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Dec 13, 2012

2 Stories To Make Your Day ...

The CV staff with Maria Urbina and her family.
The CV staff with Maria Urbina and her family.

Dear Awesome Supporters:

This year, we've served 11,702 patients at Clinica Verde. That's pretty awesome. But while numbers are important to help us plot our progress, they tell only part of the story. 

With that in mind, we want to share with you 2 short stories that we think will tell you a lot about Clinica Verde. But first: One of our top 3 goals for Clinica Verde in 2012 was to create an organizational culture that reflects our mission. This is both a tough thing to do and a tough thing to explain to supporters. It can't be quantified - but it's vital to who we are and our success. We think these stories will help you understand what that means - and we hope that you'll be as proud of the staff at Clinica Verde as we are. 

A Baby Who Wouldn't Stop Crying

A single mother named Maria Urbina Mendez from the village of El Tule showed up at the clinic carrying her 7-month-old baby, Danilo, and accompanied by her 5-year-old daughter, Maria Jesus. It was clear to the staff immediately that they were all malnourished. The baby, Clinic Director Dr. Alba Castillo reported, appeared to be only 2 months old, and the little girl looked like a 3-year-old. The Clinica Verde nurses and doctors attended to their needs. 

One of our nurses, Jasmina Diaz, noted that the baby wouldn't stop crying. She asked the mother, "Why does she cry?" The mother responded that the baby was hungry. Jasmina suggested the mother give the baby her breast to nurse. The mother said, "I have no milk." Jasmina consulted with Dr. Nubia Huete and they gave the baby some sugared water. The baby stopped crying immediately. Jasmina and Dr. Huete wanted to help this family. They asked the rest of the Clinica Verde staff if they would contribute to a collection to provide the family with basic foods and supplies. They made an appointment for Maria and her family to come back, and when the young family returned the staff of Clinica Verde presented them with all that they had gathered and donated: clothes for the entire family, food, diapers, wipes. "It was a happy and emotional day for the whole staff," Dr. Castillo reported. 

None of the staff at Clinica Verde is wealthy. They all have families and scarce resources themselves. But they understand the mission to serve with love and compassion the poorest of the poor. We were so proud and pleased to hear this story, and feel confident that our staff understands what it means to work at Clinica Verde.

Reaching Out to the Elderly

As a maternal-infant clinic, we can't serve everyone at Clinica Verde. We never turn a needy patient away, but our focus is on women and children. However, practicing our mission in the communities we serve is important to our organization. It's who we are. Recently, we received this story of service in practice: 

From CV Director Dr. Alba Castillo: "This afternoon, the CV team went together to the Boaco nursing home. It was a wonderful experience to share time with our old people and bring not only the healthcare they need, but also to show them affection and respect. Everyone was very happy - both the Clinica Verde team and the elderly we spent time with. Our team showed a lot of compassion and love towards the sweet elderly people. In addition to medical care and love we gave donated adult diapers, medicines and materials they needed, and also brought along a small snack. The smiles on their faces were drawn with joy. We talked and sang together, and they thanked us for our visit. This is not the last but the first of many visits. It was wonderful." 

* * *

So, dear supporters: Thanks, as always, for supporting our work in the world! We wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and thank you for your compassion and generosity.

Local residents at the Boaco Nursing Home.
Local residents at the Boaco Nursing Home.


Oct 11, 2012

Clinica Verde: What's going on at the clinic?

Dr. Castillo and Scarleth Baca @ Clinica Verde.
Dr. Castillo and Scarleth Baca @ Clinica Verde.

Hola, Amigos!

Checking in with all of our awesome supporters at Global Giving! We continue to be busy at Clinica Verde, routinely seeing more than 1,000 patients per month. From January 2012 until the end of September 2012, Clinica Verde served 9,752 patients, primarily mothers, women and children. 

Having just returned from a visit to Clinica Verde in September, I can report personally that the clinic is operating well, with a dedicated staff and a motivated, ambitious director. All of our staff is Nicaraguan, and our work to share and build on our mission of service with love and compassion to the poor is manifest each day. It's a joy to see.

We continue to focus on developing a culture of service, quality and teamwork among our staff (this work will never end!). In July, Dr. Alba Castillo began as our Clinic Director and quickly moved our team and effort forward. Having worked in leadership positions for the Ministry of Health of Nicaragua and with USAID-funded projects, Dr. Castillo, a pediatrician by training, is well-positioned to professionalize our reporting and data collection. She is excited to be working in the environment of Clinica Verde and has proven both creative and industrious. 

At Clinica Verde, we continue to work on developing partnerships. We’re working regularly with the Peace Corps (volunteers provide education at Clinica Verde each Tuesday), Juan XXIII, Metanoia Foundation, and the American Nicaraguan Foundation, and we are in the beginning stages of working collaboratively with USAID.

Some of our immediate goals include:

  • Upgrading our inventory systems.
  • Develop a plan for continuing education for our medical staff.
  • Create a special area for Oral Rehydration for children with diarrhea.
  • To continue to refine our clinic accounting practices and protocols to integrate with our U.S. accounting and meet best practices.
  • Continue our monthly program with the volunteer dentists who come from Managua to deliver dental hygiene education to children and their mothers.
  • Implement a basic, straightforward medical record system for tracking health outcomes.
  • Hire an OB/gyn to replace our former OB/gyn (who had a car accident and is in long-term recovery).
  • Work with the Board of Directors for the upcoming Annual Meeting to come up with a Strategy for the coming year.

There is much good work to be done! 

Our annual charity fund-raiser takes place on Saturday, Nov. 10 in the Napa Valley. Pray for our success! You can check out our video promo here:

Thanks as always for being the kind of people you are – caring, compassionate, with a global vision of progress. We are so grateful for your interest in our work in the world.



One of our patients.
One of our patients.
A recent visit by USAID.
A recent visit by USAID.


Aug 21, 2012

Cafetin Verde: A Small Business Success Story!

Cony Acevedo and Kelli Stam at Cafetin Verde
Cony Acevedo and Kelli Stam at Cafetin Verde

Clinica Verde was designed with a small cafe connected to the clinic, as a place where patients could relax and buy healthy food while offering a small business opportunity for a member of the local community. Cony de Fatima Acevedo Corrales stepped forward to take on the business. However, we quickly realized Cony could benefit from small business counseling to learn how to manage her costs and market her business. Enter Kelli Stam. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Kelli attended college at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. After school, she jumped into the world of advertising, developing brands such as the Colorado Lottery, ESPN, Virgin, Sony and more.

But after a while, Kelli decided it was time to use her work to do good and to give back. She hung up her advertising agency career (at least for now) and entered the Peace Corps. She now lives and works in Boaco, Nicaragua as a small business development volunteer. Her primary work is in high schools in the community, training teacher counterparts to teach a kick-ass class called Emprendedurismo to juniors and seniors. In this class, the students learn how to start and maintain a business and the class takes the form of a project in which they form groups and start their very own businesses. In addition, Kelli advises small business owners in the Boaco community.

Kelli was just what we needed to help Cony get off and running. Now, Kelli meets with Cony once a week to help her develop and improve her business. We asked Kelli to tell us about the experience.

Tell us a little about what you're doing to develop Cafetin Verde with Cony.

 Clinica Verde is located outside of the city center of Boaco and while there are many buses and taxis that pass by there is no foot traffic like there is in the city. The Cafetin, located in the front part of the Clinic, is new and was without a name and had no visibility.

Given this situation, Cony and I worked together to present a recommendation to the Clinic for a name: Cafetin Verde. And then worked on getting signage, which is now up!

In addition, we have identified other areas of need for the business and are tackling those issues over the coming months. Our action plan includes more publicity and awareness for the Cafetin Verde (we plan to make some simple brochures), implementation of a basic accounting system in order to track costs and income (which we have already put in place), and the development of a unique food product in order to draw people in for something that they can only get at the Cafetin Verde (we are thinking healthy smoothies).

 What has been the biggest challenge?

Working with Cony has been amazing. She is a dream project for a Peace Corps volunteer since she truly wants the help and truly wants to improve.

The biggest challenge is the lack of disposable income that the communities have to spend on food outside of the home. The communities that the Clinic serves are some of the poorest communities and it is challenging to establish prices that allow us to do much more than cover Cony’s costs.

 What's the goal?

Our goal is to find ways to save costs and increase Cony’s profits so that she can sustain a healthy business for both her clients and for her family’s needs.

 What brings you the greatest satisfaction working on this project?

Generally speaking, I get the greatest satisfaction from the sense that I get that Cony feels supported and empowered, that she has an advocate in me, and someone who she can trust. In terms of specific successes and the resulting satisfaction from them, I am confident that day has yet to come.

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