March 6, 2013
Saint Francis sent its largest ever Hugs United service group abroad this week during the University’s spring break. The teams are providing medical assistance, rehabilitation, teaching, and business consulting to poor and impoverished areas throughout the Caribbean and Central America. A combined total of 81 faculty and students are volunteering. Of all the groups, the largest is comprised of 62 people and is in the Dominican Republic.
Medical team- A 21 person medical team is in Jaibon, Jamaica, providing well and sick visits to children and families, most of who have not received health care in 15 months. There are not any clinic facilities in Jaibon, so the group set up a clinic at a school. While there, the team is providing medical attention to an entire school of children from the School for Children who are Deaf. Some Saint Francis American Sign Language (ASL) students are there to interpret.
Rehabilitation team- In the rural towns of Monte Cristi and Mao, in the Dominican Republic, a 34 person rehab team comprised of physical therapists, occupational therapists, students, and interpreters is currently staffing two rehab clinics. They are giving much needed orthopedic, shoulder, knee, and hip rehabilitation to the towns’ residents. Five others on the rehab clinic team are in Jaibon, Jamaica, where people do not have access to rehabilitation services. Their mission this week is to start a new physical therapy clinic there.
Education teams- Two education teams are teaching English to residents. One team is working in the public schools in the Dominican Republic, training students to speak English so they can eventually apply for higher paying jobs in the tourism industry.
The other education team is teaching in rural schools in Nicaragua. Those ten people are giving English lessons to the traditionally Spanish speaking students.
Business consulting team- This is the first year for this Hugs mission. The director of our Small Business development Center is overseeing three business students as they help individuals in Maggotty, Jamaica, with economic development. They are providing business assistance and microloans to interested people in the town.
In addition to these service trips, students are partaking in the annual excursion to London, Great Britain, as part of the three-credit “The Role of Great Britain in the European Union” business course. Eleven students are touring London Bloomberg Business, the London Financial District, the Bank of England, Windsor Castle and the Fulham Futbol Club. They are also attending a lecture about the European Union at the University of London and about the British Economy at the Bank of England.
In the spirit of the university’s patron, St. Francis, students and faculty abroad are developing themselves and the world by sharing their talents and skills.