Teachers and students of SAC visited the Child Jesus School in one of the poorest countries in Latin America, from April 17 through the 23rd, to donate, teach English, Spanish, and art therapy to children and adolescents. But above all, it served to nourish themselves of their reality and to inspire the future graduates of Psychology. The trip was organized by Dr. Carmen Arellano, PsyD, Professor and Psychology Coordinator and Clinical Practice Director, as part of the SAC Humanitarian Immersion/Outreach Service Program.
The main objective of the trip was for the students to have the experience of knowing first-hand the needs of this population and how they survive. Students had the opportunity to interact and practice the skills learned in the Transcultural Factors in Mental Health course. “It was a ‘religious experience’ for me. I knew that Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the region, but I could not imagine how terrible the misery is. This trip made me understand perfectly my Transcultural Factors course, “said Gloria Quiroz, Recruitment Director of SAC and a student who graduated on May 27.”It was a true teaching of what we have and we do not value in our lives. It has helped me a lot personally, “she said.
Participants donated clothing and food donations that they gave to children and their families at the School of the Child Jesus that serves about 200 elementary students whose parents cannot even pay tuition at a public school. The school provides school supplies and books, as well as breakfast and lunch.
“For me, it was quite an impact,” said Dr. Juan Ojeda, Vice President of Administration and Recruitment who participated in the trip. “Just a few weeks before I had traveled to Europe on vacation, so the reality of Haiti hit me. It was a great teaching and a very positive experience for the students, “he said. “It was a great initiative of Dr. Arellano that another trip is already being prepared for next year. I think this type of educational travel should be extended to other SAC programs. “
The positive impact has enriched students in doing significant humanitarian service work; they learned and experienced on social, economic and cultural issues; made social analyses on issues that affect people in need; learned to put into action what they acquired on their journey and had the opportunity to help and explore the possibility of volunteering in the future.