Profile: Local student creates Youth Medical Relief to assist children with health needs

Safa Farrukh doesn’t want to change the world. She just wants to make it a better place to live, especially for those who aren’t living all that well at the moment.

Farrukh, a junior at Washtenaw International High School, is the founder and president of Youth Medical Relief, a student-led non-profit organization for supporting the medical needs of youth by allowing high school students to get involved with healthcare and medicine through service, outreach and educational opportunities.

The initiative began in November 2017 when Farrukh wanted to extend her passions for medicine to serve the medical needs of her community.

Safa Farrukh

“I hope to help children and teens with their medical needs by raising awareness about current medical issues of youth and supporting them through fundraising and volunteering,” she says. “YMR leads monthly themed projects throughout the year.”

For the upcoming year, YMR will be focusing on Diabetes in Youth for a month by leading service projects, organizing fundraisers, implementing educational seminars, and starting social media campaigns.

“Once we have reached our goal, we will move on to a Cancer in Youth project for another month,” Farrukh says. “This will continue throughout the year until we have been able to provide and serve for several groups of youth who suffer from a certain disease or health problem.

“For example, we recently led a global project called Operation Smile during February to support children with the cleft-lip disorder and raised money for children to be able to have free and affordable surgeries.”

Members of Youth Medical Relief are divided into four different committees: service, outreach, education, and fundraising. Each committee allows members to contribute to YMR in a unique way, such as volunteering, raising awareness and leading seminars about a disease/medical issue in youth, and raising money for medical organizations that provide for children or adolescents.

In order to qualify as a member, the student must be in high school and have special interests and skills relevant to the group’s purpose and goals.

“However, it is not necessary for someone to be a member to contribute to our initiative,” Farrukh says. “We hope that others will be involved by participating in our various events, fundraisers, and activities or volunteering promoting healthier lives for youth and also by staying involved through our social media pages as well.”

The response to YMR has been a big YES!

“We have had many positive responses from the community, including from other organizations (i.e Operation Smile), teachers, participants, students, and patients,” Farrukh says. “Our social media has recently been established and grown in the past few weeks and we are glad to see so much interest in our initiative. We hope that it will continue expanding and touch the lives of youth all around the world.”

YMR is based in Ann Arbor and they hope to serve children and teens with their medical needs in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area. The group plans on holding general meetings at Ann Arbor Public Schools in the near future. Weekly meetings are held at Washtenaw International High School.

Students can apply by filling out this form: