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Jessup volleyball players head for South Africa

College roommates volunteering for unique project
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College roommates volunteering for unique project William Jessup University volleyball players and roommates, Zoey Gilbert and Elaina Murphy won’t be on campus for the traditional start of the 72 year old university’s spring semester. Instead, the duo will be teaching physical education classes and providing an afterschool program to kids in Gordon Bay, South Africa, just south of Cape Town. “I’ve always been interested in missions and travel so I decided to do a Google search and found this great opportunity that I shared with Elaina,” explained Gilbert. “During my search, I came across an organization called Global Vision International (GVI) and later, Elaina and I decided we wanted to be a part of something bigger.” GVI operates more than 100 projects in 25 countries and annually sends over 3,000 volunteers around the globe to assist with their various programs. GVI volunteers fill a critical void in the fields of environmental research, conservation, education and community development. While in Gordon Bay, the two students anticipate working with fourth- to seventh-graders and making an impact in the lives of the children attending the much-needed program. “Many of the students aren’t able to attend school because they have too many chores to do at home,” Gilbert said. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to reach all of the kids, especially those who are more likely to attend the afterschool program once all of their work at home is done.” The program aims to provide more personal attention to these students from the impoverished townships surrounding the Cape Town area. “A significant challenge lies in the area of communication,” Gilbert added. “Most of the students are just learning English so we will need to be very clear and concise about what we say and how we teach.” Expecting to work with nearly 2,000 kids during their two-week visit, the young athletes are excited for the opportunity to learn more about African culture and meet other volunteers from all around the world. The pair raised nearly $10,000 to participate in this unique endeavor. “Our fundraising included writing and mailing donation letters, saving every penny we had and even speaking to my home church about the project,” Murphy explained. A business major, Gilbert hails from Ventura, while Murphy, a psychology major, calls Truckee home. These sophomores and setters first met because of their involvement with the volleyball team at the growing university. “My first interaction with Zoey was when she sent me an email explaining she was my roommate. Naturally, I checked out everything she had posted on Facebook and wasn’t sure what to expect once I met her,” Murphy admits. “Finally we met in person during a week-long retreat with our volleyball team and hit it off instantly. We’ve been friends ever since.” Instructors at William Jessup University have graciously supported the students with their venture, allowing them to make up missed class time and course work. “I’ve been working hard and actually have all of my work done,” Gilbert said. Interestingly, both 19-year-olds have never been on a mission trip before nor have they traveled outside of the country. They plan on meeting in Frankfurt, Germany for an 11 hour layover before continuing their journey to South Africa. ~ Staff report