At around 5 a.m., one Saturday out of every month, about 20 members of Flying Samaritans convene at Long Beach State to begin their day trip to Tijuana, Mexico.
But they don’t make their travel to party, even if it is spring break. Instead, the ambitious pre-med or nursing majors arrange their caravans to meet at clinics, where they stay until as late as the evening to serve underprivileged communities.
“We try to bring something that is sustainable to our patients,” said clinic coordinator Kadisha Aburub. “We want to really make our presence known.”
The club uses student fundraisers, donations and membership dues to fund its missions. But without the students’ physical efforts and helping-hands mentality, the Tijuana trips would not be possible.
“We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have our volunteers,” said Aburub, a 2018 CSULB alumna.“Everyone plays a role in different ways.”
Bringing in healthcare providers is a plus, as the process of working with doctors gives the students more hands-on experience. With the recent implementation of physical therapy stations, Flying Samaritans now provide more resources to the communities it helps.
“Establishing a connection with our community is the biggest aspect that we try to bring,” Aburub said.
It’s a group effort that they plan to expand on in the coming semesters. Along with organizing local care package distributions, Flying Samaritans keeps its membership intact by allowing each person to have a role, even if there is no room for some on a clinic trip.
Through each contributing effort, whether from volunteering to drive or by attending meetings and fundraisers, members receive points, which reset after they use them to participate in the clinics.
“I’m really connected here,” said treasurer and third-year human development major, Jocelyn Flores.
Flores joined Flying Samaritans as a freshman. Though she was involved in various other clubs, she sought a group that would allow her to be more directly involved in helping communities.
“[Flying Samaritans] lets me actually work one on with people,” she said.
President Jonathan Miranda described the group’s ventures as a homegrown effort, with the same dedicated people helping out each month.
“We are a group of dedicated pre-health professionals,” said the third-year molecular cell biology and physiology major.
For Miranda, staying involved in Flying Samaritans is a choice centered around his own personal growth
“Eventually I want to be a doctor, and at some point, maybe I will,” Miranda said. “But I feel like I don’t have to wait eight years from now to start achieving that goal … whatever I can do now, I’ll do.”