When senior Kylah Livingston approached nursing Professor Margaret Young about the prospect of venturing out of the country to provide healthcare and community service by the end of her final year at Castleton, Young told her she thought there was no chance. But despite her initial doubt, Young was pleasantly surprised when Livingston proved her wrong.
“When she came to me about the possibility of traveling abroad before her graduation, I told her there was almost no chance,” said Young smiling. “I put it in her hands and she took it and ran. She’s a very remarkable young lady.”
Livingston, who is already a registered nurse, originally was planning on doing a gap year to fulfill her hopes of traveling abroad to assist with basic medical care in needy countries. She recalls that one of her instructors and one of the librarians approached her, pressing her to study abroad.
Instead of organizing a trip solely to benefit her own experience, she decided to take up the grueling process of researching, planning and fundraising for a trip that multiple students in her department could benefit from.
After discussing the trip with professor Young and announcing the trip to other nursing students, Livingston found 12 other students interested in the trip.
“Eventually, I was approached by a fellow student who said there is a group out of Genesis Healthcare in Rutland that sends nurses to developing countries to provide medical services in need through a company called Global Brigades,” said Livingston. “It was a perfect fit.”
Through Global Brigades Livingston and her fellow students signed up for the next trip: a week long intensive journey to rural Honduras to provide a multitude of medical attention to the citizens.
Young says the goals of Global Brigades are much in line with those of the nursing program at Castleton.
“Their goal is really to develop sustainable health care, not just drop in care for a week and then leaving,” said Young. “Likewise, we want to instil in our students a sense of worldly responsibility and long term vision.”
Livingston said she is excited to have this opportunity, but that there have been challenges in planning and fundraising, as well as in some of the details of the trip.
Livingston and her fellow students must not only raise $1,500 per person for the trip, but additionally, everyone is expected to bring their own medical supplies to provide treatment.
Another struggle the nursing students are bound to face is the language barrier. They will be in a Spanish speaking country with no one versed in the language.
“The plus side is that we will have some translators when we are providing care,” Livingston said.
Senior Kim Siracuse, another student embarking on the trip to Honduras, said that she’s also excited about the trip but very nervous.
“I don’t know any Spanish-I literally just downloaded an app to learn the basics,” she said.
Other students on the trip are just as enthusiastic.
“I wanted to travel, but I didn’t want to just travel for fun. We are going to a place to provide basic healthcare,” said senior Josh Levandowski. “It’s a crazy thing that we are going to be teaching kids basics, like dental hygiene and promote safe practices-really, it’s rewarding and shows how much we really take for granted with our own health,” he said.
The students will be fundraising and collecting supplies for the trip until their departure in March. Anyone interested in donating should contact Livingston at Kylah.Livingston@castleton.edu.