Community Service: Project SHINE

by Vannhi Huynh.

What is your most meaningful community service experience or clinical experience to date?

During my undergraduate years at Temple University, I participated in various tutoring programs for underprivileged populations. One of the most memorable and rewarding experiences was with Project SHINE, where I had the opportunity to tutor a group of senior immigrants.

As an immigrant, I have first-hand experience with the challenging cultural and language barriers that many immigrants experience when they initially arrive in the USA. With the strong support system that I had, I was able to quickly assimilate to the American culture. However, the seniors that I encountered were not as fortunate. Luckily with my position as a tutor, I was able to teach the seniors various aspects of the American culture such as common English phrases, the basics of grocery shopping, and how to send mail at the post office. Although these mundane tasks may seem simple to the majority of the American population, being able to perform these tasks can drastically improve seniors’ quality of life.

During my time as a tutor, I began to learn about life through my seniors. I was taught how lonely and alienated seniors can feel when they are displaced from their own culture to a totally new one. I learned to be more patient when interacting with seniors due to their declining mental and physical health. Most importantly, I learned to empathize with seniors, and to appreciate that their cultural values and behaviors are based on their beliefs and their life experiences. 

It has been 5 years since I’ve last worked with these seniors. However, the lessons that I’ve learned from them have remained with me, and these lessons continue to motivate me to become a better student doctor and full fledged physician in the future.


by Vannhi Huynh.

School: Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine

Community Service: Project SHINE

Student, Lifestyle, Clinical experience

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