Kourtney Wathen is a student from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington who raised $2,585 for her trip to Riobamba, Ecuador through the 50:50 campaign this past spring. Read below to learn about how she fundraised for the campaign and her experience in Riobamba, and read more about the 50:50 campaign here.
How did you first hear about MEDLIFE?
We had a speaker come and talk to us and show us a presentation. We didn’t have a chapter yet, but after that talk, we started a chapter during my freshman year.
What made you decide to do the 50:50 campaign?
I decided to do the 50:50 campaign after discussing the trip with my parents. They wanted to help, but they did not want to pay entirely out of their own pocket, and they felt that I was responsible enough to figure out my own financial endeavors. I agreed with them totally, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it on my own. Being a full-time student with no job, it can be difficult to fund mission trips like the MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics.
How did you raise the money for your campaign?
I started by composing a letter, roughly one page long, about my mission, and I explained the goals of MEDLIFE as an organization. I elaborated on the purpose of the 50:50 campaign, and I concluded with the link to my page. Next, I printed out these letters and addressed them to local businesses in my home town and hand-delivered them. I got way more responses than I thought I ever would. I also posted my link almost every other day on my social networking sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I kept up the publicity on my trip and always included a little fact or a story to go along with my post to keep people interested. I also sent out an email to all of my friends and family with a summarized version of the initial letter that I wrote. I made a presentation in my church and asked for their support. Overall, I was overwhelmed by the number of people that donated to my mission trip. I come from a very loving, close-knit community, and for that, I am beyond grateful.
Why would you recommend that students participate in the 50:50 campaign?
I would recommend that students participate in the program because it is a great way to raise money for MEDLIFE as an organization. It really opens up the possibility for a lot of students to go if they put in the work for it. I know there are many students that are just like me that might need help funding volunteer trips like this, and the campaign makes it possible.
What was your favorite part about the Mobile Clinic?
The people were what made my Mobile Clinic experience memorable. In terms of stations, I really enjoyed inscriptions because I really got to talk to the people. I am a Spanish major, so I got to use all of my Spanish to really connect and interact with the people. During my time at the toothbrush station, I met a young girl and we talked one on one for several minutes. She was laughing and was just so happy to be there; I felt we really connected.
What were your impressions of Riobamba?
I really enjoyed Riobamba. It was an unforgettable, eye-opening experience. Seeing the differences in culture, poverty, and even food was really interesting. It baffles me that some communities live in such desolate conditions, and it has led me to think about and be thankful for what I have, and for being able to go on that mission to Ecuador in the first place.