2012-03-30 / Front Page

Nursing club is ‘blessing’

Students to raise money for first mission trip
By Kristy Wagner Staff Writer


The nursing students and faculty of the SMCC nursing club will embark on a humanitarian mission to Peru in August. The trip is a collaborative effort with Hands Across the Americas and Partners for World Health in Scarborough. Partners for World Health collects and distributes discarded medical supplies which the SMCC students will bring with them to Peru for use in clinics, schools, and other sites. (Kristy Wagner photo) The nursing students and faculty of the SMCC nursing club will embark on a humanitarian mission to Peru in August. The trip is a collaborative effort with Hands Across the Americas and Partners for World Health in Scarborough. Partners for World Health collects and distributes discarded medical supplies which the SMCC students will bring with them to Peru for use in clinics, schools, and other sites. (Kristy Wagner photo) Southern Maine Community College’s Nursing Club needs help.

The group has planned a two-week humanitarian trip to Cuzco, Peru in early August and must raise $3,000 for each future nurse who will take flight this summer. With nine students and two faculty members traveling, the expenses add up. The group of nursing students is determined to raise the funds and make the trip to Peru, where they plan to deliver medical supplies and visit an orphanage, clinics, schools, and various other sites to apply their knowledge of medical care and gain experience and education for their future careers in nursing.

The trip was planned in collaboration with Partners for World Health and Hands Across the Americas. Partners for World Health is a nonprofit located in Scarborough that collects and distributes discarded medical supplies and provides medical care to Third World countries. The nonprofit also strives to educate people about global health. Hands Across the Americas is a nonprofit founded in 1996 with the mission to empower families to break away from poverty and increase economic development through access to healthcare and education. The nonprofit has provided services in the United States, Peru, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Bolivia and Ecuador.

“We do a service learning with (Partners for World Health) in our third semester and volunteer in their warehouse,” said Amy Lee, SMCC nursing student and co-founder of the nursing club. “We get an opportunity to volunteer there and we also write a paper focusing on health care in other countries so that’s what got us thinking about (the trip to Peru).”

Skye Ferrante founded the nursing club with Lee in October 2011. The club focuses on team building and community involvement and promotes healthy living. The co-founders are helping to organize fundraisers, but they will not be going to Peru.

“Skye and I started this last semester and we really didn’t know what we were getting into,” Lee said. “We don’t regret it at all, it’s been a blessing. It brought together all the semesters in the nursing program and everyone is welcome to join the club at any time.”

Ferrante added that the club provides mentorship to nursing students and support when academics get tough.

“We have students from upper semesters mainly for connections and advice, mental health, or just to meet for coffee and talk about a rough time,” Ferrante said. “When you first come into the nursing program it’s so scary and it helps coming into it when you know you have this club.”

Anne Boehm, an adjunct faculty member at SMCC, has already gone on a humanitarian mission with Partners for World Health to Cambodia and will accompany the students to Peru in August.

“I think it’s such a rich experience not only medically, but just seeing another culture and seeing how really happy people are and how they live with what little they get by on,” Boehm said. “It changed me as a person.”

Nursing student Tarka Anderson said she hopes the trip will enrich her as a person and not just as a medical professional.

“I work at Maine Medical Center now, and see the health care system here, and going to another country where they don’t have resources or supplies will let me see what we take for granted here,” Anderson said. “When I come back I’ll be more well-rounded. Everyday, people should strive to become a better person.”

The club has just begun fund-raising efforts. They recently had 75 T-shirts printed with the SMCC nursing logo and have sold them all to friends, family, and other nursing students.

“We’re going to be ordering more next week,” said nursing student Emily Canney.

The group’s largest fund-raising event is a silent auction and spaghetti dinner planned for 6 p.m. April 13 at the Root Cellar on Washington Avenue in Portland. Admission to the auction and dinner will be $10 for adults and $5 for children.

“We’re also doing a plant sale,” Boehm said. “There’s no date for it yet, but it will be a spring plant sale at Partners for World Health’s warehouse in Scarborough across from Moody’s Collision Center.”

Boehm said a plant sale she helped with last year for Partners for World Health was well attended.

The nursing club has also been inquiring about holding fundraisers at local restaurants, in hopes that establishments will agree to donate a percentage of proceeds to the cause.

The club fills out an application and restaurants can agree to donate a certain percentage of a day’s sales to the club and their trip to Peru.

“Ideally we would like to raise $1,000 per person,” said Lee, who added that students would be responsible for making up any gap in money for expenses.

“We are going to try and raise as much money as we can, though,” Lee said.

Donations for the SMCC nursing club’s humanitarian trip may be mailed to Sally Powers, C/O SMCC Nursing Department, 2 Fort Road, South Portland, ME 04106. For more information on the club’s fund-raising events e-mail SMCCnursing@gmail.com.

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