September 17, 2008
08-156

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Greeks Help Establish Ronald Yearwood Foundation

VALDOSTA - The Greek community at Valdosta State University was instrumental in establishing the Ronald Yearwood Foundation, a foundation that supplies equipment to the elderly or disabled in order to improve their independence and safety.

The foundation began with a simple Greek fundraiser after physical therapist Jennifer Jones, approached her brother, Jonathan Stroble, VSU Student Government Association President. She told him about the condition of a former patient, Ron Yearwood, who suffered from a stroke early in his life.

Although doctors predicted Yearwood would be unable to perform any physical activity by himself, he can now accomplish simple everyday tasks such as showering and getting dressed. Jones had seen Yearwood try to walk, but because specific parts of his brain had been injured, he will never be able to walk independently.

Jones convinced the family that Ron could become wheelchair independent with the right equipment. His wheelchair was too big for him to get around his house, leaving his 70-year-old mother to maneuver him. His disability left his parents struggling with medical bills and health issues of their own. The compassionate physical therapist made a deal with the wheelchair company to purchase it cheaper than the at-cost value and then contacted Stroble at VSU for help.

The presidents of the three Greek councils - Inter-fraternity, College Panhellenic and the National Pan Hellenic - came together and decided to charge admission into several Greek Week events, specifically the events that the majority of the Greek students would attend. The fundraiser was a success, raising over $2,000, which was much more than what was needed solely for Ron's new wheelchair. With $1000 left over, Yearwood and Jones decided to use the left over money to form the Ronald Yearwood Foundation.

"Thus far the foundation has provided 20 patients with needed in-home equipment that these patients could not have otherwise afforded" Jones said. "Ron and his family and all the patients that have received needed equipment are greatly appreciative of the Valdosta State Greek Community."

The foundation will continue to help those in need through contributions. Call Jones at (706) 338-9851 or e-mail her at jonesjn79@hotmail.com to make a donation or for more information.