Psychology Honor Society Collects Supplies for U.S. Army Personnel in Afghanistan

Reposted from VCU News Center:
Special Delivery VCU Psychology Honor Society collects supplies for U.S. Army personnel stationed in Afghanistan
Members of Virginia Commonwealth University’s chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, recently collected food, toiletries and other supplies for U.S. Army personnel serving in Afghanistan.

The project started with a request from Col. Thomas Morgan III of Chesterfield, who had been activated by the Virginia National Guard and is serving in Afghanistan until November.

Morgan supervises a Validation Transition Team, a unit of active-duty soldiers from all over the Army that assesses the Afghan Army and police. Many of the soldiers in the unit are on a second or third deployment, having arrived in Afghanistan last August. Because the soldiers come from throughout the Army, it’s often difficult to identify local organizations to support them with morale and welfare support in Afghanistan.

Steven Danish, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at VCU who researches veterans’ issues and works with veterans re-entering civilian life after active duty, teamed with Morgan on several projects for the guard before his deployment and thought the drive was a good project for VCU’s Psi Chi chapter.

Danish informed Psi Chi faculty adviser Melissa Blank, Ph.D., of the need and she presented the idea to the society’s members, who ultimately selected the project as one of their service efforts for the year.

“This is perfect for VCU’s goals of working closely with veterans,” Blank said. “We select projects that we work on based on the greatest need and member interest. Our members wanted to help.”

Psi Chi members began the drive in March and soon had a growing collection of novels, notebooks, pens, magazines, puzzle books, envelopes, stationery, snacks and toiletries.

“I think VCU and Psi Chi have a responsibility to get out and help in the community and we want to do it,” said Candace Faircloth, Psi Chi president. “It’s rewarding in so many ways.”

The collected items were packed into seven large boxes and shipped to Afghanistan on April 1.

“This is a humbling experience,” said Alex Mercado, Psi Chi vice president. “It’s one thing to recognize that the effort is helping people down the street, but this effort is helping people halfway around the world.”

– Mike Porter, 4/27/11, VCU News Center

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