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Education Through Experiences

By: Anita Virani
Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation

            When transitioning into the Loyola community three years ago, I quickly realized that regardless of which career path I decided to take, each educational field of study is imbedded with various programs that allow students to serve humankind in ways that provide a learning experience as well. As Health Systems Management students, many of our classes are built around a curriculum that focuses on reaching out and finding opportunities to assist the individuals around us. This ensures that as future healthcare providers we understand the value of using our knowledge to benefit others.

Through my first service-learning course, I completed my engaged learning requirement by working with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. This is a non-profit organization located in Chicago that offers an unforgettable experience to young children who have been diagnosed with cancer. They also provide financial support to the families of these children, and funding for further research on pediatric cancer. There, as a Special Events intern, I was responsible to assist the Director of Special Events in managing projects and organizing charity events that are set up to raise money for the foundation. I was also able to attend some of these events and administer the activities that were planned. Being able to see how my work impacted the lives of young children was the most satisfying feeling about this internship. My involvement with Bear Necessities (BN) helped me serve for a purpose that I am passionate about, advocating for the health of those who need it the most. In return, I learned about how the existence of these types of non-profit entities is necessary for our nation to meet its goals of improving the overall health of our society. My Bear Necessities reflection document further explains the wonderful opportunities BN opened up for me right at the start of my academic career at Loyola University Chicago.

Along with my academic involved in the community, my role as the Head Swim Instructor at Halas Recreation Center has pushed me to gain valuable leadership skills while sharing the knowledge that I have with those around me. Many students from Loyola as well as others from the Rogers Park community come to learn how to swim or improve the skills they already have. This position gives me an outlet to teach others a skill that will help them stay active, and manage their health. The Swim Instructor Experience weblink directs to a video that explains how I got involved with this sport, and why it remains as an important part of my life. By obtaining this role, I have also been able to expand my abilities as an effective leader and manager. These are some of the qualities that Loyola tries to instill in every student before they graduate. I am confident that maintaining this co-curricular experience will help me acquire the characteristics I need to excel in the future. 

Author: Anita Virani
Last modified: 3/1/2015 11:36 PM (EDT)