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SXU School of Nursing and Health Sciences brings health care to Honduras in service trip


Saint Xavier University (SXU) is glad to have students who are so devoted to helping others.On May 12, six SXU School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SONHS) students and their director embarked on a summer service trip to Honduras to bring pediatric healthcare services to underserved populations.

The trip will last fourteen days and will allow students to experience Honduran culture while providing care for those who need it most. The group will be working with Hand in Hand Ministries, which provides services like housing, education and health care to people afflicted by poverty. This trip was made possible through SXU's connection to Charles Newman, CEO of Newman Architecture.

Newman was recently awarded the Shield of Saint Xavier Award (the University's highest honor) for his own dedication to social justice and serving others through his organization, Schools for the Children of the World (SCW). The president and co-founder of the organization, Newman has been a part of 120 school projects in 11 countries around the world, in addition to several buildings on the SXU campus such as McDonough Chapel, Orland Park campus, Visual Arts Center and O'Grady Center.

"We have been helping communities plan, design and build high quality schools in developing countries," said Newman. "The experience of personally helping people who have never seen a health care provider, or teachers who have never heard about project based or collaborative teaching, can provide important lessons for students in health care, education or business."

A strong proponent of service, Newman hopes that SONHS students understand the magnitude of the opportunity they have been presented. Students attending this trip have the chance to connect with and serve new people, while growing their own skills and knowledge base. They will be exposed to a new culture and a way of life that has the potential to change the way students view healthcare and changes that need to be made to the system.

"It is my hope that this experience will stay with these students for a long time and will help them be better health care providers because of the experience," said Newman.

This service trip is also a great chance for SONHS students to look beyond the realm of the environment they live in and focus on the way other people live and the challenges they might endure in day-to-day life.

"We're going to a very underserved area," offered FNP student Kristin Butkus. "There is one clinic with one doctor and a couple nurses; they're only seeing really sick adults, so pediatric patients are not seeing the attention they need. We're going to be there to give pediatrics all the services they need," said Butkus.

The group is excited to partner with SCW on this project. They know that the work that lies ahead of them will be challenging, but also worthwhile because they will be helping those in need.

"Schools for the Children of the World is the group that has been going around to Honduras and other locations around the world and building and refurbishing schools, so they have a well-established relationship with Honduras and the work they've been doing there," said FNP program director Laura Tucco.

By partnering with this incredible organization, the SONHS volunteers will undoubtedly be prosperous on their journey to Honduras. The SXU community wishes them luck and much success in the coming days.

For more information on Schools for the Children of the World, visit the SCW website.