September Volunteers of the Month: Ohio University School of Nursing

(L-R) Eliza Harper, Taylor Hale, Haley Price, Sara Prater, Ashlea Thomas, Kaitlin Youngson. Not pictured: Lakin Caudill
(L-R) Eliza Harper, Taylor Hale, Haley Price, Sara Prater, Ashlea Thomas, Kaitlin Youngson. Not pictured: Lakin Caudill

Congratulations to members of the Senior Class of the Ohio University School of Nursing, our September Volunteers of the Month!

Becca Thomas, the director of events at Komen Columbus, nominated the group because of their giving spirit and need to help the people in the community. Thomas credits Professor Eliza Harper for her students dedication.

“Eliza is passionate about the cause and motivated to instruct her students not just in the profession of nursing, but in how to give back to their communities as well,” said Thomas, “There is no denying that the students at the OU School of Nursing are creating a legacy and leaving a lasting impact in the community.”

Komen Columbus began working with the Ohio University School of Nursing students in 2012. The students are required to complete a community outreach portion as part of their curriculum and have worked with Komen Columbus on various fundraisers.

“We are thrilled to partner with the OU School of Nursing to expand the reach of the Race to address some of the disparities in this region and help more women in the community. The students will have an integral role in the inaugural Athens Race for the Cure and will be responsible for many aspects of Race preparation, as well as Race-day activities,” said Thomas.

Eliza shares with us, in her own words, why she and her students volunteer for Komen Columbus.

What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?

It was actually Becca Thomas!  I was looking for a meaningful project for my senior level Community Health Nursing course at Ohio University.   I wanted it to be something that everyone could relate to and breast cancer touches everyone in some way.  My random call to Susan G. Komen Columbus resulted with me talking to Becca, an Ohio University alumni herself.  Three years and a wonderful friendship later, here we are hosting the first Athens Race for the Cure.  This speaks volumes of the productive partnership OU has formed with Komen in just three short years.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?

I love the excitement in my students when they realize the impact of their efforts.  They are working to bring programs and services to the underserved population with limited access here in the Southeastern Ohio region.  As part of the Athens Race for the Cure, Komen Columbus is also supporting nursing education by providing the students with current research and best practice for breast cancer treatment and prevention.  As a result, my students will take this experience forward into their future careers to support patient prevention and awareness for many years to come.

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?

My most memorable moment was when the Ohio University BSN Nursing class of 2013 created a “Pink Glove Dance Video” to raise funds for Susan G. Komen of Columbus research.  The video was emotional and the passion of the students was overflowing in the piece.  It brought tears to my eyes.  At the end of their video, the students released pink balloons for those who had or were currently battling breast cancer.  To me, this was such a powerful moment and those small pink balloons against the blue sky represented how this small effort by class of senior nursing students could make an impact…no matter how big or how small. I knew then that we, as a class, would continue to do what we could to continue to release pink balloons of hope and caring.

When you’re not volunteering for Komen Columbus, what do you like to do?

Spend time with my family and friends…that includes my students!