Islander Nursing Students Bring Better Days to Families in Need

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Creating an Islander impact in the lives of parents and children in need, the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Student Nurses Association (SNA) is bringing a sense of joy and hopefulness to families that are experiencing homelessness. Led by SNA President Taylor Snyder and Vice President Paige Walker, Islander nursing students organized the inaugural SNA Back-to-School Block Party, Sept. 21, at The Salvation Army of Corpus Christi, benefiting families living at The Salvation Army and the Wesley Community Center. With more than 200 people in attendance, the project not only provided a day of food, fun, and free school supplies, but also offered rare moments of relaxation in the lives of those struggling to find a place to call home.

 “Our job as future nurses is to advocate for all individuals whether it be in the hospital setting or out in the community,” said Walker, senior nursing student in the College of Nursing and Health Science (CONHS). “It’s about promoting a sense of community and caring, while also serving a diverse group of individuals.”

The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that on any given day, there are almost 57,000 U.S. families residing in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or in places not intended for human habitation. Islander nursing students often witness these numbers first-hand, working clinical rotations at local community centers with patients whose access to basic medical care and other welfare necessities may be otherwise non-existent. Through the Back-to-School Block Party, those same patients were provided access to free flu shots and free hygiene kits –just small tokens of compassion, making all the difference.

“During our pediatric clinical rotation, we spent a lot of time at the Wesley Community Center and saw the initial need that these children and families had within our community,” said Snyder, CONHS nursing major. “We discovered how incredible each one of these children were, and we desired to create a day where these kids just got to have fun and just be kids.”

While families indulged in the countless smiles created from free face paintings, games, and moon jumps, members of the SNA were reminded of the CONHS mission to make lasting contributions to community service, leadership, and practice.

“When we were setting up for the event we looked up at the windows of the shelter and saw children looking down at the field with the biggest smiles I could ever remember,” said Walker. “Being able to provide one day of carefree fun hopefully showed these families that there are better days ahead and that their situations right now are not forever.”