High School Student’s College Prerequisite: Save Five Thousand Lives in Africa. Teen Supports Nothing But Nets in Malaria Fight

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Local high school sophomore Kevin Vernimb has spent the last three years fundraising to send life-saving bed nets to families in Africa. Vernimb advocates for the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets—a global, grassroots campaign to prevent malaria in Africa, the leading killer of children on the continent. To date, Vernimb has raised more than $14,000 and plans to raise $50,000 by the time he starts college. This week, he is kicking off a month long fundraiser, “March Net Madness” to get closer to his goal.

Kevin Vernimb prepares for an NBN presentation

“I was shocked to find out that in Africa a child dies every 30 seconds from an illness caused by a single mosquito bite,” said Vernimb. “It’s great to know that anyone can be a part of changing this statistic by sending a $10 bed net."

Local high school sophomore Kevin Vernimb has spent the last three years fundraising to send life-saving bed nets to families in Africa. Vernimb advocates for the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets—a global, grassroots campaign to prevent malaria in Africa, the leading killer of children on the continent. To date, Vernimb has raised more than $14,000 and plans to raise $50,000 by the time he starts college. This week, he is kicking off a month long fundraiser, “March Net Madness” to get closer to his goal.

Kevin Vernimb was inspired by an article his seventh-grade teacher shared, and at 12-years-old he put on a suit and tie and began giving PowerPoint presentations to spread the word about the impact of malaria to his peers, representatives with professional sports leagues and numerous Rotary functions including last November’s Rotary UN Day Youth Conference at the United Nations.. He has since established recurring fundraisers like silent auctions and basketball shooting contests. At 15, Vernimb has spread the word to thousands, who have helped him save more than 1,400 lives, one bed net at a time.

“I was shocked to find out that in Africa a child dies every 30 seconds from an illness caused by a single mosquito bite,” said Vernimb. “It’s great to know that anyone can be a part of changing this statistic by sending a bed net to protect families while they sleep.”

Vernimb’s tireless efforts to help children in Africa have not gone unnoticed. At last year’s United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit, UN Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, declared Vernimb’s success in raising funds as representative of the U.S. public's enthusiasm to send nets and save lives. Vernimb was also featured on the television program Teen Kids News, and lauded at the Nothing But Nets World Malaria Day reception by Rick Reilly, the author of the article that originally inspired him.

“Kevin’s enthusiasm and commitment to protecting families in Africa are great examples of what drives this grassroots movement,” said Adrianna Logalbo, director of Nothing But Nets. “Dedicated supporters like him have helped us save millions of lives.”

Malaria infects up to 500 million people around the world each year, killing more than 1 million. The disease is a leading killer of children and refugees in Africa, where 90 percent of malaria deaths occur. Bed nets prevent malaria transmission by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur. It costs $10 to send a net and save a life. To learn more about Nothing But Nets, visit http://www.nothingbutnets.net.

About Nothing But Nets
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Founding campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, The people of The United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated. It only costs $10 to provide an insecticide-treated bed net that can prevent this deadly disease. Visit http://www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.

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