CLEVELAND - A local organization in Cleveland schools is helping students build their dreams while empowering them in the process.
When he was just 3 years old, Cleveland School of Science and Medicine student, Herbert Kwofi and his family left Ghana and came to America to start a better life.
“I’ve experienced stuff in my life, going through the struggles,” he said.
That’s why when he found out about Health Professions Affinity Community, commonly known as H-PAC, he was all in.
“I always knew that I wanted to make a change,” Kwofi expressed.
And bringing about change is what he’s doing. He started a focus group called Fair Guide, helping students in his school manage their finances.
"I think it's something I'm most proud of right now, it's my baby. Fair Guide is everything to me," he said.
And that’s the whole idea of the program.
Whether it’s implementing a financial help program, or creating a support group for young girls to build their self-esteem, H-Pac is trying to change the way the community thinks about their health, at the same time mentors students to pursue their dreams.
The goal is to bring awareness of the social determinants of health, like our mental, emotional and financial health.
Within the program, medical students from NEOMED mentor high school students across the city to develop and carry out the visions for those programs.
“We have this thing called citizenship here, but nobody knows, they know they've got rights, but we don't teach our babies how to go back and use what they want to use, they're responsibility to the community," said Gina Weisblat, Director of Education for Service and NEOMED's College of Medicine and co-creator of H-PAC who’s passionate about the students, who might otherwise be looked over, now can pursue a career in the medical field, while also giving back to the community in which they’re from.
Most of the students involved with H-PAC, like Kwofit, who is a graduating senior on his way to study at Georgetown University, want to pursue a career in the medical field, which it's another reason Weisblat starts in high school, in order to get them in touch with their community’s needs sooner.