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Student-Athlete Provides Care, Support to Poor Community in Jamaica

By Lauren Whetzel-Siburkis

group photoLong before Daniel Pineda BI’18 became a student at University of the Sciences, he developed a passion for helping people who were less fortunate than him. His desire to help people was a key influence in his decision to major in biology (pre-med). After all, he hopes to ultimately pursue a medical career like his mother, who is a doctor.

Over the past several years, Pineda has traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to volunteer withMissionaries of the Poor—a nonprofit organization that runs several centers in Kingston dedicated to housing and serving the poor. In fact, he recently completed his fourth mission trip to Jamaica this summer with his mother and a team of friends and family, which included several medical students and doctors.

group of students“The residents of Jamaica are faced with many troubles, such as lack of healthcare, no family or friends, and mental and physical disabilities,” said Pineda. “Each trip really makes me appreciate simple pleasures that can be taken for granted in the United States.”

At the missions’ centers, Pineda helped his mother run a free medical clinic for hundreds of children and adults. The team of volunteers also helped bathe the residents, cleaned their living quarters, fed them, and spent quality time with them.

Among the centers visited, included the Bethlehem House, a residence for babies and young children with disabilities. Although many of the young residents had severe symptoms of cerebral palsy and were confined to their cribs, some of them were able to walk and play with the volunteers. They also spent time at the Faith Center and Jacob’s Well, which, respectively, house adult men and woman with disabilities.

Pineda, also a member of the University’s men’s baseball team, said he especially values his USciences education because of its emphasis on giving back to the community and helping people. He encourages his peers to consider taking a medical mission trip so that they can apply the skills gained at USciences to aid individuals in very poor countries. 

Click here to watch a video from Pineda's trip.

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