Close to 100 students from the Barrie, Orangeville, Orillia and Owen Sound campuses, along with a number of faculty, will travel to San Jose De Ocoa, Dominican Republic from April 24 to May 18 as part of a large volunteer undertaking in the underdeveloped region.
Students from a variety of programs will be represented, including Paramedic, Police Foundations, Practical Nursing and Bachelor of Social Work (Laurentian@Georgian). This will be a great experience for students who will use their skills to help those in need.
Three interprofessional subgroups of students and faculty will travel to the island at different intervals.
The students will run interprofessional health clinics in the community. They will be visiting the local hospital, nursing home and orphanage, teaching in schools and visiting a mental health and addictions centre, as well as a centre for abused women.
“We will work with the Dominican people to provide health services and community development,” says Sheila Wojcik, a nursing faculty member who leads the organization of the annual trip. “Our focus is on sustainable projects and empowering those in need to be able to provide for themselves.”
Students and faculty from the Orillia Campus in programs such as Bachelor of Arts – Law and Justice, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Human Services – Police Studies will also be making the trip.
This is the first year that an interprofessional group of this nature will be participating, led by University Partnership Centre co-ordinator in Orillia, Fred Fallis.
“This is going to be a real eye-opening experience for many students,” says Fred. “This is such an amazing opportunity – I’m so thrilled to be a part of this project.”
These students will visit the local court and corrections centre and work with the local police force. They will also help in the community health clinics and visit the same community centres and institutions.
“These trips are life-changing – we gain more from the Dominican people than what we give,” says Wojcik. “They connect, inspire and transform us.”
The trip is organized in conjunction with Rayjon Share Care, a registered not-for-profit charitable organization that hosts trips to developing countries to offer medical, educational and technical assistance and foster personal awareness and growth.
Faculty and students participating in the trip will collect items such as school supplies, sports equipment, vitamins (adult and prenatal) and Tylenol and/or Advil (must not be expired).
Monetary donations are also being accepted and will go to purchasing supplies in the Dominican, such as parasite medication.
Donations of $20 or more are eligible for a tax receipt.
If you would like to donate supplies or make a monetary donation, please contact Sheila Wojcik at ext. 5580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A separate trip to the Dominican will be taking place from April 27to May 6. Eighteen Georgian College nursing students (Barrie and Owen Sound campuses) will apply their health care skills first-hand and visit the region of Consuelo, Dominican Republic. Two community nurses along with three nursing faculty, Jane Barnes, Sylvia Vanderweg and Sue Vodarek will accompany the students and assist the community in need. In this region, many families are Haitian, comprised of men who work in bateys (sugar cane plantations).
Students and faculty will provide community health clinics in the bateys, as well as make visits to the local hospital, orphanage, and schools located in remote areas.
“Each year we are greeted with warmth and appreciation,” says Jane Barnes. “We try and arrange to visit the same area each year, as we have really developed a special relationship with this community – and the need is great.”
To donate supplies or make a monetary donation towards the Consuelo trip, please contact Jane Barnes at ext. 5532 or email@example.com. Supplies in need include: vitamins, Tylenol or Advil (bottles must not be expired), children’s shoes, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
All donations in the amount of $20 or more are eligible for a tax receipt. Donations will be accepted until April 12.