It Takes a (Student) Village

hillary-clinton-3.pngThis post would probably get more hits if it either praised or criticized Hillary’s book, It Takes a Village. Remember how much buzz that book created! However, it’s not. It’s about the success that Simon’s Fund has experienced as a result of tapping into a student village.

For years now, Simon’s Fund has depended on high school groups, like National Honor Society, to help out at our heart screenings. These students have been amazing – prompt, courteous and mature. We’ve always valued the fact that students could helping us protect the hearts of other students. It is a very meaningful ingredient of our work.

Recently, we have discovered other ways for students to contribute to our mission. Medical students from Jefferson took vitals at our screenings. A graduate student from Fels School of Government at Penn, helped us reach out to lawmakers across the country about the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act. Last weekend, six Physician Assistant (PA) students at Arcadia University were trained how to administer EKG exams on students. Two students from Haverford College created an app for us to use during our heart screenings to collect data. This summer, students at Drexel University will develop a Simon’s Fund specific cause-related marketing campaign for eight different corporations as part of their marketing course.

Sure, Simon’s Fund greatly benefits from this arrangement. We don’t have a big staff, nor do we want one. This allows us to have more balls in the air and accomplish more of our objectives. But here’s what I really value about these relationships.

One of the biggest conclusions I drew from my years in school – high school, college and law school – was that the coursework did not prepare me for a job. I used to always wonder “when am I going to use this.” The students that work with Simon’s Fund don’t have to wonder. Chris may help pass a law while getting his Masters. Stephanie would have never learned how to do EKGs on kids in her program. Ivan knows how to develop an app for a company. A marketing student may pitch and help launch a cause-related marketing campaign. This is priceless for both parties, particularly to those students whose lives will be saved as a result.