By Lauren McDonald firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured are, from left, Bianca Morales, Shelby Johns, Terissa Ramos and Jacob McKnight. The senior nursing students at the College of Coastal Georgia are collecting clothing and hygiene products to donate to local middle schools. (Lauren McDonald/The Brunswick News)
Nurses in local schools too often see students in need of new clothing or hygiene products not available at home.
The nurses do what they can to meet these students' needs and will sometimes go out and purchase with their own money new clothes and other items for their students.
A group of nursing students at College of Coastal Georgia noticed this ongoing need while completing pediatric rotations in local schools. They've decided to help.
The college students have organized a donation drive that will benefit local middle schools. With the support of local churches, the students have set up locations around the community where donations of clothes and hygiene products can be dropped off.
"We're going to pick them up later," said Jacob McKnight, a senior nursing student at CCGA. "And at this point, I think we're going got take them to the school nurse. And any extra clothes that don't fall into middle school (size range), we're going to take to the school board."
The students will also set up a tent in Jekyll Square at First Friday in downtown Brunswick on March 6, and they'll be accepting donations from 5 to 8 p.m.
All other donations will be collected by March 16.
The college students were assigned a service learning project in their community health class this semester. The project required the students to highlight a health concern that impacts the community and to then find a solution to the community-wide concern.
Many in the class had seen firsthand the struggle school nurses face in trying to ensure all students have the clothing they need.
McKnight said a nurse told him that students sometimes come to school wearing clothing that is worn out or that isn't fit for the weather. Teachers and nurses often buy clothes for students in need, he said.
Others in the nursing student group had seen the same issue.
"I was at one of my pediatric rotations ... and the nurse actually had to buy clothes for the student because he didn't have anything, and she didn't have anything there," said Terissa Ramos, a senior nursing student at CCGA. "And she said she does that all the time — spends money on buying the children clothes."
The college students will graduate this May, but they're hoping the project will raise awareness about this community need. Hopefully, they said, these kinds of donations will continue.
The group will also offer education to the middle school students on the importance of being healthy.
"We're just trying to kind of jumpstart their health education and give them a little bit of guidance into what the good things are to do," said Bianca Morales, a senior nursing student at CCGA. "We thought that providing the clothes for the school would be impactful for kids' health. Giving them a coat during the winter time, those are things that affect children's attendance."
Community members are encouraged to drop donations off by March 16. Drop-off locations include Abundant Life Fellowship, North Brunswick Christian Church, Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Become Church and the CCGA Miriam & Hugh Nunnally Health Science Building, located on the Brunswick campus.
Originally published in The Brunswick News. Republished with permission from The Brunswick News.