Campuses unite for international amputee benefit program

Wed Mar 2, 2016
Festivities began at J.L. Everhart with a presentation about Limbs International and how the organization helps improve the quality of life for so many people.

Linda Buie, Dean of Instruction for Longview High School, said a group of her International Baccalaureate students provided information about "Learning for Limbs" to students during their P.E. period as they rotated through the gym.

"The students were challenged to go through an obstacle course with one limb bound to their bodies to show the hardships and struggles amputees face on a daily basis," she said. "We also had all the students and staffers spend an hour using only one arm to perform all their tasks."

Other activities included a baked potato fundraiser for LISD Education Support Center staff, $5 jean passes for students and teachers at Hudson PEP, and a soccer game at Forest Park with concessions. As a result of these and other efforts throughtout the district, Buie said LISD's program will be able to fully fund a prosthetic limb.

Trevor Bergman, Director of Learning for Limbs International, praised the district's efforts adding that Longview ISD "was the birthplace of Learning for Limbs."

Bergman said the organization was founded in Longview and is now located in El Paso. It is the only global nonprofit providing prosthetic devices for amputees in the developing world.

"LISD paved the way for other students around the world who are now making a difference in the lives of amputees worldwide," he said.

Bergman said the most affordable leg system in the U.S. is about $2,500 and the organization can provide a leg for $300, or "less than the cost of a smartphone ."

"The goal for LISD this year is to provide 30 legs," he said.

What's more, Bergman said, the Learning for Limbs program has been adopted as the statewide service learning project for International Baccalaureate schools statewide.

"Since the program started in Longview, over 500 legs have been provided to amputees in more than a dozen countries," he added.

The World Health Organization estimates there are more than 40 million amputees throughout the developing world and that only about 5 percent have access to any kind of prosthetic.

Bergman said the Learning for Limbs program partners with teachers and schools K-12 to educate students about the needs of amputees in the developing world while empowering them to become global citizens via community service.

"This combination of connecting academics with authentic community needs has resulted in students truly grasping what it means to be internationally minded," he said.

For information about how you can help visit LimbsInternational.org or contact Linda Buie at (903) 663-1301.


PHOTOS: LHS staffers count proceeds from the Learning for Limbs "silent auction" fundraiser on Monday, Feb. 29; while Forest Park Middle School faculty members volunteer at the concession stand and students enjoy a soccer game fundraiser.