Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Student organization travels to Dominican to bring health consciousness

FGCU has several student organizations that offer different purposes and missions for students who want to be involved, experience personal growth, develop leadership and help the community while earning service learning hours.Community Health Aid Development is a club that focuses on educating and helping local and foreign communities where health-based education and guidance is needed.Lis Chimaras, president of the club, who started the organization last fall and currently has 15 dedicated members who enjoy devoting their time to help less fortunate populations.

CHAD went on their first mission trip to the Dominican Republic this past summer.We mainly started in the Dominican Republic because of the current need there is for health awareness, Chimaras said.The main goal of the trip is to provide items to communities with items that they may not have access to as well as to educate children.On the past trip, students personally worked with children in schools by teaching them basic health sanitation practices and also launched a campaign on STD/HIV awareness.I love the small group atmosphere, because of last year's trip to Dominican Republic we all became a family in reach of a common goal. It is a great feeling to know you caused an impact in those children's lives,Spencer Klepper, a sophomore majoring in biology, said about his experience.

Chimaras says that they are working on another mission trip to the Dominican Republic for health awareness. The theme for the coming project, La Salud Cotidianaevery day health will focus on raising awareness of sanitation, nutrition and sexual health.The club gets financial support for the trips through fundraisers, contributions, donations and FGCU's Student Government.SG is the main reason why this trip was even financially possible in the first place, Chimaras said.I like the fact that we members of CHAD create our own lesson plans for the mission trip; we decide what is important to teach the children as well as our teaching methods, said Brad Sifrig, treasurer of the club.

We are free to educate them on what we believe it is necessary for them to know, in a relaxed and fun environment, Sifrig said.For the future, Chimaras says that CHAD's main goal is to be an organization established enough to have health awareness outreach trips in various parts of the world.CHAD is a great option for those passionate about doing good actions.Any FGCU students and staff member are welcome to attend the club's meetings and be a part of the organization.

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