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Feb 9, 2015

Troubled Teens? Not Ours! They Rock.

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Last year we started a TeenSmart club at Clinica Verde, and we're excited to share with you how it's going. First of all, Our Teen Club is comprised of more than 20 teens from the region we serve. These teens are trained to be peer counselors to other young people in surrounding communities, encouraging engagement, self-esteem, and responsible behavior around smart sexual health and wellbeing. They have a special space at Clinica Verde that they fixed up to be their place for brainstorming, meeting and supporting one another.

Recently, we visited the homes of adolescents in our TeenSmart program. We got to meet their mothers and siblings, and share personally the work we're doing with their young leaders. A couple of our teens also developed the idea to visit an elderly care center. A couple of the students, who are studying nursing, performed blood pressure checks and general health assessments for the elderly in the nearby community of San Nicolas. Other students participated in community service by cleaning windows at the center, served refreshments to the elderly and spent time building new friendships. It was a wonderful day.

This work is guided and overseen by TeenSmart International, a non-profit organization that promotes self care and self-empowerment among teens with the goal of reducing or preventing risky sexual health behavior. Providing peer support and engaging in community service opportunities is key to building self-confidence. We wanted to share photos of some of this work with you. We'll keep you updated as we have more information and data on the program and curriculum. In the meantime, we wanted to share some photos of our teens and action and simply thank you for your ongoing faith and support. We couldn't do our work without you!

Gratefully,

Betsy

Dec 15, 2014

Serving With Love and Compassion

In the last 3 months, Clinica Verde has served 2,628 patient visits, including 350 growth and development consults for children under the age of 5. Thanks to the help of Vitamin Angels, we've been able to distribute Vitamin A supplements to 103 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months; provide multivitamins to 150 children, and serve 164 pregnant women with prenatal controls.

In addition, we've performed 15 PAPs and - something we're very excited about - we've opened our own on-site laboratory, allowing us to better serve and diagnose our cherished patients. As always, our top priority is to serve our patients with quality and compassion, promoting the prevention of illnesses through check-ups and regular education talks. In the past 3 months we've delivered 33 talks on themes including nutrition, dengue, maleria, danger signs of pregnancy and family planning. Our biointensive garden managed by Global Student Embassy also receives visits from our patients, teachers and students from both secondary schools and universities, all of whom learn about the biointensive method of farming and how to create home gardens that amplify the nutrition of families.

In the department of Boaco, where Clinica Verde is located, 23% of pregnancies occur in adolescents, and this number is also an area of focus for us. Thanks to the support of the Strachan Foundation and an alliance with TeenSmart International, our teen club has been actively connecting with area teens to provide education talks and equip our teen leaders with information on sexual reproductive health to share with their peers.

Dina, a Boquena woman born in 1968, is one of the women who we've served with honor, overseeing her pregnancy and the delivery of her baby with quality and compassion. She is a blessing to us, and to all.

We wish all of our supporters a very warm, safe and loving holiday season during this time when we are all called to remember that we are born to serve and support those among us living in need.

Mil gracias.

Celebrating the Purisima at Clinica Verde.
Celebrating the Purisima at Clinica Verde.
The Global Student Embassy team at Clinica Verde.
The Global Student Embassy team at Clinica Verde.
Sep 16, 2014

What inspired me to spend time with Clinica Verde

Kimberly Smith in Empalme de Boaco, Nicaragua
Kimberly Smith in Empalme de Boaco, Nicaragua

In some families the expectations are for the children to be doctors or lawyers, in our family the expectation was always that we give back to our world and our community. Not that giving was your primary job, just that giving should always be part of anything you choose to do.

In college I studied business and political science and graduated with the opportunity to go work with my husband in a small woman-owned real estate corporate housing business in San Francisco. 

Two years into this adventure my father, who was only 53 years old, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within a few months. His life story was one of overcoming adversity and giving back. So it was quite a shock that at the young age of 53 his life would end so abruptly. I got angry at our imperfect world, but I also thought if I am here on this earth for 27 years, 53 years or 100 years I better make sure I make a “contribution” to this world. 

I abruptly quit my job, decided to move back to Denver, and my husband and I decided to start our own real estate corporate housing business. Over the years we did better than most, started two more businesses and continue to run those now 15 years later. But the large cash bucket we had originally envisioned never materialized. What I did realize during those years is the importance to give what you can now and not just wait for some big event in the future. So I challenged myself to figure out what I could do to support my community and my world at each stage of my life and not just at some future point in time. 

I came to learn about Clinica Verde and was invited to join the Board for their annual meeting in Nicaragua. As a mother of two young boys my free time was limited, but I decided a 4-day trip to Nicaragua was something I could do and was the best gift I could give to myself. The next challenge for me was what could I do that fit my limited budget but might be helpful. Not a doctor, I didn’t know where to find medical supplies and I thought there had to be something I could bring with me. I learned that in Nicaragua the kids played baseball and there was even a local baseball field and team. As the mother of two boys who played baseball this was something I was familiar with.

When I arrived in Managua, Nicaragua I was carrying over 100 pounds of baseball equipment.

During our trip to the clinic we met with a local baseball team and had the opportunity to share the items directly with the children. We all had a great time tossing the balls, wearing new hats and laughing a lot. It was a great way to get to know the community we served and support their local recreation.

During this time I was traveling with the Board of Directors for Clinica Verde that also included a number of doctors. The meeting site chosen for me to meet with the baseball team was in front of a family’s home in a rural community outside Boaco where the clinic is located. While I was playing baseball, the doctors went inside to meet with the family. In the home there was a young teenage girl who had recently given birth via c-section and the doctors discovered her incision was deeply infected. The doctors we able to help care for the infection and coordinate for her to visit Clinica Verde.

Some time later I was speaking with Clinica Verde founder Susan Dix Lyons and inquired after the girl’s health. Susan let me know the girl was doing fine. She had come to the clinic and the infection was gone. However, Susan went on to tell me the girl had stolen some surgical gloves during her visit. Shocked I was very confused at why someone who had just been given so much would steal something as small as surgical gloves. Susan went on to tell me the girl had stolen the gloves to fill up with clean water from the clinic to take home to the child. Wow, in that one moment I got some glimpse of how important Clinica Verde was to that community, how even a small amount of clean water could make a difference in someone’s life.

What I first was attracted to with Clinica Verde was how they were able, in just a few short years, to conceive an idea, develop that idea and create a vibrant structure, health system, community center and vision for the future. As we progress with the development of the Boaco facility I develop an even greater appreciation for all the details that the founder’s vision for Clinica Verde incorporated from the water system that now waters the organic garden to the open courtyard that supports educational events. I appreciated that the vision for the first Clinica Verde clinic was to create a “prototype” on which to develop a larger system of clinics that can deliver “Heath and Hope” wherever they are built.

I know the Boaco Clinic is the first, but really it is the foundation on which successful clinics and health cares systems and services can be developed. I appreciate now that “contribution” to our world can be done one small step at a time.

 
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