I had the privilege of traveling to Columbia, NC, Tyrrell County with another young lady from my cohort, 17 graduate students from different disciplines, and four staff. I saw this Inter-professional Service Learning with Vulnerable Populations course as an opportunity to do something different while interacting with physical therapy, public health, and nursing students. Although the trip did not take place until the week of spring break, a lot of preparation went into place prior to leaving. We, the students, were split into different teams and committees to plan the entire trip, with guidance from the staff. We had the opportunity to work within the elementary, middle, and high schools, collaborate with the local food bank, partner with community members to build a garden, and go on home visits for the elderly population.
The highlight of the trip was during the last night in the cabin when majority of the students felt like there was a possibility that we could have impacted and partnered with more people. We began to process about the strengths and enjoyable moments while focusing on areas of planning that could be improved. The graduate students from other disciplines really took into consideration the feedback from the two social work students. They felt that our perspective was eye opening and that our suggestions could be very useful in the future.
I wish I could go into full details about the trip, but then this blog would quickly turn into the length of a well-written research paper. This trip demonstrated how valuable the field of social work is and the positive impact that takes place when professionals from different disciplines work together.
If you ever want to spend your spring break learning, networking, and using your social work skills, you should consider this service trip!