Is this a good EC or should i find something else?

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JustintheDoctor

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I went to a local church to see if I can get some volunteer work; soup kitchen, food drive etc and they only said i can come in on saturdays and rearrange the church[move boxes, clean the stands, set things up etc]
I personally think this won't help my application, can i get some opinions of whether you would do it or not?

thanks!

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Help where help is needed. Don't try to use a church for your own personal gain and then be mad when they actually give you a job to do. FYI, this is exactly the type "selfish selflessness" adcoms will sift through when they look at your application, even if it was working for a soup kitchen. Do something you genuinely care about and can commit to, not arbitrary activities that show that you ~care~ about people.
 
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I don't think so. Instead, i's advisable to make an effort to find volunteer opportunities and engage in "volunteer" activities because you want/care about adults, youth, animals, places, causes, etc.

If you're interested, here are some volunteering activities:

1. Meals on Wheels (days, evenings, weekends). Community volunteers deliver meals to homes of seniors and individuals with disabilities; and provide social connections to help these individuals continue to live independently in their own homes.

2. Homeless Shelters or Soup Kitchens in your community (days, evenings, weekends).

3. County and City Parks and Local Recreation Areas. Community volunteers provide services to local parks, recreational areas and local wilderness areas. Some of the volunteer activities include conservation and management, building trails, leading interpretative hikes, patroling park trails, facility maintenance, etc.

4. If you like kittens, cats, puppies and dogs, many Animal Rescue Groups offer volunteer opportunities. The volunteers schedule their own flexible hours. My local animal rescue group has 2 volunteers who are EM physicians: both of them live in the area and enjoy spending about 5 hours per month with the cats and dogs. They schedule their own volunteer hours, based on their respective EM schedules and availability.

5. If you live near a Wilderness Area, Wilderness Sanctuary, Marine Habitat or a National Park, you can apply for volunteer positions at these venues. Many wilderness areas or coastal habitats welcome student volunteers, on days, weekends, and in the summertime. Some students become voluntary student rangers and spend a lot of time outdoors, or giving tours to kids, or checking hiking trails, or whatever.

6. Habitat for Humanity. Help build homes and become a weekend crew leader.

7. Food Banks/Pantries (days and weekends).

8. Animal Shelters/Humane Society also welcome part-time volunteers. If you live in a city or a town, an animal shelter is probably located near you that would welcome you as a daytime or weekend volunteer.

9. Youth Team Sports or Youth Team Coaching. Community volunteers provide team sports coaching, leadership and mentoring in a variety of youth sports, such as basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis, baseball, etc.

10. Half-Marathon/5K races (weekends). Many race events advertise for community volunteers to help at first aid stations throughout the course of the race (e.g., to assist dehydrated runners, under the supervision of licensed medical personnel, or to help with sprains, etc.).
 
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Help where help is needed. Don't try to use a church for your own personal gain and then be mad when they actually give you a job to do. FYI, this is exactly the type "selfish selflessness" adcoms will sift through when they look at your application, even if it was working for a soup kitchen. Do something you genuinely care about and can commit to, not arbitrary activities that show that you ~care~ about people.
well i dont care about opening boxes, so i guess it wouldnt be worth while.
The other advice was very helpful from the 2nd post! I donate monthly to the ASPCA so I love animals and I didn't even think of animal shelter or rescue work, i will definitely look into that! I'm trying to get into the local soup kitchen but it's pretty far from me so i have to figure that situation out, and I wish I could do park work but I dont have any locally, i'd have to travel for a few hours to do it and i dont have money.
 
well i dont care about opening boxes, so i guess it wouldnt be worth while.
The other advice was very helpful from the 2nd post! I donate monthly to the ASPCA so I love animals and I didn't even think of animal shelter or rescue work, i will definitely look into that! I'm trying to get into the local soup kitchen but it's pretty far from me so i have to figure that situation out, and I wish I could do park work but I dont have any locally, i'd have to travel for a few hours to do it and i dont have money.
The animal shelter or animal rescue/animal adoptions will count as volunteer work - and you LOVE ANIMALS - so it's something that you truly care about - it's a good volunteer EC.
 
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I don't think so. Instead, i's advisable to make an effort to find volunteer opportunities and engage in "volunteer" activities because you want/care about adults, youth, animals, places, causes, etc.

If you're interested, here are some volunteering activities:

1. Meals on Wheels (days, evenings, weekends). Community volunteers deliver meals to homes of seniors and individuals with disabilities; and provide social connections to help these individuals continue to live independently in their own homes.

2. Homeless Shelters or Soup Kitchens in your community (days, evenings, weekends).

3. County and City Parks and Local Recreation Areas. Community volunteers provide services to local parks, recreational areas and local wilderness areas. Some of the volunteer activities include conservation and management, building trails, leading interpretative hikes, patroling park trails, facility maintenance, etc.

4. If you like kittens, cats, puppies and dogs, many Animal Rescue Groups offer volunteer opportunities. The volunteers schedule their own flexible hours. My local animal rescue group has 2 volunteers who are EM physicians: both of them live in the area and enjoy spending about 5 hours per month with the cats and dogs. They schedule their own volunteer hours, based on their respective EM schedules and availability.

5. If you live near a Wilderness Area, Wilderness Sanctuary, Marine Habitat or a National Park, you can apply for volunteer positions at these venues. Many wilderness areas or coastal habitats welcome student volunteers, on days, weekends, and in the summertime. Some students become voluntary student rangers and spend a lot of time outdoors, or giving tours to kids, or checking hiking trails, or whatever.

6. Habitat for Humanity. Help build homes and become a weekend crew leader.

7. Food Banks/Pantries (days and weekends).

8. Animal Shelters/Humane Society also welcome part-time volunteers. If you live in a city or a town, an animal shelter is probably located near you that would welcome you as a daytime or weekend volunteer.

9. Youth Team Sports or Youth Team Coaching. Community volunteers provide team sports coaching, leadership and mentoring in a variety of youth sports, such as basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis, baseball, etc.

10. Half-Marathon/5K races (weekends). Many race events advertise for community volunteers to help at first aid stations throughout the course of the race (e.g., to assist dehydrated runners, under the supervision of licensed medical personnel, or to help with sprains, etc.).

Going to add this post and few other posts of yours to Essential SDN Wisdom whenever i get the time ;)
 
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well i dont care about opening boxes, so i guess it wouldnt be worth while.
The other advice was very helpful from the 2nd post! I donate monthly to the ASPCA so I love animals and I didn't even think of animal shelter or rescue work, i will definitely look into that! I'm trying to get into the local soup kitchen but it's pretty far from me so i have to figure that situation out, and I wish I could do park work but I dont have any locally, i'd have to travel for a few hours to do it and i dont have money.

No one cares about opening boxes. Volunteerism is to show service to others. It's called altruism. If everyone only had to do things they cared about, the world would be a much different place. Find a new gig, because the church needs people who want to volunteer to help the church, not people who are just out to check a box.
 
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Remember to volunteer for things you can speak meaningfully about. This is what will count at the end of it all, at interviews.

People who do things only for their resume are not going to be favored in interviews.
 
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Here are my suggestions as one pre-med to another. But a warning though: I'm a pre-med and my post might be a bogus.
I was lost like you! Because the only volunteering I've done was in a church while in Highschool. I've done janitor work for a church.

Public school- usually, schools have volunteer opportunities and you help out like a normal TA! At the end of the day, you feel great and you learn how pre-adolescents(or adolescents, if you volunteer at Middle/High school) behave. Great for Primary care doctor I guess. I'm doing it at an elementary school.

EMT/Paramedic assistance-I wish I thought of this sooner. Seems like no certificate is required. You get a clinical experience and get to do volunteering!
Let me quote:
Haha no worries! And yes, it is open to all. Give your local EMS agency a call, explain what you want to do (volunteer!) and they'll either invite you to come over for an 'interview,' or to point you in the direction of a nearby EMS agency that has a volunteer program setup for individuals without EMT certs. I started in EMS when I was 16 as an 'assistant to the EMT.' Was a great experience, made me want to become a doctor actually ;)

Public hospital- Usually, public clinics or hospitals need your help. I heard they are often understaffed. Also, wish I thought of this sooner. I'm actually going to a public hospital this Tuesday to find some info.
Find volunteer opportunities in public hospitals. They can't afford to pay enough staff to do the smaller patient-care things like moving patients from their inpatient room to imaging or helping patients get out of their bed to go to the bathroom (you're not going into the bathroom with them, just making sure they don't fall on their way over).

Hospice & nursing homes (or working with the developmentally disabled)-
I suggest hospice, nursing homes, or working with the developmentally disabled.

Also a good read:
4 hrs /week x 12 weeks = 48 hrs = you're not going to be a doctor.


What are you going to say when asked how you know you are suited for a life of caring for the sick and suffering? “That you just know”? Imagine how that will go over!

Yours is not the application of a person who dearly wants to be a physician. It is the application of someone who wants to be a doctor as long as it is convenient.

From the wise LizzyM”: I am always reminded of a certain frequent poster of a few years ago. He was adamant about not volunteering as he did not want to give his services for free and he was busy and helping others was inconvenient. He matriculated to a medical school and lasted less than one year. He's now in school to become an accountant.


Here's the deal: You need to show AdComs that you know what you're getting into, and show off your altruistic, humanistic side. We need to know that you're going to like being around sick or injured people for the next 40 years.

Here's another way of looking at it: would you buy a new car without test driving it? Buy a new suit or dress without trying it on??

We're also not looking for merely for good medical students, we're looking for people who will make good doctors, and 4.0 GPA robots are a dime-a-dozen.

I've seen plenty of posts here from high GPA/high MCAT candidates who were rejected because they had little patient contact experience.

Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.


Service need not be "unique". If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you. And get off campus and out of your comfort zone!

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.
 
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Definitely take a look at local hospitals, they will usually have some kind of volunteering program that you can committee to on a weekly basis, just be sure to see if they have positions that have more direct patient interaction instead of just simply sitting around a desk all day doing clerical tasks (like I was unfortunately stuck with a couple times). Any large clinical setting is generally looking for volunteers to help ease the load off of nurses and physicians doing basic tasks. One of my favorite jobs was working in a chemotherapy suite, helping the patients get situated and making sure that they were as comfortable as possible with food, drink, blankets, company, etc.

Another thing that I wish I would have followed up more would be to look into working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (or Personal Care Assistant). Depending on your state they might require some basic certification training, but it is a tremendous clinical experience to be able to have, even just through the training process, let alone actually being able to work part-time as a CNA in a long-term care facility or a hospital. It'd let you see a side of medicine that pre-meds generally don't get to see, even with shadowing, and help round out your experience.
 
Definitely take a look at local hospitals, they will usually have some kind of volunteering program that you can committee to on a weekly basis, just be sure to see if they have positions that have more direct patient interaction instead of just simply sitting around a desk all day doing clerical tasks (like I was unfortunately stuck with a couple times). Any large clinical setting is generally looking for volunteers to help ease the load off of nurses and physicians doing basic tasks. One of my favorite jobs was working in a chemotherapy suite, helping the patients get situated and making sure that they were as comfortable as possible with food, drink, blankets, company, etc.

Another thing that I wish I would have followed up more would be to look into working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (or Personal Care Assistant). Depending on your state they might require some basic certification training, but it is a tremendous clinical experience to be able to have, even just through the training process, let alone actually being able to work part-time as a CNA in a long-term care facility or a hospital. It'd let you see a side of medicine that pre-meds generally don't get to see, even with shadowing, and help round out your experience.
If you work at nursing homes, you will be doing jobs similar to CNAs.
 
I went to a local church to see if I can get some volunteer work; soup kitchen, food drive etc and they only said i can come in on saturdays and rearrange the church[move boxes, clean the stands, set things up etc]
I personally think this won't help my application, can i get some opinions of whether you would do it or not?

thanks!

I'd say on a 1-10 scale of ECs (10 being the best), this is a 2. It shows you have a heart and want to volunteer, but it's wholly unrelated to medicine and doesn't even really give you any interaction with the public, people in need, etc. You're just going in and moving boxes around and stuff. I would recommend finding something that puts you more in contact with the public (especially the underserved community) and/or related to health care if you're doing it primarily with the intent of including it on your med school application.
 
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I'd say on a 1-10 scale of ECs (10 being the best), this is a 2. It shows you have a heart and want to volunteer, but it's wholly unrelated to medicine and doesn't even really give you any interaction with the public, people in need, etc. You're just going in and moving boxes around and stuff. I would recommend finding something that puts you more in contact with the public (especially the underserved community) and/or related to health care if you're doing it primarily with the intent of including it on your med school application.
Thanks! Also can i include ANY of my past volunteer work on my application? For example, a few years back my city was hit with hurricane sandy and I helped a local support group go around giving out clothing and food for a few days until the officials stepped in and provided money to the victims. This experience meant a lot to me because my city(the part im from in it) was destroyed and it made me really feel for my community. By the time i apply to medical school this will be almost 10 years old(happened in 2012)
 
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Sure, no time limit. And I would say something more personally meaningful to you (like the example you gave) would be better to include than the church thing.


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Thanks a lot! And thanks to the others who were helpful!
 
Thanks! Also can i include ANY of my past volunteer work on my application? For example, a few years back my city was hit with hurricane sandy and I helped a local support group go around giving out clothing and food for a few days until the officials stepped in and provided money to the victims. This experience meant a lot to me because my city(the part im from in it) was destroyed and it made me really feel for my community. By the time i apply to medical school this will be almost 10 years old(happened in 2012)

Sure, no time limit. And I would say something more personally meaningful to you (like the example you gave) would be better to include than the church thing.


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This actually would probably not be appropriate to put down on AMCAS since it sounds like you did it in high school.

You need to put down things you did past high school or things you continued from high school significantly.

You can always talk about such experiences in your PS though!
 
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This actually would probably not be appropriate to put down on AMCAS since it sounds like you did it in high school.

You need to put down things you did past high school or things you continued from high school significantly.

You can always talk about such experiences in your PS though!
Hmm, okay thats kinda what i figured. Yeah, I think i'll intertwine it in my PS!
 
This actually would probably not be appropriate to put down on AMCAS since it sounds like you did it in high school.

You need to put down things you did past high school or things you continued from high school significantly.

You can always talk about such experiences in your PS though!

Out of curiosity, why do you say that his experience would not be appropriate simply because it was done while in high school? I don't recall any time limit, and the AMCAS app to my memory allows you to enter up to
15 work/EC activities. To be honest, I didn't see that the hurricane cleanup thing was done while the OP was in high school, but I would still recommend including it in the AMCAS over the church thing.

In general, admissions officers can see through bogus EC experiences that mean little to the applicant and are meant as mere filler on the application. Now of course, I would certainly encourage the OP to get involved with more activities while on college--and include those on the list. But if there is something from high school that was particularly impressive or meaningful for an applicant, I would recommend including it.

For example, a high school activity of spending a summer in Africa teaching about condom use to rural teenagers would be more interesting and impressive--and better to include on the AMCAS--than being secretary one year of the collegiate pre-med club.

That's my opinion, at least. And the AMCAS automatically sorts activities chronologically, so the admissions officers will get the picture.


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Out of curiosity, why do you say that his experience would not be appropriate simply because it was done while in high school? I don't recall any time limit, and the AMCAS app to my memory allows you to enter up to
15 work/EC activities. To be honest, I didn't see that the hurricane cleanup thing was done while the OP was in high school, but I would still recommend including it in the AMCAS over the church thing.

In general, admissions officers can see through bogus EC experiences that mean little to the applicant and are meant as mere filler on the application. Now of course, I would certainly encourage the OP to get involved with more activities while on college--and include those on the list. But if there is something from high school that was particularly impressive or meaningful for an applicant, I would recommend including it.

For example, a high school activity of spending a summer in Africa teaching about condom use to rural teenagers would be more interesting and impressive--and better to include on the AMCAS--than being secretary one year of the collegiate pre-med club.

That's my opinion, at least. And the AMCAS automatically sorts activities chronologically, so the admissions officers will get the picture.


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Yeah he deduced it correctly, it happened in highschool. But since its chronological, i guess its worthy, and i'd bring it up in my PS so theyd be tied together.
 
If you had a friend who suddenly lost their housing due to a natural or financial disaster or who was jobless and had no food in the house, or was afraid that they caught a sexually transmitted disease on Spring break, or who was 8 years old and struggling in school, or who was 85 years old homebound and needed help with errands, where would you recommend that friend turn for help? That's where you should go in your community to be a volunteer.

Are you in a very affluent suburban community that has no poor people?
 
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If you had a friend who suddenly lost their housing due to a natural or financial disaster or who was jobless and had no food in the house, or was afraid that they caught a sexually transmitted disease on Spring break, or who was 8 years old and struggling in school, or who was 85 years old homebound and needed help with errands, where would you recommend that friend turn for help? That's where you should go in your community to be a volunteer.

Are you in a very affluent suburban community that has no poor people?
On my side yes, but as i said above i can travel to the lower income parts, im currently looking up soup kitchens in that area since I dont have any near me. Closest one is about a 45 minute drive(edit, actually maybe 25 w/o traffic).
 
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Out of curiosity, why do you say that his experience would not be appropriate simply because it was done while in high school? I don't recall any time limit, and the AMCAS app to my memory allows you to enter up to
15 work/EC activities. To be honest, I didn't see that the hurricane cleanup thing was done while the OP was in high school, but I would still recommend including it in the AMCAS over the church thing.

In general, admissions officers can see through bogus EC experiences that mean little to the applicant and are meant as mere filler on the application. Now of course, I would certainly encourage the OP to get involved with more activities while on college--and include those on the list. But if there is something from high school that was particularly impressive or meaningful for an applicant, I would recommend including it.

For example, a high school activity of spending a summer in Africa teaching about condom use to rural teenagers would be more interesting and impressive--and better to include on the AMCAS--than being secretary one year of the collegiate pre-med club.

That's my opinion, at least. And the AMCAS automatically sorts activities chronologically, so the admissions officers will get the picture.


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As a general rule of thumb, much older experiences should bot be on AMCAS because they do not represent necessarily one's commitment to volunteering and community work. This is especially true as one does those experiences as a minor and not necessarily of their own volition. However, if you continue such work well into college, it demonstrates that commitment.

Doing outstanding things in high school should allow you to gain footing to do extraordinary things in college. If you do not have equivalent experiences in college, it does not provide schools the insight into your experience relating to your character.
@LizzyM and @Goro can chime in, but I am mostly repeating what I have heard them and several adcom members I have met IRL say.
 
As a general rule of thumb, much older experiences should bot be on AMCAS because they do not represent necessarily one's commitment to volunteering and community work. This is especially true as one does those experiences as a minor and not necessarily of their own volition. However, if you continue such work well into college, it demonstrates that commitment.

Doing outstanding things in high school should allow you to gain footing to do extraordinary things in college. If you do not have equivalent experiences in college, it does not provide schools the insight into your experience relating to your character.
@LizzyM and @Goro can chime in, but I am mostly repeating what I have heard them and several adcom members I have met IRL say.

Fair enough. Of course, it's obvious if an applicant has several good experiences in high school but nothing from college. Begs the question of, "Why not anything more recent?"

I guess I was viewing it more as a comparison of the church thing (which is weak, only marginally related to medicine or working with the public, and generally bland) versus something like helping local hurricane victims, which seemed to actually impact the OP.

Yeah, he should do MORE to be sure. But debating between including either of those, I would mention the hurricane thing and omit the church cleaning.

Of course, I could be wrong. Would also be interested to hear from some admissions folks.




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Fair enough. Of course, it's obvious if an applicant has several good experiences in high school but nothing from college. Begs the question of, "Why not anything more recent?"

I guess I was viewing it more as a comparison of the church thing (which is weak, only marginally related to medicine or working with the public, and generally bland) versus something like helping local hurricane victims, which seemed to actually impact the OP.

Yeah, he should do MORE to be sure. But debating between including either of those, I would mention the hurricane thing and omit the church cleaning.

Of course, I could be wrong. Would also be interested to hear from some admissions folks.




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He could continue to assist in disaster relief, and then say that it started while in HS!
 
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He could continue to assist in disaster relief, and then say that it started while in HS!
Thats a good idea, i would have to check if there is anything like that locally since my school - at the time - set everything up.
 
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Find a different house of worship for a volunteering gig. I'll wager you can find something more meaningful.


I went to a local church to see if I can get some volunteer work; soup kitchen, food drive etc and they only said i can come in on saturdays and rearrange the church[move boxes, clean the stands, set things up etc]
I personally think this won't help my application, can i get some opinions of whether you would do it or not?

thanks!
 
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He could continue to assist in disaster relief, and then say that it started while in HS!
Agree with @Lost In Transcription.

This type of situation also occurs in animal-related volunteering activities because many cats and dogs are relinquished to community animal shelters or animal rescue groups because the pet owner has lost their home, or lost their job, or incurred staggering medical expenses secondary to chronic illness or serious/disabling injuries. Or, their family pets have been lost or displaced following a natural disaster (e.g., wildfires, flooding, earthquake, hurricane).

When I volunteer time with a local animal rescue group (along with 2 other medical colleagues), we spend a lot of time comforting distraught pet owners who are frantically looking for their displaced pets. We also provide voluntary search-and-rescue/emergency services. Some of the more seasoned volunteers started out as student volunteers many years ago, and are now physicians, etc. So, a history of "continuity" of volunteer service is a-okay in my opinion.
 
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