Global Voluntarism Helps Orphans and Foster Children

By Office of the President | Mar 5, 2024

Pamela B. Simmons, Ph.D., FNP-C (ret.), Clinical Professor of Nursing at Downstate, excels as a faculty member but also as a passionate advocate for orphans and foster children. For the past decade, Dr. Simmons has been actively involved in international service, providing crucial support to orphans worldwide through the nonprofit organization Pick It Forward for Orphans (PIF).

Dr. Simmons joined a mission to Panama in early February alongside twelve women, including PIF’s founder and CEO, Jamie Jett. The group’s goal was to positively impact the lives of orphans and teenagers at Casa Hogar Trisker orphanage in Boquete, near Panama’s western border with Costa Rica. The visit also included time spent in a local “Comarca,” an autonomous indigenous area home to the Ngäbe and Buglé people.

Dr. Simmons’s dedication to this mission merits special acknowledgment. Her efforts not only benefit the orphans in Panama but also underscore her commitment to enhancing the welfare of diverse global communities.

Based in Haughton, Louisiana, Pick It Forward for Orphans is a nonprofit organization devoted to advocating for and supporting orphans and foster children. The organization extends economic, physical, medical, educational, emotional, and spiritual support to children in countries such as Panama, Haiti, and Tanzania, in addition to aiding foster children in Northwest Louisiana.

One of PIF’s primary initiatives is organizing mission trips to the Trisker Orphanage. Teams like the one Dr. Simmons recently joined participate in various projects, including painting, providing essential medications, conducting construction work, engaging in activities with children, and fostering relationships with caregivers. These teams also contribute to the orphanages by constructing life skills classrooms, funding full-time missionary-mentor-teachers, and supporting staff salaries. Ms. Jett and Dr. Simmons worked together professionally for more than 30 years in staff development and nursing administration.

In her academic role at Downstate, Dr. Simmons contributes a wealth of knowledge and experience. Before joining Downstate, she held notable positions in administrative, clinical, and nursing education roles, including Professor and Senior Director Emerita at the College of Nursing, Northwestern State University of Louisiana. She has also actively participated in accreditation processes, volunteering with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and serving two terms on its Board. Dr. Simmons currently serves as the Co-Chair of the CCNE Standards Committee and is nationally and internationally renowned as an expert in evaluation and high-quality nursing programming.

Dr. Simmons holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, a Post-Masters Certificate (FNP), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing. We salute Dr. Simmons for her advocacy, which transcends the boundaries of the classroom and hospital, reaching across borders to impact those in need significantly.