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Guilderland students help the uninsured

"I learned there are a lot of American-born people who are uninsured. ... I was surprised by that," said Rohan George, a junior whose family moved to the United States from India four years ago.

By spring of this year, club members were ready to plan a fundraiser for Whitney Young. The group's 45 members collected money from friends, schoolmates and neighbors, educating others about the health center and the need for supporting the uninsured.

"I'm very proud of the amount that we raised," said Bhoiwala. "It turned out the community really got together. People really want to give. They want to support a good cause."

Bhoiwala plans to organize another Whitney Young fundraiser next spring, and hopes it becomes an annual event for the club.

"They are a good example of what a few motivated students can do," said faculty adviser Charles Bender in an e-mail interview. "I am personally very impressed with their accomplishment and sense of wanting to give back."

Whitney Young has worked with college students in the past, but the Guilderland club is the first group of high school students to become involved with the organization.

"They really learned about community health," Russo said. "I look upon them as cheerleaders. They can go out there in the world and talk about community health."

In addition to helping Whitney Young, Students for Improving Health Care have volunteered at Capital City Rescue Mission's Healthy Heart Day, participated in Albany's Kidney Walk and raised $500 for the AIDS Walk.

"I really love this club," said Ali Mehdi, a freshman member who will return next year. "Everyone comes back to this club. Anyone who joins, they don't quit."

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