Leanne Williams, a fourth year pharmacy major, learned not to have pre-conceived notions about kids from underserved neighborhoods while working with Wireless Neighborhoods for her service-learning project. Her group visited the afterschool program at Murray Elementary School on the South Side to give presentations on the food pyramid and the importance of healthy teeth and eyes to children.
Leanne went to the school expecting a group of misbehaving kids, but instead was surprised to find a group of knowledgeable, kind, and attentive students. As Leanne relates, “Duquesne is an enclosed, small community. We don’t get exposed to the areas around us. Service-learning gives us the chance to see other areas and neighborhoods and learn about Pittsburgh, learn about the people—it’s neat that we get to do that.”
LEARNING CAN BE FUN
Leanne and her fellow pharmacy students tried to make the food pyramid fun by making it a game; the kids were given pictures of different foods to stick on the correct spot on the pyramid.
Leanne hopes the presentation helped teach the kids about healthy eating so they grow up healthy and have a positive future. She thinks the service-learning project gave these kids the seeds to help them make healthier choices. As Leanne relates, “Just because someone comes from a disadvantaged background, it doesn’t mean they deserve less care.”
Looking toward her future career, Leanne is now more apt to consider working in a pharmacy located in a disadvantaged community. She thinks her school’s service-learning program is a selling point to prospective students, as it gives students the opportunity to interact with the different types
“Just because someone comes from a disadvantaged background, it doesn’t mean they deserve less care.”
of people they will be serving as pharmacists. According to Leanne, “[Pharmacy] is not all about the drugs … we do the job for the people … you want to know how to make sure they are safe.”
BECOMING A PEOPLE PERSON
Although her coursework helped prepare her for her service-learning experience, Leanne believes service-learning gave her something more valuable that can’t be taught in the classroom: “There’s no class that teaches you how to interact with people—it’s nice to know that we have the opportunity to do something with other people besides our classmates.”
Visiting different neighborhoods and interacting with different people during service-learning also helped Leanne personally. “It’s a good lesson in not being selfish, to be thankful for what you have. My family was stable, [other students] grew up in good areas; we should be thankful for the life that we do have, the opportunity to go to a school like Duquesne.”