Karolina Rivas/Nevada Sagebrush
UNR student Katie Keever mentors a student from Cape Town, South Africa as a part of the One Heart Source program.

The non-profit organization, One Heart Source, is extending an invite to the University of Nevada, Reno, students to apply for the chance to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to mentor students in less-fortunate communities.

According to the One Heart Source website, the program is designed specifically for university undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students between the ages of 18 and 25. Students will have the choice to apply a one, two or four-week service-learning specializing in either youth empowerment, education and social work or health innovation.

Depending on the duration of the trip, costs can range anywhere from $1,900 to $5,000. These costs cover food and drink, housing, cultural excursions, in-country transportation, internet and mobile phone, mentorship supplies and on-site orientation. Airfare is not included.

Katie Keever is studying journalism at the university and traveled to Cape Town this past summer.

“This program for me means to be apart of something bigger than yourself,” Keever said. “I feel that people in the states can get caught up and take the resources we are given and take them for granted. I wanted to make a difference, whether it was for one person there or 20 people, it allowed me to feel like I was doing good in the world. I think the opportunity is pretty hard to pass up, you get to go to a foreign country and immerse yourself in a completely different culture while helping children who are less fortunate. It’s really an opportunity of a lifetime!”

During her visit, Keever assisted in the educational programs at one of the local schools where education is less-prioritized. Keever mentored the youth in subjects such as English and participated in extracurricular activities.

“I think being able to give back in any way you can to those who are less fortunate is a really big part of life,” Keever said. “I think people forget that we are given free education from K-12 in the states, that’s something these kids lack. The students we mentor go to a primary school for K-12 and cannot afford or don’t have enough education to go to a secondary school! Being able to use my resources to provide another child with education is an amazing feeling. These kids love to learn and I don’t think there’s any better feeling than watching a child be overjoyed to just learn.”

One Heart Source’s main focus is to ensure that students collaborate with change-makers, receive skills in international communication, and partner with local communities to experience a global perspective.

Although the price may seem intimidating at first, Keever strongly encourages students to fundraise to pay for a majority of the program.

“The program fee can seem intimidating but there are so many ways to raise money,” Keever said. “For me, what drove me to afford it was the fact that I was doing something I would never forget. I paid for more than 3/4 of my program fee and all my other expenses, it’s possible to really do anything if put your mind to it, and this experience truly showed me that!”

Karolina Rivas can be reached at mpurdue@sagebrush.unr and on twitter @karolinarrivas.