NIAGARA, ON: Two Niagara teens are packing to go on a whirlwind trip to Kenya June 25 to aid in development efforts. The trip for the duo was made possible by the fundraising efforts of Niagara Health System nurses over the past year.
Emily Oliver, 16, of Welland and Krista Scott, 16, of St. Catharines will experience the life of the Maasai and Kipsigis people for 10 days and help with development projects being co-ordinated by the international child rights and relief agency Free the Children. The students will help to open a girls’ school with other volunteers, working alongside the villagers.
“Across the globe, nurses are being asked to act as catalysts to improve health,” says Interim CEO and Chief Nursing Executive Sue Matthews, who was key in developing the unique initiative. “We are blessed in Canada to enjoy a standard of care and living which is among the best in the world. Our nurses wanted to do something for others in our global community that could profoundly improve their health and well being.”
In 2010, a group of Niagara Health nurses came together during International Year of the Nurse and launched the public fundraising effort at the Rose Festival Parade in Welland last year. The team soon organized a number of fundraising events, including a giant yard sale, several pasta dinners, raffles, and more. A call went out to local secondary school students to become involved at the events, which would make them eligible to travel to Kenya to help improve conditions there.
Key to the initiative from NHS were Sue Battersby-Campbell, Marianne Deprinse, Eric Doucette, Beth Draper, Cindy Ko, Sandy Lindsay, Sue Matthews, Carol Munro and Donna Rothwell.
As a result of their efforts, $11,122 was raised to send the students to Kenya. There, they will assist with development projects to help communities where the Free the Children foundation is active, become independent.