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Stetson’s RotarACT: Sharing Smiles on Giving Tuesday

For Stetson senior Kelsie Gurley, from Orange Park, Florida, Tuesday, Dec. 3 will be more than just the annual date for “Giving Tuesday.” It’s a chance to help her community and bring a smile back to children in Latin America through the “50 Smiles” campaign. The fundraising effort by the AdventHealth Foundation hopes to raise $25,000 to provide 50 children with cleft lip and palate surgery.

Gurley is a member of Stetson RotarACT, a student volunteer organization for 18-30-year-olds associated with Rotary International. Stetson RotarACT is in the DeLand community and partners with DeLand’s well-known Breakfast Rotary Club.

Kelsie Gurley

“We currently have about 15 active members involved with our club,” said Gurley. “One of the benefits is that as an internationally recognized organization it provides opportunities for professional and personal growth, and voluntary involvement within our community.”

The club meets every other week during the semester. Gurley has been part of RotarACT since she was a freshman at Stetson and while in high school she was part of the InterACT club, the high school participation program by Rotary International.

She says she decided to help raise money for the 50 Smiles campaign on Giving Tuesday after attending a meeting of the DeLand Rotary and hearing about the campaign to raise funds to send Rotarians and doctors to Latin America on a cleft lip and palate surgery trip in the spring of 2020. The charity has set a goal to raise $25,000 on Giving Tuesday, which pays for the $500 cleft treatment per child.

“I hope students and faculty members can donate and help with fundraising to our goal and spreading awareness of this cause,” said Gurley, who hopes to raise $1,000 on Giving Tuesday toward the Rotary’s overall goal. Students, faculty or staff interested in giving to the 50 Smiles campaign can visit Kelsie’s fundraising page.

You might also note that several Stetson supporters are involved in the campaign. Stetson Board of Trustees Emeritus, Nestor de Armas, is a longtime supporter of Sharing Smiles. His daughter, Stetson alumna Paige (de Armas) Filartiga, has set up a Facebook page to help him raise funds this year.

Gurley says students interested in participating in RotarACT can visit one of the club’s bi-weekly meetings during the semester. They meet on every other Thursday at 6 p.m. in 25L in the Lynn Business Center.