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The Harvard Pre-Medical Society’s annual Wintersession Public Service Week began on Monday evening with an overnight shift at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.
In its third year, the program is partnering with Phillips Brooks House Association Mission Hill After-School Program, the Boston Living Center, and the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. While primarily geared toward pre-med students, the program is open to anyone and will provide free transportation and meals for student volunteers.
“I feel like at Harvard, people have been a little bubbled,” said P. Cody He ’16, HPS public service director and coordinator of the Wintersession program. “This is a good opportunity to give back without the stress of classes and just interact with the community.”
He participated in the HPS Wintersession program last year and said he is looking forward to his time at the Boston Living Center, a community for people living with HIV, again this year.
Program participants will be volunteering at the PBHA Mission Hill After-School Program on Tuesday and the Boston Living Center on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
He said many of the service locations typically have limits on the number of volunteers at one time, so He expects groups of six for each day’s event, providing an atmosphere in which students can learn from both each other as well as the people they are serving.
“I come from a fairly homogenous high school,” said Catherine Y. Li ’18, who was scheduled to volunteer at the Homeless Shelter Monday night, “and I think it’s really interesting to get all these different diverse perspectives from both Harvard but also from the people at the shelter.”
Li, who is a pre-med student, added that she believes the program will provide her with an opportunity to develop skills related to being a doctor.
“I’m tentatively pre-med, so I want to get some experience listening to stories and talking to people,” said Li. “Over the winter break I did some shadowing and I realized that to be a doctor, you have to really love people and listening to people.”
Maria Brouard ’18, who was also set to volunteer at the Homeless Shelter, said she was excited to engage with and give back to the wider community around Harvard.
“I always wanted to help the homeless around here,” she said, “so it’ll be nice to maybe see a few familiar faces in the Square and say hi every once in a while.”
—Staff writer Annie E. Schugart can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @AnnieSchugart.
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