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Fundraiser set for student career program

A Suffolk organization is helping young students find exciting career paths, and it is raising money to continue those efforts.

The Nursing Careers and Pathways program is holding its first Red, Black and White Affair fundraiser from 8 to 11 p.m. March 11 at 4600 Planters Club Road. Donations will support the youth programs and ongoing operations of the organization.

There will be food provided by The Cooking Lady, music by ‘DJ Seko’ Varner, door prizes and a silent auction in sharp attire and a fun atmosphere in the Planters Club venue.

“This is going to be an exciting and elegant event,” Nursing CAP Inc. founder and executive director Regina McKinney said.

The organization is a non-profit that gives middle and high school students guidance and tutoring to pursue careers in nursing, science, technology, engineering and health care. The organization also advocates healthy lifestyle choices and community service.

Forty-five students are registered in the organization, and most of them are in Suffolk. Others are in Portsmouth and Chesapeake. Volunteers provide the students with free tutoring for science and math throughout the academic year.

McKinney said it is important to teach young students strong math concepts as early as middle school.

“We want our kids to develop good math concepts way before they get to high school,” McKinney said. “It would give them a better grasp of those subjects once they get to college.”

The organization works with community health agencies locally to foster healthy practices that prevent childhood obesity.

“Our kids are being exposed to healthy living and healthy eating,” McKinney said. “They go home and share with their families the things that they’re learning for generations to come.”

Community service is emphasized and encouraged.

“We want to instill in them the compassion for the elderly and for people in general,” McKinney said. “This allows them to value community service.”

Kenya Rivers is a 15-year-old Lakeland High School student who has benefited from the organization for more than three years. Rivers said she likes the dedicated tutoring, and the time the volunteers give her to further her education into medicine. She’s wanted to be a pediatrician since she was 5 years old.

“Both of my parents are in the medical field, so I was exposed to that at an early age,” Rivers said. “That inspired me to choose a career in the medical field. I like the idea of helping kids.”

The Obici Foundation recently gave Nursing CAP Inc. a $15,000 grant for encouraging students to choose healthy lifestyles and healthy career path.

“We were wonderful to have it,” McKinney said. “It was great for us to receive the grant and the way it has impacted the students.”