On November 3, Anthony and I, with Katherine and Joseph in tow, returned to our stomping grounds of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. We were invited to present our partnership with Nothing But Nets to the students and faculty through our previous philosophy professor and dear friend, Julie McDonald, PhD, and also with great support from another previous professor, Paul Aspan, PhD, now the Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences.
We taught everyone about malaria and mosquito nets. We shared stories from our exciting journey with the Nothing But Nets team over the past three years, and I shared pictures of my recent net distribution in Uganda and personal accounts of how this tremendous campaign is saving lives through the use of mosquito nets.
It was so exciting to be back at St. Joe’s, especially since that is where I met my husband Anthony. We were delighted and honored to share the many ways our tremendous Jesuit education has shaped us into the individuals we have become. I was especially proud to share how the values and ideals I learned at SJU have intimately remained a part of my spirit. I told everyone about a class I had taken where I viewed the film The Power of One. I was so moved by this film, and ironically, after learning about malaria and mosquito nets, it was this class that reminded me that The Power of One can make great change in the world. When Katherine and I first began fundraising for nets more than three years ago, this message was one of my biggest inspirations.
The students and faculty of SJU were touched by our family’s dedication to this mission and were humbled by Katherine’s and Joseph’s understanding and commitment to helping African children stay safe from mosquitoes and malaria. All in all, after two personal matches and a donation from the Jesuit Community, we raised more than $1,000 for more nets. The students of SJU are pumped and ready to do more for this cause. Our presentation was a prelude to an upcoming campus-wide malaria prevention plan, now including a major focus on Nothing But Nets.
I was so impressed and pleased that the students embraced this campaign and our family’s work with Nothing But Nets. I anticipate great action from the students of Hawk Hill and foresee SJU partnering with Nothing But Nets in the future. Who knows … maybe some SJU students will be a part of a distribution in the future. I don’t doubt it for a second because at St. Joe’s the students are taught to bring change to injustice and to believe in themselves and their abilities. The Power of One can make change; the Power of Many can end malaria. Thank you, St. Joseph’s University, for a wonderful walk down memory lane. Thank you to Julie and Paul for still believing in us, so many years later. Thank you to Mr. Commale’s Octorara Middle School students (and chaperones) who came to the event. Thank you to the many helpers from SJU, especially Genevieve. I hope you were inspired and continue to work hard on your studies. Great things to come as we all continue this journey. God Bless!!