PLATTSBURGH — SUNY Plattsburgh students teamed up with North Country Mission of Hope with the aim of raising $5,000 for the humanitarian-aid group.
Recent political unrest in Nicaragua forced the Peru-based nonprofit to cancel its summer mission for the first time in 20 years, but students are hoping the money raised will offset additional expenses necessary to continue assisting those in need.
In a year-long class, the senior public relations majors devise and implement an entire public relations campaign to benefit a new client each year. They first pitched the fundraising idea to the Mission of Hope Leadership Board during the spring semester and, with the start of the fall semester, worked on bracelet design, packaging and branding.
“It gives me hope to know that our generation can pass the baton to the younger generation to continue efforts helping those in Nicaragua who desperately need food, water and health care," Mission of Hope Leadership Team leader Carol Herring said.
Students were inspired by Sister Debbie Blow, Mission of Hope executive director, after her first presentation to the class.
“Why do we help people in Nicaragua instead of just focusing on our own country?" she asked. “ Because we can!”
That, Blow said, is what a third-grader once told her when she'd asked the class why Americans should help very poor children in countries such as Nicaragua.
"So incredible wisdom out of the mouth of babes continues to inspire us as adults, if only we open our ears and our hearts," she said in praising the students who devised the plan to make and sell bracelets.
And so the theme of the entire campaign became #becausewecan.
TWICE AS NICE
“This is such a great opportunity not only to gain professional skills, but to help an organization that really makes a difference in the lives of others,” said Sarah Mooney, one of the class leaders.
One hundred percent of the profits made by the students is donated to Mission of Hope, whose primary work is to aid and give a hand up to the poor in Nicaragua.
"Amazing...simply amazing....," the Dominican Sister of Hope wrote in an email to supporters soon after the jewelry hit the market.
As of Tuesday night, the project had brought in more than $4,216, Blow said.
Mission of Hope also raises funds to support relief efforts after natural disasters in the United States, most recently those affected by hurricanes Florence and Michael.
Only working through trusted people on the ground, the group has sent financial assistance after devastating weather and other crippling events elsewhere, including Puerto Rico, Haiti, Venezuela and Guatemala.
Mission of Hope is now accepting donations for those affect by the devastating Hurricane Michael that last week wiped out whole communities in the Florida Panhandle.
Until recently, the faith-based organization only sent shipments of goods such as medical equipment, school supplies, clothing and more to Nicaragua.
But with deliveries there on hold due to the political situation, Mission of Hope was able to arrange a shipment to Puerto Rico to help with continuing hurricane recovery there.
And last week, a 53-foot shipping container left the warehouse in Peru, headed with the help of Medshare and Henry Schein Cares to at least two countries in Africa and elsewhere.
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BUY THE BRACELET
Bracelets, priced at $5 each, are available at Maurices at Champlain Centre mall in Plattsburgh.
To donate for Hurricane Michael or Tropical Storm Florence relief, note your choice of project in the memo line of a check made out to North Country Mission of Hope and mail it to: 3452 Route 22 Peru, NY 12972.
Learn more about Mission of Hope and its projects: ncmissionofhope.org.