The Times Journal & Russell County News
Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Local U of L student hopes to help out in Thailand
In Jan. 28 Issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Reporter

A 2007 graduate of Russell County High School is asking for the community's help as she is attempting to raise money for a volunteer trip to Thailand, an independent country that lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, later this year as part of International Student Volunteers, Inc.

Rebeca Irvin, a junior at the University of Louisville, said she first heard about the volunteer efforts on campus at U of L and became interested in how she could help.

The total cost of the four-week trip is between $5,000 and $6,000, she said. Irvin, who is a full-time student, said she was trying to raise enough funds before the March 13 cut-off date so she can make the trip in mid-July.

For people wanting to donate to Irvin's cause, she said there are six jugs set up at businesses in the community, including Minit Mart in Jamestown, with her information on them or people can contact James McClure at 270-566-8571 or the Russell County Dispatch at 270-343-6600. The Rebeca J. Irvin fundraiser account for cash or check donations has also been set up at Monticello Banking Company in Russell Springs.

A rook tournament is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Russell County Rescue Squad building with all proceeds going toward the cause.

Entry is $7 per person and first and second place prizes will be given out as well but participants must bring their own cards.

Hot dogs, chili and drinks will also be for sale at the rook tournament this Friday. In addition, a raffle is currently underway with $1 tickets as well. Raffle tickets will be sold at the rook tournament Friday as well.

Items such as NASCAR, UK and U of L blankets, cross stitchings, police print blankets and breast cancer awareness blankets, among other items, will be raffled off on March 1. For more information on the raffle, call 270-566-1028. More fundraisers are also expected in the next few months leading up to the cut-off date in March.

"There was an option of eight different countries and you got to pick which country you wanted to go to," Irvin said. "There is a group of 10 that go on each trip."

If she is able to raise enough money to go on the community service-based trip, she will choose from among three different programs. Her top choices include children-based programs, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and marine conservation.

Irvin said Thailand has a large population of homeless and abandoned children who may never get to experience what it means to be a child and even some who are sold in illegal underground sex trades.

"Maybe I could make a difference in how their life ends up," she said.

ISV's children support projects are located throughout Thailand and combine community support, education, activities with children and improving infrastructure at orphanages and schools.

Irvin could spend time teaching, creating games and activities, painting murals and repairing playgrounds with children from varied backgrounds.

As a volunteer, she would provide a positive role model in a caring environment for children.

As part of the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation program Irvin would a part of several projects located in wildlife rescue centers and wildlife sanctuaries. As a volunteer, Irvin would be helping conserve native animals in natural settings and teach others about how people can better interact with these animals. She would be a part of building and maintaining animal enclosures, fence building, vegetation removal, tree planting, feeding and bathing animals, data surveying and animal husbandry.

As part of the marine program, Irvin would play a vital role in the collection of data for the health of reefs and waterways that support the island's tourism. Irvin would be volunteering along stunning coastlines and living amongst Thailand's many traditional villages supported by fishing or tourism.

Irvin and the other volunteers would be living with indigenous people on the trip to Thailand in huts and other low-tier housing, adding to the experience of the trip.

For more information on the International Student Volunteers, Inc. mission in Thailand visit www.isvonline.com/thailand.html

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