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Changing the community: Rain Smith honors community service through medicine

Having volunteered for her parents’ non-profit from a young age, freshman health sciences major Rain Smith hopes to continue serving the community as public relations director of the Black Women in Medicine club. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/RAIN SMITH

Freshman health sciences major Rain Smith was born with a servant’s heart, according to her mother Xochee Smith. Having grown up in the church, Smith said her daughter was destined to honor her faith and community through her work.

By the time she graduated high school, Smith had amassed over 1,500 community service hours, with over half dedicated to volunteer work at a medical clinic. Outside of her passion for medicine, however, Smith said her eagerness to serve her community was inspired by her experiences growing up with her parents’ non-profit organization.

The Genesis Seven Project, which her parents started when she was seven years old, grew from community service-based volunteering opportunities to a full mentorship program. Alongside spreading their faith, Smith said herself and other volunteers often provided various types of support to teenagers in Silver Springs, Florida, including hygiene and clothing drives as well as tutoring services.

Moving into her freshman year at USF, Smith said it felt natural to continue honoring underserved communities despite the change in setting.

“I just really was surrounded and involved in a lot of community service growing up, so I feel like that has really contributed to who I am as a person today. I love to give and I love to serve and that has really just stuck with me throughout my whole life,” she said.

“Looking back on my experiences, it only makes sense that I want to dedicate my life with my future career to serving and giving back to my community.”

Smith grew up being fascinated by her and her family’s routine doctor’s visits, and given that no one else in her family had worked in the medical field, she said she knew from an early age that she wanted to become a doctor.

Her priority when entering college, in addition to studying medicine, was to integrate her experience in The Genesis Seven Project with her volunteer work in the medical field. Hoping to participate in more campus organizations and activities, Smith said she looked through various clubs before stumbling upon the Black Women in Medicine club, which would eventually become the perfect opportunity to honor her prior volunteering.

Finding an outlet dedicated to both volunteering and her interest in obstetrics was something Smith said she wanted to do long before college, but she initially had not expected to run for a leadership position in the Black Women in Medicine club.

However, the support of her church, friends and family are things she said were invaluable in preparing her to accept the position. Although the responsibilities attached to her aspirations can at times become overwhelming, Smith said she often finds comfort in a statement her parents have told her since childhood – to focus on her goals and never get distracted.

For Xochee, Smith’s commitment to serving others through medicine is not only a testament to her selfless nature, but her natural drive to succeed in any situation she encounters.

“Her accomplishments speak to her, who she is and her heart. She was in the IB program in high school, which is extremely challenging and she still managed to play sports on a very high level as a basketball player and also complete over 1500 hours of community service … which she was recognized for,” she said.

“And I just always thought that this is who she is, she just works hard and to be able to accomplish all of that, I’ve just always been in such awe of her ability to set her mind on, and achieve, the things that she wants to accomplish.”

In her current position as public relations director of the Black Women in Medicine club, Smith said she works alongside fellow members of the executive board to design flyers for club events, post and design creative content on their social media pages and create interactive activities for club members.

What she hopes the greater purpose of her work is, however, is honoring the role that Black women have in advancing equality in medicine, according to Smith. Given the history of racism towards Black women in general society, she said it’s of the utmost importance that young black women are provided the opportunity and resources to pursue positions of power.

“It’s very important to celebrate Black history and Black Heritage, so celebrating Black achievement allows us, as women, to continue to move forward and become more prominent leaders in our community and inspire other people as well to promote equality and justice,” she said.

“It’s possible to have big goals and big dreams despite the history of oppression and racism. I feel like it’s very easy for Black women to be discouraged and unmotivated with these specific conditions, so really just stepping up, being a leader and showing other women that it is possible is very important to me.”