An OUWB student organization recently held its third and final workshop of the year at Avondale High School.

Street Medicine Oakland extends outreach to local high school
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From left, Lakshmi Vrittamani, Randall Hilleary, and Meaghan Race - all M1s at OUWB and members of Street Medicine Oakland - took part in the organization's third and final workshop of the year at Avondale High School.

An OUWB student organization recently held its third and final workshop of the year at Avondale High School.

Street Medicine Oakland held the event to help students at the Auburn Hills high school create care packages for people who are homeless.

OUWB’s Street Medicine program launched in late 2019, and is a first-of-its-kind program in Oakland County.

The program aims to help the homeless population in Pontiac and Royal Oak in myriad ways — from assisting people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction to helping the vulnerable population manage their respective ways through one of the worst global pandemics in history.

Michael Marchiori, M2, a member of the Street Medicine Oakland, said working with Avondale was an extension of the organization’s services.

“It just made sense for us to reach out to them,” said Marchiori.

“We look forward to making this an annual project and working with them on other projects.”

Three workshops were held with students from Avondale. The first one focused on organizing and preparing materials.

The second one focused on talking to the high school students about their career interests, homelessness, hobbies, etc. Street Medicine Oakland members also answered questions. The students also made cut-and-tie scarves to include in the care packages.

During the final event, students packed care packages with various supplies.

Marchiori said Street Medicine Oakland hopes to increase community engagement for projects related to homelessness.

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The care packages have a variety of items for people who are homeless.

“(Street Medicine Oakland) is trying to expand the different efforts that we're doing in addition to the outreaches that we're doing for patients,” Marchiori said.

“(We’re) trying to collaborate and connect more with different community members and community groups, and one prong of that is starting to collaborate with different levels of education.”

Lakshmi Vrittamani, M1, is another Street Medicine Oakland member who expressed similar sentiments.

“We really wanted a way to look at how we can better involve our community and get the conversation started around homelessness at a younger age,” Vrittamani said. “And we figured high school was a good place to start just getting the conversation out to see if we can improve community involvement.”

Street Medicine Oakland member Randall Hilleary, M1, said he wanted to volunteer at this event because he wanted to get people excited about helping out in the community.

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“This is a really good time (for kids to figure out) what they want to do,” Hilleary said. “And this was kind of what spurred me to start getting into health care when I was in high school. I really wanted to see if I can do the same for some people here.”

Meaghan Race, M1, another group member, addressed the importance of helping high schoolers understand homelessness.

“This isn't something that I had in high school… to understand homelessness, understand the impact it has in my own community,” Race said. “Being able to partner with Avondale has been really beneficial for us as medical students to work with youth in the community, but also for them to better understand what's going on in their own community.”

Bianca Lupo, a senior at Avondale High School, called the experience eye-opening.

“I think it made a big impact into when we're trying to find what items to give and then we realize it's the basic things like toothpaste and toothbrushes and things that they need every day,” Lupo said. “Like small little items that you wouldn’t even think about.”

Vivian Provo, a freshman at Avondale, said it was nice to have the opportunity to help people.

“I've never talked about it in school, or had teachers talk about it, or had an opportunity to talk about homelessness,” Provo said.

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