By Sruthi Peddada

Class of 2021

As the start of my senior year approaches, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my past three years at the University of Delaware. While many experiences have played a role in shaping who I am today, Lori’s Hands is, without a doubt, one of the most life changing programs I have been involved in. As a neuroscience major on the pre-medical track, I am always eager to get involved in any opportunity that could improve my understanding of the healthcare field. After hearing about Lori’s Hands mission to transform student’s understanding about healthcare, I knew it was the right program for me. 

While Lori’s Hands has lived up to its promise, the program has done so much more than just that. Through the program, I was able to build connections with people living with chronic illnesses in the Newark community. What started out as weekly visits with my clients for volunteer hours has blossomed into friendships. In fact, I regularly call and visit my clients in my own time to see how their week is going or to share parts of my life with them. 

The Community Engagement Scholars program has motivated me to take my time with Lori’s Hands to the next level. As a part of the Scholars experience, every student is required to complete a course that integrates co-curricular service and academics. I took the course “Chronic Illness in America” (HLTH 320) which integrates service learning through Lori’s Hands. Through the course, I was able to learn about the American healthcare system and gain a better understanding of living life with a chronic illness. I was then given the opportunity to speak to clients about topics I had learned in class that week, and further discuss how various aspects of healthcare impact the client directly. 

Lori’s Hands and the Community Engagement Scholars program have played a pivotal role in shaping my college experience. While I was always motivated to pursue service opportunities on my own, the Community Engagement Scholars program pushed me to take my engagement to the next level.