Nursing Alumna Dr. Asra Amin Donates More Than 300 Book Bags to Local Children
October 30, 2018
By Jiaxi Zhang
The original goal was to gather 30 backpacks for area schoolchildren, but after putting a call out on social media and through Mason’s School of Nursing, Dr. Asra Amin had enough supplies from friends, colleagues, and family to put together 350 backpacks.
Amin is a 2018 alumna of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program with a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration and currently works as a nurse consultant for Inova Health System.
Amin donated more than 100 of the backpacks and supplies to the Manassas Park Mason and Partners (MAP) clinic and the rest to Malcolm X Elementary School in Washington, D.C., Potomac View Elementary School in Prince William County, and to other students in Prince William County Schools.
The idea of donating backpacks to help children start school stemmed from Amin’s doctoral research on violence prevention at Potomac View Elementary School, which has a large percentage of children from families with low incomes.
“With nursing, all you want to do is to help as much as you can when you see a population and their need.” Amin said. She attended Potomac View Elementary School when she was little, which gives her familiarity with the local population and the awareness of the needs of local youngsters.
“When my family first came to Virginia from Pakistan, we were in the same situation as these kids are, and now the roles are reversed and I can help them. My brother had heart issues when he was a new born and needed surgery - that’s why our family came here. He ended up being one of the kids who received health care from the organization called Pediatric Primary Care Project (PPCP) that works with the Mason and Partners (MAP) clinics for uninsured and income eligible kids. I had no idea growing up until I did a presentation at this organization, and my mom told me about my brother’s story with PPCP. It is a full circle of amazing things!” Amin said.
Amin’s passion for giving back to the local community started when she was an undergraduate student at Mason and was encouraged by her Islamic faith and family. In her first year as a graduate student at Mason, she brought in presents to the MAP clinics that she had collected with her sister and friends. As an undergraduate, she and her fellow nursing partners collected money for Charity Water, an organization that builds water pumps and wells in Africa. She also did undergraduate research in interior Sindh, Pakistan where she studied the area’s infant and maternal mortality rates. This is what inspired her new donation to build water pumps in Tharparkar, Pakistan.
“One of the big things that got pushed through our nursing degree is that, if you feel strongly about a certain population, then go for it, regardless of what kind of barriers you have. And at the end of the day, the result is that the kids there are super excited and happy, and so are their parents,” explains Amin.