Nursing students rock to benefit Belize

Mark Robinson
Staff Writer

Nursing Students Without Borders hosted the charity concert “Rock for Belize” at Shenanigans Pub and Eatery on Nov. 11. The show was meant to aid NSWB’s fundraising efforts for their planned trip to Belize this summer.

According to their Facebook page, the VCU student-run organization works towards “empowering individuals to create a positive impact in their local and global community.” The original chapter started in 2000, but went on a hiatus until 2008. Since its reactivation, NSWB has made strides in carrying out their mission statement.

The organization enlisted Johnny Pog and the Slammers, a Richmond-based classic rock cover band, to attract possible donors for their future volunteering exploits. The group’s comical banter and youthful energy entertained the crowd and even won over some of the older patrons that attended the event.

Though labeled a classic rock cover band, Johnny Pog and the Slammers’ versatility was on display with their interpretation of a funk classic, “Brick House” by The Commodores. Four of the five members of the group contribute to the vocals in each song they perform, which is as unusual as it was impressive.

Soul legends Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were honored with covers of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “Let’s Get It On.”  Both renditions lured dancers onto the floor, young and old alike.

Perhaps the high point of the show was the fast paced R.E.M. tune, “End of The World,” which instantly motivated the 20-somethings in the room to sing along in a mass chorus with the college rock classic.

Though she did sing along, NSWB’s President Jenn Peyton’s participation can be considered ironic, given the goals she has set for herself. “Honestly, I want to save the world,” she said. Ambitious to say the least, Peyton has been a member of NSWB since its chapter was reestablished in 2008.

Peyton, who will be graduating in the spring, is a double major in nursing and psychology. She took over the presidency of Nursing Students Without Borders in Oct. 2009; 13 months later, the organization’s membership has increased dramatically to over 85 members.

This past January, Peyton and seven other members of the NSWB’s chapter at VCU made a week-long trip to Belize to assist at the Good Shepherd Clinic in the San Jose Succotz, Cayo District. The VCU students worked with the staff of the clinic to treat patients and provide aid to villagers. It was the second trip the organization made to Belize, and they hope to make a third.

“It was beyond amazing,” Peyton said of the experience. “We all had freedom and independence to learn and interact with the patients.”

In addition to providing care at the clinics, the group performed health screenings at two schools in the Succotz area. The nurses performed height, weight, respiratory and heart rate checks; eye, ear, and dental exams and tested blood pressure of students that ranged from ages four to 17.

Though the organization has its sights set on international welfare, they don’t forget about the domestic responsibility mentioned in their mission statement.

“I think it’s important to remember that Richmond needs help, too,” Peyton said. NSWB mainly focuses on health promotion and education in the greater Richmond area.

In the future, NSWB hopes to raise enough money to make a similar trip to Peru and help the locals build and stock a functioning clinic to benefit the well-being of a village.

For more information about upcoming events sponsored by Nursing Students Without Borders at VCU, visit their Facebook group here.
For more information about Johnny Pog and The Slammers, visit their MySpace.

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