Spreading love: OUWB student interest group holds Valentine’s Day fundraiser
Valentines Day 1
Members of the OUWB chapter of AMWA prepare valentines for delivery in 2022.

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s chapter of American Medical Women’s Association is once again spending the Valentine’s Day season spreading love through the sale of personalized cards.

The sales will benefit local nonprofit Haven, based in Pontiac, which focuses on aiding victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing shelter, counseling, advocacy, and educational programming to nearly 30,000 people annually.

Through Feb. 6, anyone who wants to send a Valentine’s Day card can do so by filling out a Google form. One personalized valentine is $4, or two for $6. Payment can be submitted via Venmo.

After the deadline, the members of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) get to work printing and mailing the cards to ensure they arrive by the holiday.

Previously, AMWA would fundraise by delivering candy grams across campus. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraiser moved to cards — a change that turned out to be beneficial to the point they stuck with the format.

“This is a little bit more personal,” said Emily Babcock, M2, president, AMWA. “You can write your own notes to be sent to people and that helped it evolve on a nationwide scale, which has been a lot more successful.”

More from OUWB

OUWB, Chandler Park Academy host 11th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Health Fair

Seeing a difference: OUWB students collect eyeglasses for villagers in Sri Lanka

Community garden run by OUWB students looks to sustain growth, raise funds

In 2021, AMWA raised $525 for Haven. In 2022, that number grew to $685. Babcock said that AMWA hopes to keep that upward trajectory.

“We really want to extend our reach as far as we can, because I think that it’s incredibly important, especially regarding a holiday that’s surrounded with love…to really make sure we’re supporting people that might not have the safest environments and really trying to counteract that in any way we can,” she said.

AMWA and Haven are long-standing partners, and the relationship goes beyond AMWA’s fundraising efforts.

“Last fall, we had a couple people come from Haven and host an educational session where they taught us about intimate partner violence,” said Amanda Romaya, M2, treasurer, AMWA. “They gave us a bunch of really useful information that we can use to both recognize when somebody’s going through intimate partner violence and then steps to take and how to approach the situation.”

AMWA supports Haven as part of its goals towards promoting community health and combating violence against women, said Babcock.

“Our goal, ultimately, is to move women in medicine forward,” she said. “And I think that extends to public health in the context of combating violence against women because, ultimately, these are communities we will be serving as physicians.”

Melanie Ermler, M2, vice president, AMWA, said she agreed.

“For survivors of intimate partner violence or sexual violence, the first place that they go to, if they do seek help, is the medical field,” Ermler said. “These are important topics that physicians, nurses, and all health care workers need to be educated on and know how to treat these patients…so the work that we do with Haven as a student organization is really important.”

The money raised through this fundraiser will assist in addressing critical response needs, said Andrea Walker-Leidy, Haven representative.

“Many of the fundraising dollars go to support survivors in those immediate needs – get them through residential programs – and then find them support, housing…things like that to get them back on their feet again,” she said.

“Haven is largely funded by private donors, so fundraisers and people who give are essential and critical to their work.”

Anyone interested in sending a valentine can do so by filling out the Google form.

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.