Matt Schorr
January 16, 2019

Photo submitted
The Meharry-Vanderbilt Student Alliance joined Youth Encouragement Services during the Christmas season to provide gifts, toys and clothes to children and families in need.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. It’s hard to imagine a child at Christmas with no presents under the tree and no food to eat, but unfortunately that’s a reality many families in Nashville’s inner city face each year. While others enjoy colorful gifts and huge, holiday meals, many spend the season with little more than an empty home.

Youth Encouragement Services (YES) – with a little help from the Meharry-Vanderbilt Student Alliance (MVSA) – sought to change that. On December 15, 2018, MVSA members from both Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and Meharry Medical College (MMC) lent a hand at the YES Christmas Store on Lindsley Avenue.


Community service event

“This was a community service event,” Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) Program Manager Pilar Prather, M.Ed. explained. “It was a way for both institutions to come together within the community and help through volunteering for families during the holiday season.”

MVSA members assisted at various booths, helping families select gifts. This included clothing, toys, gift cards and more.

In all, YES helped provide for more than 700 underprivileged children.


‘Very impactful’

“I feel like the students were happy to do a community service event in which they were able to interact with the community, which was very impactful” Prather said. The MVSA’s next event is Whose Central Line Is It Anyway, scheduled on February 8, 2019.


About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the Alliance bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas -- community engagement, interprofessional education and research -- by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the Alliance serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.