It’s been just over a year now since I wrote an article on My Fellow Millennials, a piece dedicated to denouncing the stereotypes made about the Millennial generation. By putting the spotlight on seven regional twenty-somethings who are doing cool things, my mission was to showcase that Millennials are not narcissistic, lazy, uncreative, and as addicted to technology as the older generations let themselves believe. Actually, the Millennial generation as I know it has proven time and again to be quite the opposite.
Fearless. Patient. Radical. Inspirational. Tough. Grounded. Ambitious.
After those eight interviews with ultrarunners, environmental economists, Montessori guides, and farmers, these were the words that came to mind about my generation. Now, a year later, I still feel very passionately that hope for our future lies in the Millennials’ hands. If anything, our older generations should not look on us with doubt and criticism – they should be proud at what we have managed to accomplish so far in the face of international turmoil and environmental crises. They should look not at statistics and sweeping generalizations about twenty-somethings, but at the twenty-somethings themselves who are actively carving out a lifestyle that incorporates passion with doing good, whether it’s on the community front or the international scale.
That’s where Theresia Hinton comes into play.
I met Theresia through my road ramblings this past summer. Based out of Asheville, N.C., Theresia is a Millennial who works long hours at the ER at Mission Health as an Emergency Department Tech. While she loves hiking and biking in and around Asheville, her true passion lies in helping others. As the volunteer Outreach and Fundraising Director for the non-profit MedicForce, Theresia was tasked with the duty of creating a fundraiser to help raise awareness and money for building a health clinic in Kenya. Her idea? Tap into the outdoor recreation community in western North Carolina and host an event that no adventure nut can turn down – Beer For Gear.
“We’ve seen an incredible response,” Theresia says on the subject of reaching out to outdoor brands for donations. “The fact that we’ve had local companies donate gear or items to us who don’t know anything about MedicForce is amazing.”
From SylvanSport to Watershed Drybags, Pyranha Kayaks, Astral Designs, Threshold Provisions, Adventure Technology Paddles, ENO, and Catawba Brewing (just to name a few), Theresia’s not kidding about that impressive response.
The idea of Beer For Gear is simple. Show up to Catawba Brewing in Asheville, Thursday night at 5:30pm, bring a piece of new or used gear to donate to MedicForce, and you get a free beer (and who doesn’t love free beer). Those items will then be placed on a table for direct purchase – name your price, pay up, and the gear is yours. What’s more, that money you spend will go directly to the construction of that health clinic in Kenya (so treat yourself, and shop big). In addition to this yard sale of sorts, Theresia will be putting on both a silent auction and a raffle for the products donated by the above-mentioned (and many more) brands.
Paddles, PFDs, drysuits, drybags, a 60-minute massage, a free WFR course, even a few kayaks! Thus far, Theresia has secured over 20 items to be included in the raffle and silent auction. From local artisans and coffee roasters to internationally recognized outdoor brands, it seems that everyone everywhere has been more than willing to support the cause.
For those of you that don’t know anything about MedicForce, look ’em up. Theresia first got involved with the organization after taking her EMT course at the NOC, where she met the head of MedicForce and hopped on board a trip to Belize. For nearly two weeks, she traveled with the organization from village to village teaching women in particular about their bodies, cervical cancer, and basic health education and first aid.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but the healthcare workers in these villages are oftentimes either voted in or they volunteer despite having no medical experience,” Theresia says. “Our goal is to go in and see what they know, what kind of access to natural medicines they have, what they want to know, and then to stay there as long as they need us. Compared to other charities, we don’t want to just throw medical supplies at them and say ‘we fixed you’ and leave. We want to let them teach us, create a sustainable healthcare system, and then work from there.”
That trip to Belize was life-changing for Theresia. She returned to the States with a newfound appreciation for the life she led here, but with an itch to do more. Though she has been the sole organizer for this fundraiser, a task that has eaten up nearly every hour she’s not sleeping or working a 12-hour shift at the ER, Theresia says she is more than happy to help with a cause she feels so passionately about.
“After Belize, just seeing the smiles on people’s faces and the gratitude for what we were doing, that made it all worth it,” she says. “I’d say for people who want to do good but feel like they can’t, go after something you love and nothing else will really matter. Money isn’t a factor in donating to a cause. There are so many other ways you can help organizations.”
If you’re in the Asheville area this Thursday (or even if you’re not) come out to Catawba Brewing to support the cause and walk away with some awesome gear. Even if you don’t end the evening with a new Pyranha kayak or AT paddle in hand, you’ll be supporting a good cause and drinking a good beer (or three) in the company of good people. What more could you ask for? Raffle tickets are cheap too – 1 for $5 and 5 for $20.
Check out the Facebook event here for more information on the raffle and silent auction items as well as updates on the fundraiser.