empowering the future generation

Medical students should not just aim to become competent clinicians, but to see themselves as educators and social mobilizers as well.  Our group, the University of the Philippines College of Medicine Class 2015, together with the Department of Community Medicine, was given a unique chance to educate high school kids at the ERDA Technical and Vocational Secondary School in Pandacan, Manila.

We were told that these kids were truly intellectually gifted despite the various socioeconomic hardships they have to face; many of these kids depend on external financial aid.

Last September 13, 2012 was just the first leg of a series of workshops that UPCM2015 facilitated for ERDATech students. Our aim for that particular day was to increase the level of awareness about common vices that are pertinent to this vulnerable age group, such as smoking, alcohol drinking, illicit drugs, & internet addiction.

What followed was a very productive day of lectures, role-playing, games, and group discussions; we were very much surprised with their eagerness to participate in the activities.

We were also surprised with ourselves since this was our group's first collective effort to reach out to high school kids. It felt like we were the right people to give advice to these kids, after all, since we understood the peer pressures of youth. It was also our hope that they can tell their parents and relatives about the detrimental effects to health of cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, drug abuse, and internet addiction, because these are important risk factors that we always encounter in our patients in the clinics.

 In empowering these kids the pertinent values of avoiding these vices, we feel that we have also empowered their individual families. We also feel that we have empowered ourselves somehow with an actualized sense of social responsibility.

We hope that these kids gained some useful insights through the knowledge, skills, & attitudes we've taught them. As this is only just the beginning of our year-long program, we can't wait to see them again this October, and certainly for the next few months in the future.

This post is dedicated to Global Action Day 2012, a global collaboration with this year's theme "The Power of We". Join the conversation using the hashtags #powerofwe, #blogactionday and #BAD12.