Service a world away

April 27, 2017

Jenna Sanfilippo of New Hyde Park, N.Y., president of Mount Saint Mary College’s MEDLIFE chapter, administers fluoride to a young girl in Lima, Peru. 


More than 20 students from Mount Saint Mary College’s MEDLIFE chapter recently volunteered in Lima, Peru on a medical service trip.

The chapter, which started in the Fall of 2016 under the college’s Campus Ministry, brought medicine to donate and taught community development strategies to those most in need in Lima. The students were aided by donations from the college’s School of Nursing and help with travel plans from the college’s Office of International Programs.

The students spent three days in Lima serving in mobile clinics. They assisted doctors by taking patients’ blood pressure, height and weight, and temperature, giving fluoride treatments, educating on the benefits of brushing one’s teeth, and transporting patients. They also spent a day building a staircase through rocky, steep terrain with the help of community members.

Shacore Graham of Mount Vernon, N.Y., a junior biology major on the pre-dental track, said that the people, the land, and the culture of Peru left a lasting impression on him.

“They have so little, but appreciate everything they have and make good use of their resources,” he explained.

The president of the Mount’s MEDLIFE chapter, Jenna Sanfilippo of New Hyde Park, N.Y., a junior biology major on the pre-physician’s assistant track, noted that the trip was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.

“If anyone is skeptical about volunteering abroad, maybe because of the cost of travel, just know that no amount of money can give you the joy of making a difference in someone’s life,” she said.

The students also learned about Peruvian culture through a boat ride around the Ballestas islands, sandboarding in the Ica desert, and more.

The Mount’s MEDLIFE chapter plans to continue their humanitarian work by hosting fundraising events on campus to help people in the Newburgh area.