Howard Payne University alumni Ricky ’07 and Amy (Perkins)’07 Board of Fort Worth will spend six weeks in northern Thailand this summer, teaching and developing a community health worker training program.
“We will provide support and capacity-building services to enhance the overall sustainability and impact of these projects,” states Amy Board.
Ricky Board, a first grade teacher in Fort Worth, will teach and do other support work at Chiang Rai International Christian School, founded by a Christian group in Thailand. A leader in his own school district in identifying educational iPad apps and incorporating them into his lessons, he will assist with the integration of technology tools into classrooms.
“I am eager to share what I have learned with the staff at the school and to help them identify other technology-based tools that can assist their teachers,” he said.
Amy Board will work with a locally based and operated community development organization to help develop a pilot community health worker training program among local villagers. This will allow village leaders to be trained on basic hygiene and health practices and spread that knowledge to the rest of the community. Her work will meet the requirements for a public health practicum by the University of North Texas Health Science Center for her master’s degree in public health.
She discussed the preparation they both received as HPU students.
“My involvement in HPU’s Academy of Freedom honors program and social work program certainly set the stage for an understanding of the complex forces of political oppression, poverty and strategies for community development,” she said. “I also served as a summer missionary to Central Asia through HPU with GoNow missions in 2006, furthering my desire to put those skills and knowledge into place in the international arena.
“Ricky’s experiences at HPU made him passionate about impacting the lives of children, ultimately launching him into a career as an elementary teacher. The summer after he graduated from HPU, he served on a short-term mission trip to an orphanage in Sudan, and this experience has also put a desire on his heart to find a way to use his gifts and abilities in an overseas context.”
The Boards have been planning this trip since October and say they are very excited to work with the people of northern Thailand. They first became interested in working with the people of Thailand after working in Fort Worth with refugees from the similar region of Myanmar.
“Education and health are some of the most valuable tools for raising people out of poverty and empowering them to reach their fullest potential,” Amy Board said. “This is what we want to accomplish while we are in Thailand this summer: not simply doing something for others, but helping them to realize what they can accomplish on their own.”
Chiang Rai International Christian School is looking for more teachers like Ricky Board who would like to work in an English-speaking school that reaches out to Thai families and teaches children of missionaries from all organizations. For more information, visit www.crics.asia.
The Boards will blog about their experiences in Thailand. To follow along on their journey, visit boardinginthailand.wordpress.com.