AWOL: Children and Poverty

AWOL: Children and Poverty

AWOL: Children and Poverty
Back: Alexis Wiltgen, Tesia Posekany, Dr. Matt Hanson, Andrew Zinn, Zach Ahrens. Front: Brady Stier, Kelsey Davidson, Sloane Morrow, Sharon Feld, Gwendolyn Walton, Corey Hanula, Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson.

BVU students traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and volunteered in nearby Copse, where they assisted with many day-to-day activities at the West Haven Children’s Home, an orphanage for disabled children. In addition to helping feed, bathe and get the children ready for the day, the students helped plan Sports Day, an event similar to the Special Olympics.

Co-advisors for the trip were Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, director of civic engagement at BVU and Dr. Matt Hanson, assistant professor of exercise science.

“Students grow during the week, and they come back inspired to change something locally,” said Farmer-Hanson. “It shows students that there are people all over the world, including in Storm Lake, who we can serve, learn from and work with to solve some of the most crucial social problems.”

“I spent time with a girl who was physically disabled and unable to speak, but on Sports Day, she smiled and giggled the whole time,” said Sharon Feld, a senior athletic training and exercise science major from Bondurant and student site leader for the trip. “Watching our actions bring a little girl so much happiness really left a lasting impression. These experiences create a sense of caring and compassion in people and a desire to do more.”

Sloane Morrow, a sophomore elementary education major from Fort Dodge and also a student site leader, said, “Jamaica has been one of the most eye-opening, life-changing and beautiful opportunities I have ever had.”

Other students who participated in the Children and Poverty AWOL trip were Alexis Wiltgen, a senior elementary education major from Le Mars; Andrew Zinn, a senior elementary education major from Spencer; Brady Stier, a senior exercise science major from Austin, Minn.; Corey Hannula, a senior exercise science and athletic training major from Maplewood, Minn.; Gwendolyn Walton, a senior psychology major from Granger; Kelsey Davidson, a senior music and elementary education major from Schaller; Tesia Posekany, a senior biology major from Woodburn; and Zachary Ahrens, a senior exercise science and biology major from Carroll.