Using a bottle and can drive that aims to capitalize on the recent Super Bowl, the George Fox University nursing department is raising money for its bi-annual trip to Kenya. The two-week trip allows students to visit impoverished or undereducated communities in Kenya and provide medical supplies along with other aid.
Ashley Imes, a senior at GFU, has been traveling to Kenya every summer since she was a senior in high school. The nursing department goes every June and December.
"Since I started going with them, there have been difficulties with fundraising for the projects and medical supplies that we need when we go," Imes said. "Last year, I decided to do a bottle and can drive and it was really successful, so we decided to do it again."
The group is accepting bottles and can drop-offs throughout the week and can make pickups on Sunday. Cans must not be crushed and labels need to remain on the bottles in order for the students to take them. Students will take the bottles and cans to a bottle drop for redemption.
The connection between GFU and the Friends Church in Kenya has lasted for nearly 20 years, according to Imes. The need for health education in rural areas of Kenya – particularly the western part of the country – was identified and seen as an opportunity for nursing students to utilize their skills.
"There is so much education that needs to be done," she said. "We can give the people medical supplies all day long, but education is really what they will take away from all this. That is why it is so important we go and keep this tradition going."
The week after the Super Bowl seemed like the perfect time to conduct this fundraiser, Imes said, as many people will be hosting parties for the game and have empty cans and bottles that they would otherwise discard.
This fundraiser is a way for the community to give back and fund a trip that is essential for the lives of people in rural Kenya, as well as the professional experiences of the students planning to make the trip, she said.
"We go to a variety of different locations as well as local schools in Kenya to provide health education and do a basic health assessment," Imes said. "It gives them information to stay healthier and provides local contacts in case of a medical emergency. It's a great experience that helps a lot of people."
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