Rotary Supports McKendreans' Service Learning in Jamaica

A $300 donation by the Mascoutah Rotary Club will enable McKendree University students and professors to take medical supplies to those in need during a trip to Jamaica, March 8-17.

The “alternative spring break” is part of a Cross-Cultural Practicum, a class in which students analyze global issues and the impact of globalization on social inequality. The course includes an international service-learning experience. Each year McKendree students and professors typically work at a home for the destitute in Morant Bay, on the island’s southeastern coast.

Dr. David Bowden, a local chiropractor who teaches a biology class at the university, learned of the residents’ need for medical supplies from one of his students. Bowden is vice-president and president-elect of the Mascoutah chapter of Rotary International, a service organization with over 35,000 clubs worldwide.

“Our motto is ‘Service Above Self’,” he said. “The Mascoutah Rotary Club takes pride in providing our community with man-hour and financial contributions. We chose to make a financial contribution to this cause because it helps a fellow service group promote a positive impact in a high needs area. Sponsoring this cause is a natural extension of our spirit of service and is our club’s way of honoring the ‘International’ aspect of our wonderful organization. We wish this group safe travels, and we look forward to hearing about their experiences!”

A group from McKendree gave a presentation about service learning in Jamaica at the Feb. 23 Rotary meeting. Bowden presented a check for $300 to purchase medical supplies, on behalf of the Mascoutah Rotarians.

Reading glasses, walkers and canes seem to be the items most needed, said Dr. Brenda Boudreau, an English professor who team-teaches the Cross-Cultural Practicum with Dr. Darryn Diuguid, associate professor of education. “We also try to collect games, puzzles, large print books and slippers for these residents, all of whom are in this public facility because they are destitute and do not have family members who can take care of them,” she said. “Some are elderly but there are also some young residents who ended up in wheelchairs after an accident. These are the real heartbreakers because they are intelligent and can read, use computers and the like, but there isn’t much there in the facility for them.”

Throughout their 10-day stay, 11 students and their professors will help several service organizations at various sites in addition to the nursing home. They will build a family a house from the foundation up, do small construction projects at a school, and donate books, backpacks and educational materials collected in advance. Their local coordinator, Audley Harrison, is a former teacher who has welcomed many McKendreans to Jamaica on spring break service trips for nearly 15 years.


 Dr. David Bowden (right) of the Mascoutah Rotary Club presents a $300 check to Dr. Darryn Diuguid, associate professor of education; Baily Craig, a sophomore sociology/criminal justice major from Aurora, Neb.; James Stanley, a junior economics major from Dallas, Texas; and Dr. Brenda Boudreau, professor of English, of McKendree University.