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Algonquin students to Guatemala

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

A team of Algonquin College nursing students are hoping to head to Guatemala to spend a week in May working in a mobile clinic in a humanitarian effort to help people access health care. The students are fundraising to help pay for their travel expenses. In the photo are, starting from left, Jason Luong, Erica Henderson, Morgan Findlay, Janelle Lavadia, Lauren Braun and Spencer Hayward.

A team of Algonquin College nursing students are hoping to head to Guatemala to spend a week in May working in a mobile clinic in a humanitarian effort to help people access health care. The students are fundraising to help pay for their travel expenses. In the photo are, starting from left, Jason Luong, Erica Henderson, Morgan Findlay, Janelle Lavadia, Lauren Braun and Spencer Hayward.

Six members of the Algonquin College nursing program are going on a humanitarian trip to Guatemala, and need your help.

The nurses, members of a collaborative program with the University of Ottawa, will be participating in a week-long effort to help bring health care to the impoverished areas around the city of Anitgua, and are fundraising to help pay their travel expenses, which runs more than $2,000 apiece.

Jason Luong, speaking on behalf of the group, said originally there were more than a dozen planning to head out, but concerns over the spread of the Zika virus in the region led many to drop out as a precaution. Still, the remaining half dozen are willing to carry on.

Working through the International Volunteer Headquarters, the agency which coordinates such trips, the group will depart May 21 and spend a week in Anitgua, staying with host families. The nurses will be commuting out into the rural areas working out of mobile clinics. The students will be working directly with doctors and nurses, providing checkups and basic medical care.

“A lot of people can't come into the city to access health care, so we go to them,” he said. After their week of clinical work, the students will be spending another week in the country, taking the time to get to know it better.

Luong said to prepare they have been brushing up on their Spanish, taking crash courses as well as learning on their own. He said while Algonquin nursing students did this last year – two members of the group were among those who went down in 2015, and are acting as mentors for the rest – this is the first time for the rest, including himself.

“Most of us haven't done this kind of work before, or been in that part of the world, so we're pretty excited about this,” Luong said.

The main challenge now is raising the money necessary to cover each participants' living expenses. The group has held a fundraiser on campus already, and plans a Casino Night at the college Feb. 25 starting at 7 p.m.

“We have been canvassing a lot for the Casino Night, and have a lot of great prizes which have been donated to us,” Luong said.

A Teddy Bear Clinic is also being planned for sometime during the March Break at the Pembroke Mall, but details are still being worked out.

A foundation has also been set up for those who wish to donate online, or one can do it directly through the Algonquin College Foundation, with donations of $20 or more eligible for a tax-deductible receipt.

You can donate online at: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-algonquin-college-foundation/. Click the “Donate Now” icon on the top right corner of the page. Please choose “Project Guatemala” from the drop down menu. Alternatively, you can make your donation by calling Marie Mask at the Pembroke Campus at 613-735-4700 Extension 2842.

Further information on the Casino Night Fundraiser can be found on the Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/events/892555000860327/

The event is for students and staff from the college, but they may bring guests.

Anyone with questions about the humanitarian trip, or how to help out can contact Jason Luong through his campus email luon0023@algonquinlive.com.

stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca


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