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MSU Nursing Students Hold Health Fair For Homeless

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/msunursing_3858.mp3

For many college students, it's getting to be that time of the year when the class load is piling on and finals are just around the corner. On Thursday, Missouri State students enriched their learning experience by helping the community in a special way. Instead of a classroom, the venue was the Missouri Hotel, the largest homeless shelter in the state. KSMU's Benjamin Fry reports. "Can you kick the ball? (Boom!) Oh wow!"MSU nursing student Sam Crowe plays ball with a group of young ones. Across the room, Huggies diapers and kids' books lay on a table and will soon be given away in a drawing.Everyone's having so much fun, it's easy to forget that this is actually a college class project. The nursing students are holding a health fair at the shelter. This health fair was coordinated by MSU nursing senior Marie Civiello, with the help of several classmates."We go over certain projects, such as dental hygiene, vaccinations, car seat safety, nutrition, things like that to help the families kind of planning, taking care of their children," Civiello said. Civiello says family health is sometimes not a top priority for those in a tight financial situation."A lot of times when you have other things, other financial burdens to take on, some of that can become short-sighted," Civiello said.Thanks to the donations of local businesses, residents were provided with free toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as a chance to win prizes.Sammie Baugher has been keeping her eye on a helmet for her son, who loves to bike and skateboard."He's a very dangerous little boy, he's not afraid of anything, so somebody's got to protect his head," Baugher said.Baugher has been staying at the Missouri Hotel since September.She's thankful for the chance it has given her to get back on her feet, and she's grateful for the nursing students' time and help."The fact knowing that there are people out there that can help us with things for our kids; teach us everything we didn't know," Baugher said.Though the fair is a one-day event, these MSU nursing students already know their way around the Missouri Hotel. As part of their nursing curriculum, they frequently volunteer here. Although she's currently homeless, Baugher says she dreams of one day being able to help others in the same way she's been helped here."I want to be a nurse some day, so I hope I can repay everything they have always done for us," Baugher said.For KSMU News, I'm Benjamin Fry.