Florida Polytechnic University Rotaract Club driven to aid Bahamas hurricane recovery

Oct 03, 2019
Florida Polytechnic University Rotaract Club driven to aid Bahamas hurricane recovery
Florida Polytechnic University Rotaract Club members (from left), Maria Paula Gomez, Jared Nurse, Troy Kelly, Sheldon Taylor, Vanessa Townsend, and Charisma Clarck are raising money for relief for the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

When Hurricane Dorian unleashed devastating winds and rain on the Bahamas on Sept. 1, members of Florida Polytechnic University’s Rotaract Club were shaken by the news. They immediately decided to help.

“I’m originally from the Bahamas and I sat through many hurricanes growing up,” said Jared Nurse, a mechanical engineering junior with a concentration in nanotechnology. “When the storm first started I wasn’t too nervous, but after seeing videos of the devastation at Abaco, I thought ‘I’m president of Rotaract. I can probably do something.’”

The Rotaract Club is teaming up with the University’s chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers, and the Diversity Club, to lead an effort to raise money for the Bahamas, as the country is still reeling from the Category 5 storm.

On Sept. 26, the clubs announced a combined $5,000 contribution for the battered archipelago country. They also unveiled an effort to raise even more money by challenging Rotary Clubs throughout the Lakeland, Orlando, and Tampa regions to match or exceed their contribution.

“This hurt my heart so much,” Nurse said. “There are 11 of us here at Florida Poly that are ambassadors from the Bahamas and all of us got hit pretty hard. Each of us know people who live in Abaco and Grand Bahamas.”

The personal connection to the effort is so strong, that the club decided to travel to the islands during spring break to assist in person as well.

“I want to see how we can help out my homeland as much as possible,” Nurse said.

Funds raised through their current effort will be directed to the Rotary International Foundation, which will distribute the money to the Rotary Clubs of the Bahamas.

“This project is bringing all of us together: Florida Poly, our leadership, and our community from Polk County and beyond,” said Dr. Randy Avent, Florida Poly’s president. “Our students are learning leadership and how they can make a difference in the world, not only in their geographic surroundings.”

Those who would like to assist in the relief effort should contact the Florida Poly Rotaract Club’s leadership.

Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications