Sometimes, bright ideas do good for more than just the individual.
Case in point: Nevada Union’s Kylie Miraldi is a senior, a volleyball player and an outgoing church girl.
Miraldi, 17, has managed to fuse the things she deals with on a daily basis to create a program beneficial for people worldwide.
In the midst of a volleyball season and an ever-demanding senior schedule that requires her to do a senior research project, Miraldi has created a program called “Spike out Malaria” to combat malaria in Africa, a constant struggle for the continent which has garnered nationwide attention via other national prevention programs.
Her idea is not new, although it is now being highlighted in Nevada County. She’s raising money through local businesses to purchase chemically medicated nets that prevent mosquitoes and other critters that carry malaria from infecting people. Miraldi just wanted to do a senior project that actually helped people. She just happened to pinpoint Africa.
“A lot of people do typical senior projects or they’re coaching a team,” Miraldi said. “I really wanted to do something that made a difference. I felt the need to help.
“(Malaria) is a huge problem in Africa and it can be prevented.”
An estimated 767,700 deaths occur in the sub-Saharan portion of Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 90 percent of all malaria deaths in the world.
It’s fitting that the San Jose State-bound senior, with newfound free time, took notice to the plight of malaria’s victims. She is surrounded by good people.
Dr. Scott Kellermann, a Nevada County resident currently in Uganda as a missionary, is Miraldi’s go-to guy. When Miraldi was seeking a way to put her idea in motion, her mother pointed to Kellermann because of his mission in Uganda to help fight the disease. The Kellermann and Miraldi family both went to the same church at the time, Calvary Bible, the same church that Kellermann is doing his mission with.
The good doctor quickly obliged to be the point man in the operation and now Miraldi’s idea is catching on with local businesses. She’s approached numerous companies and they’re latching on to the idea of a pay-for-play kind of deal.
Every time Nevada Union’s volleyball team gets a kill, contributors donate a small dollar amount to the program. Others just donate a flat fee. So far, State Farm Insurance, Northern Home Medical, First Choice Financial, Olympic Home Mortgage and Cornerstone Realty have signed on.
“She’s totally excited about this senior project,” said Miraldi’s mom, April. “And she’s doing a really good job.”
Right now Miraldi has a goal to reach $6,000 in donations before the season is over, a feat which would be enough money to buy 1,000 nets. But even then that might not be enough.
“In one day, they can distribute 1,000 nets easily,” Miraldi said of Kellermann’s efforts.
And Miraldi doesn’t see this senior project being an end to her desire to help, either. She plans to major in nutrition at San Jose State and use her skills abroad one day.
“Eventually, I want to go to Africa and help out with malnutritioned children,” she said.
For more information on “Spike out Malaria” or to donate, contact Kylie Miraldi at email@example.com.
To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
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