North Central College - Naperville, IL

Students who served in Haiti raise funds for earthquake relief

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Contact: Nancy Dunker, Associate Director of Public Relations, 630-637-5306

Jan. 19, 2009--A team of seven North Central College students who traveled to Haiti in December 2009 to work at an orphanage, school and medical center are raising funds to support relief efforts after the Jan. 12 earthquake. Donations will support Mission of Hope's medical clinic Hospital of Hope, which is located north of Port-au-Prince and is functioning, but overwhelmed with need.

Students raised nearly $2,000 during the first weekend of the campus drive. They are collecting donations online (, at most athletic and fine arts events, and distributing collection boxes throughout the campus.

Students had traveled to Haiti as part of North Central College's December term, when students take a break from regular classes and have opportunities to take short-term courses abroad or service trips to needy areas of the world. For the second year, the College's Office of Ministry and Service planned a trip to Haiti to work with Mission of Hope, serving the orphans, school children and staff members in this impoverished country. In the 12 years since its formation, Mission of Hope has grown to include an orphanage, a K-12 school, a church and hospital, and has plans to expand. In light of this week's earthquake, NBC's "Nightly News" featured the ongoing work at Mission of Hope.

"I saw the poverty and hunger with my own eyes and it's is hard to think about such destruction on top of everything these people have already faced," says sophomore Jessi VanderBerg. "The devastation and feelings are much more powerful when you've been there and met the people."

As soon as the students heard about the earthquake, they contacted Mission of Hope to learn its status and ways to help. The greatest need was money for medicine and supplies at the medical clinic.

The students who traveled to Haiti included freshmen Erin Burneson of Williamsville, Ill., and Natalie Cummins (photo, right) of Bloomington, Ill.; sophomore Jessica VanderBerg of Davenport, Iowa; junior Taylar Proctor of Cerro Gordo, Ill.; and seniors Jonathan Rainville of Westerville, Ohio, Brendan Chaves of Naperville, and Nicholas Sander of Sugar Grove. Faculty member Jamie Walden-Mather, lecturer of human, thought and behavior, accompanied the group.

Founded in 1861, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. Located in Naperville, Illinois, North Central College is just 28 minutes from Chicago's Loop. With more than 2,798 undergraduate and graduate students, the College is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes.