Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Я еду домой! : I am going home!

Well, not quite.  Actually I am home...right now.  Over the years I have come to call many places my home - Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Francisco, Austin, etc.  One of those many places is Odessa, Ukraine.

I am excited to announce that this summer I am returning home to Odessa to volunteer at the wonderful Ukrainian nonprofit known as The Way Home.  For those of you who read My Trans-Siberian Journey, I appreciate your loyalty in continuing to follow me, regardless of where I go and what I am doing!  You might remember stories about my time in Odessa in 2010.  Volunteering at The Way Home helped me realize how rewarding international volunteer work is.  I admit that I am no Mother Teresa, but I have always known I want to help people in some way, shape or form.  Yesterday, I took one step closer to making my dream of being a professional international volunteer a reality.

The Plan:
This summer, I am going back to The Way Home in Odessa, Ukraine to volunteer.  This time, when I show up and they ask me, "What do you want to do?" I won't stare back at them dumbfounded by the question.  I know what I want to do - I want to start a medical outreach program that serves the vulnerable populations found in Odessa.  I will be in Odessa for 4 weeks volunteering at a clinic that currently works with The Way Home.  While I am there, I will get a better idea how I can organize a volunteer based program that helps The Way Home treat the street kids, drug users and homeless who reside in Odessa.  

The Preparations:
In preparation for this trip, I am brushing up on my Russian language skills.  I have also picked up a Pocket Medical Russian book to help me learn vital phrases.  
I am looking into potential medical distributers that will donate supplies that I can take with me or have shipped.  I am learning more medical skills from my role model, my MD dad.  I will also be seeking help from people who have set up similar aid programs or have volunteered for an international medical program.  I need to look into the rules and regulations regarding shipping medical supplies, and regarding practicing medicine without a Ukrainian license in the event that my dad wants to come help me get this project started.

The Future:
If this summer goes the way I hope it will, I will start the paperwork to make this program a 501c3 nonprofit organization.  I will start writing grant proposals and look for a team that is passionate about my vision.  I will fundraise and start planning for the following summer - look for more suplies, volunteers and funding.  Hopefully I can use my future Physician Assistant (PA)  program to help me recruit enthusiastic PA students to go abroad and deliver medical care.  Lastly, I will come up with a good name for this organization!  

Links to previous blog - My Trans-Siberian Journey:
My Kids
Through your Eyes
Social Patrol

No comments:

Post a Comment