Thursday, March 26, 2015

UNC Tarheel's Health Week

Our second week hosting Spring Break volunteers we had groups from the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The volunteers participated in two very exciting projects: building and renovating the existing green roof on top of the Manna Library center and a Health Week full of many different activities. Kate and I were leaders for the UNC-Chapel Hill group who explored the health of Ecuador through a variety of events.  

The UNC-Chapel Hill group fundraised an *incredible* amount of money that will first and foremost go towards revamping our Preventative Health Center and totally recreating this community program. (Thanks volunteers!!!!)  By equipping the new health room with the necessary resources, such as a scale, a desk, new blood pressure cuffs, and organized health books, we can now invite doctors and health professionals to come and put on events to serve our community and address current health needs. And thanks to the strapping, young UNC-Chapel Hill men, and their patience, we now have beautifully built desk! 

One of the main events was a Health Fair geared towards kids at the Manna Library. The volunteers constructed three stations: a hand-washing and teeth-brushing station, a nutrition station where they prepared a healthy salad, and an exercise station. Each child had to rotate through all three stations to receive a goody bag filled with toothbrushes, floss and other fun prizes! 

The volunteers also helped the Manna reestablish an old relationship with a local school and children's home for at-risk youth by giving health talks and demonstrations to several classes on the importance of having a balanced diet and overall good nutritional habits.  

To end the week they hosted a Sport's Day on the field across from the Manna center to prompt kids to get off the computers and get active! And the volunteers also  painted a beautiful nutritional mural at the local elementary school where the PDs teach nutrition classes. 

After a tiring but wonderful and fun week I was so impressed with what we had accomplished. It's a really cool experience as a PD to get to work with a group of passionate college students who want to spend their Spring Break serving the community and learning about a new culture (& even cooler when they're from your alma mater!). All of us here in Ecuador are so grateful for the hard work of both UNC-Chapel & UGA and the lasting changes and renovations made possible by their week of service! 

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