6:25 PM EDT, April 14, 2013
A class of Towson University nursing students at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown is participating in a walk equal to the distance across the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The community health fundraiser, promoted by the world relief advocate group Adventist Development and Relief Agency aims to help provide health care to children of this region. The DRC has been labeled “Africa’s world war” because millions of lives have been lost due to disease and malnutrition.
As instructor of the child’s health class, Mindy Haluska wanted to find a community health project for her students to embrace. She opted for the walk because it is “an effective way to get students involved, introduce them to international health issues and show them how they can help,” she said.
Student Kat Robbins said she appreciates the event.
“This is a way to impact health care overseas,” she said.
Each student was provided with a pedometer. Each day they record how many steps they’ve taken and compute how many miles they have walked. They began the program recently and were nearly halfway to meeting their goal of 1,439 miles — the distance across the DRC.
Haluska said $15 would provide health care for one child’s lifetime.
The students’ responsibility is to secure three sponsors. Sponsors have the choice of giving a single donation or sponsor each mile the student walks.
Nursing student Bryce Smetzer said he takes the stairs more.
On May 13, a representative from the relief agency will come to USMH to speak. The students will be able to present the funds they raised.
USMH is a regional higher-education center offering 23 programs from six institutions within the University System of Maryland. The multiuniversity campus is in downtown Hagerstown. Partner institutions include Coppin State University, Frostburg State University, Salisbury University, Towson University, University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Maryland University College.