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Community Engagement

It is important that all students be able to relate their academic learning to real-world experiences. Applying academic knowledge to practical settings is fulfilling and rewarding, and teaches important skills for careers in the applied health-care fields. Opportunities for applying academic knowledge include engaging in community service activities, participating in a learning community, and studying abroad. HSSP students are able to take part in planning and organizing these opportunities through their programming committees, with the guidance of their Resident Advisors and Peer Mentors.

Alternative Spring Break

HSSP students on their ASB trip at the Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children in Killeen, TX

Participating in Alternative Spring Break (ASB) can be a valuable opportunity for students considering careers in any field, including the health professions. ASB gives students the opportunity to work directly with community members and learn about their lives and work, discover the world outside of the classroom, and gain experience working to make a difference in addressing societal issues.

"I cannot possibly express how wonderful and eye-opening it was to spend a week in Texas working with my Michigan learning community at the Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children. This ASB experience has taught me so much about compassion, teamwork and community." -Neel Swamy (2015)

HSSP students volunteered at a site in Killeen, TX called the Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children (PKRC). PKRC was established in 1984 in memory of Charles Schreiner V, son of Mary Helen and Charlie Schreiner IV and grandson of Daurice and Jim Bowmer. Charles Schreiner V (also known as Baby Charlie) was born with a congenital heart defect, and after a courageous battle for almost a year, he passed away at the age of eleven months. Baby Charlie spent nearly all of his eleven months of life in the hospital and his grandparents wanted to create a place where children could get away from the hospital with their families for a few days and just be a part of nature. The Bowmers started Baby Charlie’s Fishing Camp and they, along with Mary Helen and Charlie, brought children and their parents from nearby Scott & White Hospital to fish on the Lampasas River. The fishing camp grew, and the Bowmer family expanded and started what is now Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children on 120 acres adjacent to the Lampasas River. The retreat serves over 4,000 children with chronic illnesses and special needs each year.

To find additional information about ASB, visit the Ginsberg Center's website. The Ginsberg Center is the University's hub of student involvement in community service and volunteering activities.

Detroit Partnership Day

Students at the HSSP DP Day site

A student-run nonprofit at the University of Michigan, The Detroit Partnership (DP), exists to unite the people of Ann Arbor and Detroit. They coordinate both one-time and weekly service-learning opportunities for our members by partnering with schools and community organizations primarily in the Brightmoor and Southwest neighborhoods of Detroit.

While working together during weekly tutoring programs or one-time park clean-ups, members of each community may experience and discuss the challenges that face humanity today. Though one program alone will not erase social issues or inequalities, a lasting partnership will perpetuate the idea that change is possible, especially when neighbors can lean on each other.

Dance Marathon

HSSP Dance Caption Lauren Higgens (left) with friend and former HSSPer Emily Labudde (right) dancing their way through hour #15 of 24

Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (DMUM) is the largest student-run non-profit organization in the State of Michigan. DMUM strives to raise both monetary support and awareness for the needs of the pediatric rehabilitation therapies at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor and Beaumont Children's Hospital in Royal Oak. These pediatric rehabilitation therapies allow children with mental, physical, and emotional disabilities to work through their challenges to become the kids they want to be. Through the year long program, teams of 15 to 20 college students raise funds for the therapies, and create meaningful relationships with the children that we support. The connections that our college students make with the children by volunteering at therapies, bonding with the kids and their families, as well as attending DMUM annual events make a positive difference in both the lives of the kids and the students. At the end of each school year, hundreds of students “step into the shoes of the kids” by standing on their feet for 24 hours in a marathon filled with dancing, entertainment, and fellowship.

Indian Trails Camp

HSSPers volunteering at Indian Trails Camp in the Spring

For over 50 years, Indian Trails Camp has been committed to offering recreational camping for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Every year, hundreds of children and adults engage in traditional camp activities that hold no barriers. With a carefully controlled camper to staff ratio, campers are able to achieve the highest of their goals. Whether engaging in spring time hikes, talent shows, canoe trips, archery, creative arts, swimming, dramatics, music, dances or celebrating New Years Eve, the activities are numerous and the results are immeasurable. The Mission at Indian Trails Camp is to: Provide individuals with disabilities an enriched life experience through recreation, advocacy and meaningful relationships, and this is exactly what our HSSP student volunteers strive to do!