SMC Gives to the Community

SMC Team Despite the long, warm summer days and the freedom to take it a little easy, many staff, faculty, and students rolled up their sleeves, laced up their tennis shoes, and marched into their community to help give back, in a big way.

On July 20, more than a dozen SMC staff and students joined 25,000 people who braved the cold San Francisco morning air to walk 6.2 miles around Golden Gate Park. The goal of the walk was to raise money for AIDS Walk, San Francisco, a nonprofit organization in the Bay Area that cares for people who are living with HIV/AIDS and the fight against AIDS.

"I know students and staff have hectic schedules, and the fact that they made the time to support the SMC Team and the fight against AIDS is nothing short of phenomenal," said Josh Campbell, Campus Service Center Assistant and AIDS Walk Captain. "This was a great first year with many lessons learned and next year promises to be a much more successful adventure."

For Kathie McWilliams, Administrative Assistant for Enrollment Services, the walk was a testament of people's kindness to combat a devastating disease.

"I was able to actively experience the enormous amount of generosity and commitment there was out there, not only SMC staff and students but from other companies and organizations," said McWilliams.

More than four million dollars was raised at this year's AIDS Walk. Nearly three thousand dollars of the money came from SMC staff and students.

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ABSN students Michelle Sharman, Kira Walker and Cynthia James For the second year in a row, students and faculty from SMC's Sacramento Regional Learning Center (SMLC) participated in the 4th Annual Operation Backpack, a nonprofit organization that provides students with school supplies.

"Many of these children come from poverty level or many are even homeless," said Rene Clymer-Englehart, RN, MSN, Managing Director of SRLC and Assistant Professor. "As a campus, we were able to donate 40 full backpacks, containing approximately 40 items of school supplies."

Barry Wisdom, spokesperson for Volunteers of America said Operation Backpack is a hit due to the continued support and donations from SMC and like-minded organizations.

"Staff and students of educational institutions – such as Samuel Merritt College – know only too well the importance of properly supplying children with the tools they need to succeed in school," said Wisdom. "What many of us took for granted when we were younger, like a new backpack, binders, notebooks, calculators – even crayons, are unaffordable luxuries for the parents of thousands of children in need throughout our community.'

More than 1300 backpacks full of grade-appropriate school supplies were collected and distributed to boys and girls aged 5 to 17 around the Greater Sacramento Area. Organizers say Operation Backpack is able to provide not only essential back-to-school necessities, but a boost to the children's self-esteem by giving them new backpacks and school supplies so they may start the school year feeling more like "regular kids."

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On August 16, nearly 500 people met and walked around Lake Merritt for the 4th Annual Breast Cancer Challenge 5k Walk and Fun Run.

Among those in the sea of pink T-shirts was a group of staff, family and friends from Samuel Merritt College. Gena Caya, Administrative Assistant for the Department of Alumni Affairs, says she and her daughter Cindy came out and walked in honor of all those who have been affected by cancer.

"My sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, and it was wonderful to be out there knowing that we were supporting not only her, but all those who have been affected or know someone who has been affected by cancer," said Caya. "I look forward to doing it again next year."

Supporters say the walk is not only a reminder about the importance of early detection in managing the disease, but it's also a line of emotional support for many women. Breast cancer remains one of the leading causes of death among women in the United States. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.


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DPM Softball The 2nd Annual SMC Softball Tournament held on September 6th helped swing in the last dog days of summer. With hotdogs and burgers smoking on the grill, faculty, staff, and students from SMC's physical therapy, podiatric medicine, physician assistant, and nursing programs played a friendly game of intramural softball for nearly six hours on two softball fields at Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek.

Friends and family were on hand to cheer and support each player from their perspective program and graduating class. Despite the 102 degree heat wave that day, everyone was in good spirits.

"The tournament is a great time to socialize and compete at the same time," said Alexander Reyzelman, DPM Chair and Assistant Professor.

"I hope that more people will get involved next year, I had a great time playing softball with a mix of MOT (occupational therapy) and DPM (podiatric medicine) students along with spouses of faculty," said Christy Miric, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) student. "I am all for starting a team that plays more than once a year, maybe a weekend homework-procrastinating-pick-up game!"

Winners - DPM Class of 2010

The winner of the softball tournament goes to the DPM class of 2010 followed by 2nd place - DPM class of 2011 and 3rd place - DPM class of 2012.

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