In a world where so many people have too many needs, it’s well worth celebrating the individuals and organizations that work to help others without expectation of personal reward. A great example is DMU’s upcoming health service trip to Honduras: During spring break, 31 students from five University programs and 10 clinicians, including faculty, alumni and central Iowa providers, will provide medical services and education to people in remote areas of the Central American republic. The trip is a partnership with Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization.
The heroes in this effort are not limited to the traveling group, however. They include Alayna Feilmeier and her fellow third-graders at Northeast Elementary School in Ankeny, IA. Alayna had told her classmates about the experiences her mother, Mindi Feilmeier, D.P.M., FACFAS, an assistant professor in DMU’s College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, had during the University’s 2013 Honduras trip. Touched by Alayna’s descriptions of the children in an orphanage that Dr. Feilmeier had encountered while there, the class decided to raise money to purchase toys for this year’s group to take along. Students drew pictures that their teacher auctioned off online to parents.
These little kids went big: They raised more than $300 and filled two large tubs with books, stuffed animals, dolls and more.
“I am so proud of my daughter and her class. They are amazing kids,” Dr. Feilmeier says.
Dan Cole, an osteopathic medical student and one of this year’s Honduras trip leaders, agrees. “It’s great that Alayna and her classmates wanted to help out the children in Honduras,” he says. The kids’ wonderful act of kindness could have a feel-good ripple effect: Cole hopes to arrange for some of the participating DMU students to visit Alayna’s class and share their experiences after they return.
Often big life lessons are taught by the youngest among us. Kudos to Alayna and her classmates for so generously connecting with kids 1,887 miles away!