Post by Mai
This weekend there is a free event at the Santa Monica pier that shares the reality of the global refugee crisis. The event is called "Forced From Home" with Doctors Without Borders aid workers leading the tour. We will have the opportunity to engage in the stories and materials from refugee camps and emergency medical projects around the world. The tour is supposed to take about an hour go through the tents and sounds so interesting.
A lot of my motivation comes from seeing what a difference Doctors Without Borders have made and are continuing to make around the world. They are the unsung heroes deep in the background that no one really sees other than the people they are treating and helping.
I will be sure to take photos and post them to the Hearts for Hearts Instagram so make sure you check to see them. If anyone is interested in going or is already going, let me know!!
This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to speak at the City of Mission Viejo's monthly City Council meeting. Hearts for Hearts is based in Mission Viejo so the opportunity to speak and share our mission at home is the best place to voice our needs for medical supplies and financial support.
Mayor, Wendy Bucknum, and the whole Committee were supportive about spreading the word and asked how they can help. I told them I am looking for connections at Mission Hospital (CHOC) to see if we can get any expired supplies they may have since in the United States the rules are very strict about utilizing medical supplies that are past their expiration date. Typically these items are discarded but in Ghana, or in the poorest areas of Sri Lanka, these items are very much needed.
If anyone has an "in" at Mission Hospital, in Mission Viejo, or Applied Medical, in Rancho Santa Margarita, I would be very appreciative. You can contact me through this website by scrolling to the very bottom of the page and clicking on the envelope.
Post by Mai
Somehow word got back to Mimi Walters in the 45th District of Congress about what I have been doing with Hearts for Hearts and she gave me an award of Special Congressional Recognition! I was completely surprised and honored by the gesture. Thank you Ms. Walters!!
This past week was the first real week back to school, and the homework has kicked in! I didn't have the time to spend on the foundation the way I would have liked to but was still able to do some research on Sri Lanka.
I decided to do more in depth research for the locations we would be volunteering at in 2018 because it initially didn't look like an area that was seriously in need. We are somewhat limited to the countries and cities Hearts for Hearts can go to based on making sure there is an infrastructure in place to support us. We don't need much other than a place to stay, a driver and a coordinator to help us communicate with the volunteer locations. Without communicating with the locals ahead of traveling, we wouldn't know what supplies are needed and who needs them the most.
We have about seven or eight main locations that we are looking into in Sri Lanka that are possible options. When I research the locations on the internet, I am looking for areas that really need help and not just happy to have a visitor. I want to know that Hearts for Hearts is making a difference even if it is a small one.
On a different note, I was supposed to do a presentation to the Mission Viejo City Council about Hearts for Hearts last Wednesday but decided that probably wasn't the best night to do it. There were several baseball and softball teams in attendance since the RSM Little League team had just been eliminated from the Little League World Series. All the kids were excited to be there and to be acknowledged by the City Council.
I rescheduled to present to the City Council on September 26th, so it gives me even more time to prepare!
One of the biggest risks volunteers are challenged with is the safety of the location they are volunteering in. When I went to Ghana this summer we did a lot of research prior to make sure that we would be safe and out of harms way. We contacted:
The Cape Coast isn't in a war zone nor an area where there was much fear of getting kidnapped or worse. I had an infrastructure in place to keep me out of harms way on this trio, after all, I am 16 years old so I have some obvious limitations to where I can go at this point in my life.
This doesn't mean that I don't plan on traveling to volunteer in more dangerous areas when I am I am out of college because if I am needed, I likely will. My intentions are to become a doctor so I can do more to help people whether they are in areas with more danger or not. I feel it is my purpose in life to help others in need and we will see where it takes me.
Today, August 19th, take a minute to think to pay tribute to aid workers who have risked and lost their lives in humanitarian service.
Post by Mai
So we have decided that the volunteering trip next summer will be Sri Lanka.
We are working with Projects Abroad again to help coordinate a lot of the logistics for when we arrive since they already have such a strong infrastructure in place. When we were in Ghana they made the trip so much easier so all we needed to do was care for the people we were there for.
The locations in Sri Lanka we are reviewing the needs for right now are:
As soon as we get the details about the type of help and medical supplies these locations need we will start soliciting medical supplies. It will be interesting to see what they request because in this area of the world the focus is on a more traditional medicine called Ayurveda. If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda clink on the box below.
The great news for me is I already have had the various vaccines that I am required to have for traveling to Sri Lanka. Once July gets closer I will meet with the travel doctor again to be sure but until then all I need to worry about is a flu shot that I am required to have for volunteering at Saddleback Memorial Hospital.
Post by Mai
Today I had the opportunity to have lunch with Mrs. Cindi Camp and thank her for her generous donation that provided the last minute funding we needed to get the medical donations to Ghana. None of this would be possible without so many people that are either willing to donate funds, medical supplies or a helping hand to pack boxes.
Mrs. Camp has offered to help Hearts for Hearts in a couple of different ways that we are in the process of looking into and working on. She is going to see if there are better and more efficient ways to ship medical supplies to the countries than what we had to endure on the last trip to Ghana. If we can find a better way to get the supplies to the areas that need them sooner it means we could possibly ship a few times a year instead of only once. This would be a really good thing.
We also discussed the various ways to get medical supplies donated and she asked me if I would be willing to present to Western Digital in Irvine, CA to discuss the foundation. Mrs. Camp said that Western Digital works with various 501(c)(3) nonprofits every year and if the board determines that Hearts for Hearts is a good fit they might be able to do a supply drive for us! This would certainly mean that we would have enough supplies that we could send them a few times a year! Next step, I need to get working on a presentation right away!
I am so grateful that there are people in my life that are not only willing to help me but more importantly help others. This first year of Hearts for Hearts has demonstrated how even the simplest things can make a huge difference to others. The experience I had in Ghana volunteering this summer has inspired me to try to do more.
The article about Hearts for Hearts was published this week! Click on the link below to read it.