alyson Weiner and Matthew Wiese came up with the idea.

“We’re going to be here for four years of med school,” Weiner said. “It’s a great opportunity to engage the community.”

“We live and work here, too,” said Wiese, who saw similar efforts succeed as an undergrad at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

“There’s more to us than what we do day after day in med school.”

In addition to helping community organizations, the day will bring classmates together and give medical students from different classes a chance to get to know each other.

Weiner and Wiese hope the volunteer day becomes an annual event. They want to expand it to include students from all four colleges at Upstate. “A one-day event is more accessible for a lot of students,” Matt said.

Student volunteers will meet at the Campus Activities Building at 11 a.m. for brunch from Bruegger’s Bagels and Paul deLima Coffee, and return to campus at 5:30 p.m. for dinner provided by Placito’s DeWitt Pizzeria, courtesy of the Medical Alumni Association and the Foundation for Upstate.

Below are the sites and an overview of the work to be done:

1. From The Ground Up: This organization uses horse therapy to help people with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. Students will be assigned to the stables and grounds for assistance and maintenance.

2. Habitat for Humanity: This organization develops communities by building and renovating homes for people in need. Students will work in the Habitat build shop and get supplies organized for future builds.

3. HopePrint: This organization, started by Upstate student Sean Haley, works to help incoming refugees adapt to the Syracuse area. Students will do yard work, basement cleanup and garage repairs at the HopePrint home on the North Side of Syracuse.

4. Matthew 25 Farm: This not-for-profit farm south of Syracuse grows and distributes vegetables to those in need. Students will harvest onions, tomatoes and peppers to be donated to the Food Bank of Central New York.

5. Operation Northern Comfort/Brady Faith Center: This organization provides labor and support to construction and rehabilitation projects in Syracuse. Students will work in the community vegetable garden and do minor construction on the grounds of the Brady Faith Center in Southwest Syracuse.

6. Rescue Mission: The Rescue Mission provides a variety of services to the homeless and poor of Syracuse. Students will organize and sort donations.

7. Salvation Army: This organization provides a variety of services to individuals and families in the community. Students will work with the facilities manager on various groundskeeping tasks, painting and cleaning.

8. Southwest Community Center: This center provides a variety of services to low- and moderate-income residents in the community. Students will tutor children and work on the facilities.

9. Syracuse Parks Conservancy: This agency works to protect and sustain city parks, public land and habitats. Students will weed and maintain the Urban Environmental Trail in Eastwood.

Caption: Alyson Weiner and Matt Wiese, organizers of Upstate Medical Student Volunteer Day, go over plans for the Sept. 8 community outreach project.

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