On April 4, the USC School of Pharmacy held its annual Kids’ Day, hosting 125 students from the local El Sereno Middle School for a day on campus to learn about important health and well-being topics, as well as to encourage them to consider careers in health care. A favorite part of the event is the entertainment portion featuring pharmacy student dancing to well-known pop and show tunes.
The theme of this year’s event was ‘Tropical Paradise,” and the pharmacy students provided t-shirts to all, marking the theme of the School’s 17th Kids’ Day. Associate Dean Fred Weissman welcomed the students to campus.
The day consisted of activities and workshops covering timely topics, including healthy living, substance abuse awareness, avoiding gangs and introduction to health professions. School of Pharmacy students partnered with peers at the Keck School of Medicine, the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy to give the middle schoolers a glimpse of various health professions and what you have to do to become a health professional.
Using a Jeopardy-like game format, students learned what different health professionals do and the education they must complete before starting to work. Students were enthusiastic about the possibilities in their future.
“I’m hoping to be a doctor or a physical therapist,” said Michelle Pelayo. Her friend, Maria Yanez, said she wants to be a psychologist.
Presenters David Sand and Michelle Beliz, both from the Gang Alternative Program, talked to the young people about the consequences of joining a gang and the negative impact gangs have on neighborhoods. Their session with the students focused on peer pressure and alternatives to being part of a gang.
In between the workshops, the pharmacy students entertained their visitors with a comedy and dance program during lunch. The eighth-graders gave the future pharmacists a loud reception when they saw that health professional students can even dance.
To reinforce the lessons of the day, each El Sereno student was assigned a School of Pharmacy mentor, and during the event they had a chance to visit face-to-face. The intent of this is to continue the mentorship beyond the day, providing the eighth graders with a connection to a USC health sciences student.
The event was presented by the USC School of Pharmacy chapter of the Skull & Mortar, a student-run honorary service organization at the school, under the direction of Kids’ Day coordinator, Elaine Tan. Luncheon entertainment was presented by members of the School’s fraternities, including Lambda Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Chi and Alpha Iota Pi. In addition to the School of Pharmacy, event sponsors include the USC Graduate and Professional Student Senate, Target and Q Gifts.