Nursing Students Go To Bat For Homeless Steve Libowitz --------------------- Editor Camden Yards. It was a night when the heat felt like a sledgehammer on your head. It was a night when nurses tended to customers, not patients. It was a night for the homeless. On July 14, in a concession stand directly behind home plate at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, five nursing students were joined by a half-dozen of their teachers, friends and families to sling soda and beer and popcorn and nachos, raising money for Brown's Shelter for the homeless. The fundraising effort, the second of two at the ballpark, was an extension of the students' coursework for their class Community Health Nursing, a final requirement for their nursing degree. As part of the course, students are required to identify a segment of the population in need of medical attention, develop a community-based clinical care program for that population and execute the plan during the semester. The five students in the one-year accelerated nursing program chose the homeless shelter at Brown's Memorial Baptist Church on Park Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. The shelter--one of the few that cares for families as well as individuals--has been a volunteer project of the school's student government for the past year. But this cohort of students came twice a week for four hours a night, providing blood pressure screenings for a population rife with undiagnosed hypertension. They taught health management techniques. And they offered nutrition and other tips. But it was not hard to see that the shelter needed more than information. It needed supplies, basic things like soap and linens and toothpaste and clean towels. And food. Providing those things required more than time. It demanded money. So the class decided to raise some. "We were trying to figure out an activity that would get us the most money for our effort," says Elizabeth Gilger, one of the students in the course. "We considered a bake sale and a bowl-a-thon. Someone in our group heard that Camden Yards and the ARA food service there have a program for nonprofit groups, and that sounded fun. And it was." "It went great, but it was so hot and much more work than I thought," says Rosemarie Wood, the course's clinical instructor and her students' employee for the night. "We had to do everything, from baking pretzels to mopping up." By midnight, as they slipped out into a slightly cooled-off night, they had raised about $700, as they had during their June fundraiser at the park. The proceeds--combined with a $500 unrestricted grant from the May Company Foundation, which the class also secured for the shelter--will be presented to the church in the coming weeks. And the School of Nursing's assistance to the shelter will continue. The Student Government Association maintains a collection box for clothes and canned goods on the third floor of the 1830 Building, 1830 N. Monument Street, and welcomes all contributions.
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