By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell Brigade in Nicaragua, a service learning organization at Bucknell University, has won second place in the 2012-13 True Hero service project competition. The $2,000 monetary prize will go towards the Brigade's $40,000 yearly fundraising goal.
Jillian Korn, a sophomore biology student who travelled to Nicaragua in January 2013, entered the Brigade into the True Hero competition, saying, "Seeing Nicaraguans, the JHC staff, and Bucknellians working together to make a difference made me appreciate the power of a community for the first time."
"Before leaving Nicaragua, I promised myself that I would stay involved in the efforts of the Brigade once I returned to Bucknell's campus. The True Hero competition was a great opportunity for this, and enabled me and so many wonderful members of the Brigade community to continue to show our support," said Korn.
The funds that the Brigade receives through monetary donations and fundraising events help to sustain a free medical clinic in Nueva Vida, Nicaragua. The Brigade sends two groups of students to Nicaragua a year.
In May 2014, a group of alumni, family and friends of the Brigade will be traveling to Nicaragua to learn about the history of Nicaragua and the challenges that the Nicaraguan people face today. They will volunteer in the health clinic and with other service projects.
The Brigade is hosted by Jubilee House Community (JHC), a non-governmental agency located outside of Nicaragua's capital city, Managua.
Jenna Weaver, a Bucknell Brigade intern who traveled to Nicaragua in January 2012, said, "On behalf of this service-learning project, I'd like to thank everyone who supported the Bucknell Brigade in the True Hero Competition and who continues to support our fundraising and medical supply donation efforts."
A junior majoring in management who has been involved with the Brigade for three years, Weaver said, "The support we receive enables the health clinic that the Brigade has supported over the past 14 years to provide much needed health care to poverty- stricken residents of Nueva Vida. I saw firsthand the positive impact that the clinic has on the health of individuals who do not have access to other medical care and it is through the support of students, friends, family and community members that we are able to provide funds to keep the clinic running."
True Hero is a public charity rewarding community service, giving cash awards to high school, college and qualified non-profit community youth organizations that sponsor service trips and volunteer activities for students. These cash awards enable schools to continue their service-learning programs, offering a life changing experience to talented students and supporting chosen community projects. To find out more information about True Hero and to vote for the Bucknell Brigade in the True Hero competition for the upcoming year, visit www.truehero.org/projects/index.cfm?id=840 .