CALAIS, Maine — Every year, Washington County Community College’s Medical Assisting Capstone course uses a community service project to engage students and to bring them closer to patients and the needs of their local society. WCCC instructor Nickey Dubey said the community service project gives students firsthand experiences by creating a deeper understanding of those that are struggling within our communities around domestic violence, and substance use disorders, as citizens cope with the isolation and pressure of the COVID pandemic.
To help ease the effects, students collected more than $600 of shampoo, toothpaste, puzzles, and everyday items for the NextStep Domestic Violence Center in Machias. In addition, students also donated food, bleach, blankets, toys, and collars to Paws of Calais and the Ark of Cherryfield.
“Volunteering in a community allows medical assistants to build on empathy and teaches them how valuable it is to give back and to assist others,” she said. Dubey said that in this year’s course students completed two medical case studies on domestic violence, sensitivity, and the interview process.
“The domestic violence case studies left a significant impression on the students, and they voted to support and give back to our local Nextstep Domestic Violence Project,” she said.
Dubey said that although every student knew someone in their own lives that had been affected by domestic violence, or substances, sometimes “out of sight, out of mind” is the case. “As we were going through our case studies, their eyes were really opened to the extent of the issues,” she said. “We talked about depression and anxiety, which have both really increased during this time of COVID.’’
Dubey said her students were moved by the effects of these issues on children and created kiddie bags for the little ones that included items such as coloring books and puzzles. “I really think that this project and its implications will stay with the students for a long time,” she said.