Primeros Pasos

Jul 1, 2011

Springing ahead for More Success over Summer 2011

Dutch Ambassador Visits Primeros Pasos Clinic
Dutch Ambassador Visits Primeros Pasos Clinic
Inter-American Health Alliance (IAHA)
Quarterly Update - June 2011
Dear Friends,

Although we're in the midst of the rainy season, the last three
months have been extremely busy for the Inter-American Health
Alliance (IAHA) and our partner organizations in Guatemala. Our
tireless staff and volunteers have been hard at work serving the
rural population of the Western highlands, providing top-notch
medical care and much needed health education for local children and
women.  Highlights from the spring include:
  • Completion of the CHILA Health Clinic Several successful fundraising
    events including GlobalGiving and the Bidding for Good Auction  
  • The addition of Versy Giron as the new Director of Children's Health
    Education at Primeros Pasos Rachel Kitch joining the team as the
    full-time Volunteer Coordinator for Primeros Pasos  
  • A visit from the Dutch Ambassador 
  • Over 2,100 patients effectively served in the first five months of 2011
    at the Primeros Pasos Clinic as part of the Walk-In Consultation program  
  • Completion of half of the Healthy School visits, covering
    five of ten Palanjunoj Valley schools resulting in over 1,500 annual
    exams for children who live in rural areas 
  • Planning of both the IAHA and Primeros Pasos board turnovers
We also have several exciting events quickly approaching in the next
quarter, including the first annual Concurso de Fotografia contest
and additional mobile clinics into the schools at the outskirts of
the Valley. More information on recent and upcoming events can be
found below. We hope you enjoy the rest of the quarterly newsletter
and have a wonderful summer!

With best regards,
IAHA, Primeros Pasos & CHILA, Inc.
New Primeros Pasos Team Member
Volunteer Coordinator
We are excited to welcome Rachel Kitch to the Primeros Pasos family
as the new Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant to the Director. She arrived in mid-June from the United States after finishing her undergraduate degree at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Rachel has been engaged with Latin America for years. Throughout college, she spent considerable time as a Volunteer Coordinator at the Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley. In these clinics, she worked with mostly uninsured patients, many of whom were from the Latin community. With the administrative staff, Rachel established new programs, translated education materials, and acted as an interpreter between doctors and patients. She also studied for a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina and volunteered for a summer in Peru. Her experience and Spanish skills will be put to good use here in Guatemala by improving opportunities for volunteers, matching their skills with the needs of the clinic, and assisting with other administrative tasks. Welcome Rachel! ----------- Children's Health Education Director We are also excited that Versy Giron was able to join us in April as the new Children´s Health Education Director. Born and raised in Quetzaltenango, Versy started at Primeros Pasos as a volunteer Educator in January. Her dedication, commitment to the program and experience as a teacher and studies in Psychology and Human Resources made her a perfect candidate for the available program director position. Today, Versy is responsible for all elements of the children´s program. This involves coordinating each school's visit to the clinic and scheduling all of our mobile clinics. Beyond program administration and outreach, she continues to use her talents to teach the children´s workshops as well. Her passion to contribute to her community is an invaluable asset as she communicates the importance of personal hygiene to students. Teaching students how to brush their teeth, when to wash their hands, and what bacteria are can have a big impact on their health in a very practical way. Versy makes all of those lessons possible. We are proud to have her as a part of our team!
Mobile Clinics
Throughout the year, Primeros Pasos provides health education and yearly check ups for hundreds of children that attend nearby schools. But a few times each year, we get the opportunity to take our clinics and classes on the road to children who attend schools in more remote regions. In April we served nearly 400 students in the Candelaria and Tierra Colorada Alta districts. Beginning mid-July, plan are to visit Bella Vista and Las Majadas to serve over 500 more students. Mobile clinics are just one more example of our staff providing access to quality healthcare in rural communities. ----------------------
Global Giving Update Thanks for all who contributed to Primeros Pasos and the Inter-American Health Alliance during the GlobalGiving Open Challenge over the month of April. Many of the contributions were made at a fundraising event in Washington, D.C. by board members of IAHA. The event was hosted by Julie Savoie and was very successful. With everyone´s help, we raised over $5,000, which means that are now permanent members of the GlobalGiving network! We are very excited about his opportunity. Our membership in the network both expands our visibility to a variety of givers around the world and provides one more outlet for us to share our mission with potential partners. If you would like to visit the site or give through this platform, visit
Remember, a gift of only $10 can fund clinical care and
health education for one child for a full year!

Bidding for Good
Throughout April, over 60 items were auctioned off to benefit the
work of IAHA and its members through the Bidding for Good website. Our generous bidders were rewarded with
everything from Guatemalan crafts, to hand-made jewelry, to trips on
hot air balloons - and helped us raise just under $1,000 to improve
health in rural Guatemala. A big thank you to all who bid!

This has been an amazing career enhancing experience in health
promotion. I hope to volunteer again for the clinic next year!¨
~ Louise Choquette, Children´s Health Education Volunteer

CHILA Health Clinic

Residents of rural communities are the main targets of our health
initiatives in Guatemala. With such a large population spread over a
huge geographical area, Primeros Pasos is forced to focus its efforts
specifically in the southern Palajunoj Valley. The completion of the
CHILA health clinic in Chisec, AltaverPas, now provides the people of
the rural, northern regions with unprecedented access to clinical
care. A team led by Brian Goff Smith, CHILA’s president and
founder, put the final touches on the facility in April. They
installed sinks in the clinic rooms, put in all the florescent
lighting, and built a display case for the CHILA quilt. While in
Chisec, the team also found time to help 18 families replace their
roofs with corrugated tin roofs.

CHILA is a partner in the Inter-American Health Alliance that aims to
provide quality clinical care and children's health education
programs in regions where both are currently unavailable, while
building on a dynamic partnership with a local women's group. We're
thrilled to be one step closer to having medical teams in the clinic!
- Concurso de Fotografia is the first annual photo contest hosted by Primeros Pasos. This is a great opportunity to show off your photography skills and help raise money for the clinic. Entries must be photos taken within the last year and relate to the theme, Environment and Architecture. Photos may be submitted via email and must be recieved by July 3rd. Three winners will be chosen based on the number of Facebook "likes" and three will be chosen by a panel of expert judges. Then the top twelve pictures will be turned into a calendar that will be sold to benefit Primeros Pasos. Check out the facebook page at 
- Ragnar Relays ( is an excellent opportunity to race and raise money to support the
IAHA. The race takes place in Washington, D.C. September 23-24. Teams
are composed of 12 people, with each team member running 10-20 miles
of the 200 mile overnight race, lasting nearly 36 hours in all. Team
members commit to training and fundraising by contacting friends,
family, colleagues, and local organizations and/or holding small
fundraisers in their respective cities. Personal costs will be
minimal. The cost of race registration and food will likely be offset
by donations from supporters, although travel to race site is not
included. Megan Dunning, a former Primeros Pasos volunteer and member
of the IAHA Board of Directors, is organizing the IAHA team and needs
six additional teammates. If you or someone you know might be
interested, please email her at

- Stay tuned for more details about an upcoming IAHA fundraiser in
Wahington, D.C. this Fall 2011.  If you´re interested in getting involved
with the planning or holding an event in your city, please contact
Brent Savoie at

- Join us on  facebook ( or visit the websites below to receive frequent updates on
all IAHA and partner activity!

Inter-American Health Alliance -
Primeros Pasos -
CHILA, Inc. -

New Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel Kitch
New Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel Kitch
Lab Sample Review
Lab Sample Review
2011 Mobile Clinic at Candeleria
2011 Mobile Clinic at Candeleria
New Chilren
New Chilren's Health Education Dir. Versy Giron
Walk-in Consultation
Walk-in Consultation
Valley children ready for their Annual Health Exam
Valley children ready for their Annual Health Exam
Team of dedicated staff reviewing patient
Team of dedicated staff reviewing patient's needs



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Project Leader

Jamie De Guzman Pet

Clinic Director
Quetzaltenango, Quetzaltenango Guatemala

Where is this project located?

Map of Primeros Pasos