UND volunteers spend Spring Break in Guatemala learning about health care in the face of poverty


Amy Halvorson

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UND volunteers spend Spring Break in Guatemala learning about health care in the face of poverty

Seventeen University of North Dakota faculty and students from the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines and Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Center recently traveled thousands of miles to provide nursing care and assistance to the people of Guatemala through the GODS’S CHILD Project (GCP).

The service trip took place during UND’s Spring Break.

The UND team worked at GCP’s Dreamer Center School, Casa Jackson Malnutrition Center, Santa Madre Homeless Shelter, area hospitals and performed home visits with GCP’s social work department.

Joni Tweeten, a UND Nursing clinical instructor and a GCP veteran, led the volunteers on the trip and hopes to establish a course at UND which includes a GCP service trip. The UND group is one of the many volunteers who have joined GCP’s Service Team Experience to help change the face of poverty.

Team members stayed with Guatemalan host families during their trip so they may be completely immersed in the culture.

“I feel humbled to see what GCP provides to the Guatemalan people and children,” said one of the volunteers. “By learning about the little resources these organization have to help these individuals has taught me to never give up on trying to help someone.”

The following is a list of the participants from UND:

Tweeten, a native of Turtle Lake, N.D.; Mariah DeGusseme, San Diego; Justine Erickson, Thief River Falls, Minn.; Claire Fenske, Grand Forks; Karen Flaig, Willmar, Minn.; Katie Johnson, Mohall, N.D.; Wendy Miller, Willmar; Emina Mujcic, Fargo; Sadie Rivard, Fargo; Carrie Sandstrom, Bismarck; Samantha Schultz, Rosemount, Minn.; Hannah Stende, Fargo; Morgan Swalve, Rosemount; Tracy Enger, Hatton, N.D.; Lindsey Becker, Devils Lake, Minn.; Melanie Sopp, Harwood, N.D.; and Stacie Olson, Grand Forks.

About GCP:

GCP provides help with disaster relief, medical care, dental, occupational therapy, social work and education. The most common project is the home-building program that provides safe and dignified homes to needy families. Thousands of families’ lives have been changed by the generosity of GCP’s volunteers.

The GCP is a Bismarck, N.D., and Minneapolis, Minn., based nonprofit, whose mission is to break the chains of poverty through education and formation. While the majority of the charity’s work has been based in Guatemala, the organization also serves in El Salvador, India, Malawi and in the United States.

GCP was founded by Patrick Atkinson. He also founded the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons (ITEMP) that supports education and awareness of victims of human trafficking.

Amy Halvorson University & Public Affairs student writer

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