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Students Honored for Volunteerism in Chicago

The Chicago Youth Programs recognized 10 first-year medical students for their work mentoring high school students, including (top left to right) Lauren Lee, Jeremy Lai, Alexandra Jones, Jennifer Smith, Brian Poole, Ellie Hong, and (bottom left to right) Tiffany Sun, Anna Romanova, Brittney Mason, and Sofia Penev. Also honored were second-year students Megan McClean and Thomas Carberry (not pictured).

On Wednesday, February 6, nonprofit organization Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) recognized 12 Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine students for their volunteerism. Program participants gathered in the Galter Health Sciences Library to honor the group for its work mentoring high school students in a one-on-one tutoring program that began this fall.

“Our relationship with Northwestern students has continued for 30 years,” said Sarah Hardin, MSW, director of higher education and scholarship at CYP. “It is important to continue that history. The students here are the best and brightest tutors. I know medical students don’t have a lot of time and have other priorities, and they still take the time to spend with high school students. That dedication and help is something special.”

Second-year medical students honored include Megan McClean and Thomas Carberry, and first-year medical students include Ellie Hong, Alexandra Jones, Jeremy Lai, Lauren Lee, Brittney Mason, Sofia Penev, Brian Poole, Anna Romanova, Jennifer Smith, and Tiffany Sun.

During the ceremony, each high school student said a few words about their tutor, and the volunteers were given a t-shirt. Students recognized their mentors for being persistent, committed, and caring.

“Tutoring high school students is a nice study break,” said Lai, a program coordinator. “We get to step outside of Feinberg for a bit and hangout with high school students. It is a way to get involved in Chicago and help the community.”

Currently, CYP serves 450 at-risk youth in three of Chicago’s low-income neighborhoods, including Cabrini Green, Uptown/Rogers Park, and Washington Park.

The Cabrini Green Youth Program (CGYP) was founded in 1984 by a group of Feinberg students concerned about the children living in the neighborhood’s housing project, located near the medical school. Participants in the program also receive free, high-quality healthcare from volunteer physicians. Programs operate in donated space on Northwestern University’s Chicago campus and in Seward Park. The group serves more than 125 youth.

“Not only do we tutor students, but we also volunteer in the health clinic that runs on Tuesdays,” said Lai. “In this way, the program gives back to us. We get to assist the physicians in the clinic and have hands-on experience. It’s nice to have this chance to gain exposure to pediatrics.”

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