NAMPA — Despite a busy freshman year at Northwest Nazarene University, Annie Gorman still finds time to incorporate her love of baking into work with the nonprofit Compassion for Africa.
The organization’s purpose is to create micro-economic projects in several African countries. The nonprofit was created by her father, who is a professor at NNU.
Gorman’s main focus is selling cupcakes and other baked goods to raise money to build a medical clinic in Ghana.
The Skyview High School graduate moved from Colorado her junior year and quickly became involved as a teacher’s aide in special education classes at SHS. It was in these classes, she realized her compassion for helping others.
“The way I see it is that people don’t always think that people with mental disabilities can really take in new information and grow,” she said. “Just being able to watch them learn and improve … it was just incredible to realize that I helped them learn — they are still capable, shattering people’s expectation.”
Gorman has raised about $6,000 from baking and selling nearly 40 different types of cupcakes. The clinic will cost around $55,000, and the nonprofit has already sent $40,000. She hopes to visit Ghana this summer to visit the completed clinic.
She also tutors multiple times per week, adding to her busy schedule. Gorman is pursuing a Master’s of Special Education — a program she said she can complete in five years through extensive field work.
NNU has been a change from SHS, she said, but a good one.
“It gives you the opportunity to branch out and try different things,” she said. “If you really need to, you can have the day off to yourself, then at the same time, you don’t have your parents there making you go to class.”
What is your favorite memory from high school or college so far?
“I think it was the second day of school at NNU. We have this scavenger hunt and it was pretty intense, but there was this one game where guys had to give girls piggy-back rides. ... My team won, so I was the last person standing.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve face so far?
“I have a bone disease, so anything physical is really difficult and I’ve had roughly 11 surgeries, and total hip and knee replacements, femur replacement. So just being able to walk around campus, a few years ago that would not have been possible. Every morning getting out of bed is a challenge, constant pain. I don’t think there’s been one extreme physical challenge, just kind of all a challenge.”
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
“That we could just magically find all the money we need for the medical clinic to get done. My goal is to go to Ghana this summer to see it finished and that won’t happen if it’s not finished. I know this little boy who is dying, well is in remission from leukemia. He keeps getting sick and it’s not going to last much longer. I just wish he was not sick at all. (I will) pass (the third wish) on to someone else.”
If you could give a piece of advice to someone your age, what would it be?
“Don’t let others’ expectations of you control your life. You can be subconsciously preventing yourself from just achieving so many things by just thinking that ‘they don’t think that I can do this, so I don’t think that I can do this.’ You need to have faith in yourself to do anything.”