LUCOM student organizations host “A Very Merry Giftmas”
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) – Student National Medical Association (SNMA) hosted “A Very Merry Giftmas” this past Friday, Dec. 8, at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg.
The special Christmas celebration was a collaborative project shared between 11 LUCOM student groups, led by LUCOM-SNMA, with the primary goal of making this year’s Christmas extra special for less fortunate families within the Lynchburg area. “Our hope was to provide a fun family event, but most importantly an environment that would facilitate interaction between children and their families, and the student-doctors,” said Angela Tseng, Class of 2020, president of LUCOM-SNMA. “There is a gap between low income families and medical providers for a multitude of reasons, and we wanted to help cross cultures and bridge that gap for this event.”
The conversation for a Christmas project first began when LUCOM’s newly elected SNMA board met for the first time this past May. “As a board, we were focused on making sure that all our events were more catered to the community than in years past,” said Rebecca Thomas, Class of 2020, community outreach chair of LUCOM-SNMA. “Our goal was to portray our club as an organization whose main purpose was to serve the community at large and with those intentions in mind, we knew we wanted to do something big, and we knew we wanted as many groups at LUCOM involved as possible.” LUCOM-SNMA envisioned a night that included more than just a toy drive, but also a warm meal, music, and fun for all children.
From the moment they arrived, children were under LUCOM student-doctors care as they were dispersed throughout the Madison Street Clubhouse at various stations; all with one purpose, to serve. “One of the best parts of the event was watching student doctors interact with the children, because sometimes we forget that kids look up to us,” said Thomas. “We forget that we have the ability to make huge impressions on these children.” From Christmas carols to gift wrapping, and even a surprise visit from Santa, the Christmas spirit filled the air Friday night.
“We wanted the children in attendance to see that student-doctors are not different from themselves, they too should boldly believe that they too can be future physicians,” said Tseng. “The best part of the night was when one of the girls in attendance realized we were all student-doctors and said those exact words, ‘you mean I can be a doctor too?’"
Student-Doctors served food and played games with children at the clubhouse while parents and guardians purchased toys at a different part of the building. LUCOM-SNMA collected toys through donations in weeks prior to the event with the goal to help alleviate burdens that families may be facing during holiday season. All proceeds that were raised went towards LUCOM-SNMA's scholarship program, which awards $100 scholarships for higher level education to qualified low-income students. “Our goal was to remind everyone who entered those doors of the joy that Christmas brings, and the importance of a collaborative and supportive community,” Thomas said.
LUCOM-SNMA partnered with the following LUCOM student organizations:
- LUCOM-American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP)
- LUCOM-American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP)
- LUCOM-Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA)
- LUCOM-Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG)
- LUCOM-Medical Outreach Interest Group (MOIG)
- LUCOM-Student American Academy of Osteopathic (SAAO)
- LUCOM-Student Interest Group Neurology (SIGN)
- LUCOM-Student Osteopathic Internal Medicine Association (SOIMA)
- LUCOM-Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA)
- LUCOM- Student Osteopathic Surgical Association (SOSA)