Smiles were seen early and often at the Merced College Child Development Center in early March.

Always looking for philanthropic opportunities, the Merced College Pre-Med Club raised money to purchase little sets of scrubs, lab coats and toy medical equipment, like stethoscopes, for the children at the CDC.

The club donated the goods to the CDC, with a handful of members getting to interact with the kids as they broke in their new dress-up clothes.

“At the very beginning of the school year we said let’s give back to the campus, students or maybe an organization here at the College,” Pre-Med Club President Danny Provost said. “A lot of people gave out their ideas and I think (Professor) Cary (Coburn) came up with the Child Development Center. It was a group effort all the way around.”

Provost said the club fundraises throughout the school year, including their current Servant for a Day fundraiser, to participate in team-building activities or contribute to a group or cause.

“We wanted to give back to a specific division and the Child Development Center serves our students by taking care of their children while they’re attending school,” Coburn said. “We just thought it would be a fun thing to do, and everybody got on board very quickly.

“The folks at the CDC dressed the kids up ahead of our visit. It was very tangible. Sometimes you donate something and you never get to see the result. The kids loved getting to dress up and our students had a great time interacting with them. It didn’t cost very much and they’ll have something they can enjoy for many years to come.”

The Pre-Med Club members that attended said they had almost as good a time as the children.      

“It was very rewarding to get to see the smiles on their faces,” club member Sherry Pereida said. “We thought it was a fun gift, and you hope they’re going to like it, but it’s very different when you get to see them actually use it.”