For the second consecutive year, the seventh grade students of Holy Cross School, Rumson, are extending a helping hand to assure health care to their disadvantaged peers in other parts of the world.[[In-content Ad]]
The Rumson grammar school is partnering with the Catholic Medical Mission Board to sponsor a volunteer medical worker in Peru who will supply much-needed treatment and supplies to that nation’s poor and isolated citizens.
Holy Cross’ relationship with CMMB, a New York-based Catholic charity focused exclusively on global healthcare, began in 2009 with an $1,800 donation. The monies sponsored an American volunteer nurse, Amanda Aiello, to work with the poor of Kenya for a year.
Seventh-grade teacher Maryjane Gallo urged her students to “adopt” the nurse as one of their Confirmation preparation service projects and built her social studies unit around the African nation which borders the Indian Ocean. Aiello mentored a Kenyan nurse at a clinic working to prevent the transmission of AIDS from mothers to their newborns during the birth process.
During the 2009-2010 school year, the students communicated with both nurses via telephone and learned of the socio-economic and health challenges the country faced.
This fall, Aiello visited the class, regaling her now eighth-grade longdistance friends with stories of her year abroad and stating that medical service was her vocation and answer to God’s call. Holy Cross pastoral assistant, Eugenia Kelly recalled, “It was amazing when you see [the students] realize that a God-given ‘vocation’ could be something other than being a nun or priest. It makes it very real.”
This school year’s two seventh grade classes are sponsoring a physical therapist in CMMB’s crop of 17 new volunteers. Amber Walker, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, is stationed at a clinic in the small coastal town of Trujillo, Peru located 500 miles north of Lima. The CMMB volunteer corresponds with the Holy Cross students via her blog (http://ptinperu.blogspot. com), wherein she describes the culture, food, and strong faith of the residents of the village nearly 3,700 miles away from their central New Jersey counterparts. In addition to Internet contact, the students plan to send her letters during the holidays.
Gallo is pleased with the relationship between the physical therapist and her students. “Ms. Walker is not only an exceptionally talented young adult, but her thirst to serve others and her expressions of spirituality are refreshing,” the Holy Cross educator told The Monitor. “She models well for my students.”
Spanish teacher Carol Furlong has teamed with Gallo on multi-subject academic units on the problems and challenges Peruvians face, lending the project a socio-economic and anthropological dimension.
Kelly reported the 34 children have been surprised at what they learned about the South American nation. “This is Rumson, New Jersey,” Kelly stated. “They have no idea what it’s like to go outside and see the street is a dirt road. It really opens their eyes.”