There is a saying that we should “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Gabrielle Rehmeyer of the Class of 2015 does both.
Gabrielle spent much of her childhood living in the southern African nation of Swaziland, where her parents live and work as medical missionaries. She had thoughts of returning to Swaziland after graduation, but has decided to stay in Baltimore to work as a nurse, providing health care to a group of people she has come to love: the homeless.
Gabrielle is a member of the first graduating classes of Bachelor of Science in Nursing students at Notre Dame of Maryland University. Although Notre Dame has long had a nursing program, it initiated an entry-level BSN program two years ago.
Service has been an important part of Gabrielle’s experience at Notre Dame. During the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Gabrielle and two classmates were awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant and traveled to Swaziland, where they taught women and girls in a community called Section 19 how to crochet scarves, bags and other items that would boost their income. The money helped these women buy food and medicine, and granted them a measure of independence. After returning to Notre Dame, Gabrielle has continued to collect and send colorful bundles of yarn to the cooperative, which is difficult to obtain in Swaziland.
After graduation, Gabrielle will continue to carry out the Notre Dame tradition of service to the community. She has accepted a position as a staff nurse with Health Care for the Homeless, the Baltimore-based advocacy group that seeks to prevent and end homelessness for vulnerable individuals and families by providing quality, integrated health care and promoting access to affordable housing and sustainable incomes through direct service, advocacy, and community engagement. She will also begin studying for a master’s in public health through George Washington University.
My passion is to work with vulnerable populations. While I initially envisioned myself going back to Swaziland immediately, I have fallen in love with the city of Baltimore, and the homeless population in this city are our most vulnerable.
I completed my practicum [at Health Care for the Homeless] and was touched by their strength and resilience,” she says, “and I want to give back to them.”