This week's volunteers brought us some surprises! Among all the 50:50 campaigns, over $4500 were raised for the MEDLIFE General Fund! Read below about two of the most outstanding campaigns to learn how they fundraised for the campaign and hear about their experience in Lima so far. Find out more about the 50:50 campaign here.

steph-5050-2014Name: Stephanie Wizner
Amount raised: $3530

What made you decide to do the 50:50 campaign? The campaign gave me a great platform through which I could pay for the volunteer trip, as well as raise some money for the different stair projects in Lima. I sent an e-mail with the staircase pictures showing potential donors how far their money could stretch, and where it was going exactly.

How did you raise the money for your campaign? A lot of it I have to thank my co-workersI'm not in school anymore, which means I'm not hustling poor students for donations. I started working in a corporate environment early this year. Fundraising in an office worked to my advantage since the vast majority of my co-workers were willing to donate to an aid trip across the world. Most of my work colleagues were middle-aged with families. A vast majority of my colleagues were eager to help fund my trip since they were not in the position to implement change physically. However, they could help financially by donating towards the 50:50 campaign as well as sending me out to Lima. My mother was a huge help too!

Why would you recommend that volunteers participate in the 50:50 campaign? When you're asking for donations, it's a lot easier to present a campaign to potential donators where they know where the money is going.

What is your favorite part about the Mobile Clinic so far? Definitely the children! Talking to the kids on clinic has given me an insight into their day-to-day lives. They all have so much hope, and aspire to be doctors, lawyers, veterinarians and chefs. They all had amazing dreams, which gives me real hope for their futures.

What were your impressions of Lima? It´s very diverse, some areas seem very Westernized like New York city; really up and coming. However, there are areas that I've experienced on Mobile Clinic that you would never normally see as a tourist in Lima, which has given me a whole new perspective on this economically diverse city.

martina-5050-2014Name: Martina L'Abbate
Amount raised: $2565

How did you first hear about MEDLIFE? I heard about MEDLIFE through my sister who studied at Cornell and plans on becoming a doctor, and she heard about the mobile clinic trip while at school.  She went to Ecuador, loved it, and came back with all these awesome stories, and since I want to be a physician assistant, I thought it would be a great life-changing experience, so I chose to go to Peru.

What made you decide to do the 50:50 campaign? If I was going to come to Peru, I figured that I would go all out since MEDLIFE needs the money to fund all of its programs.  Simply asking for five dollars from everyone really raised a lot of money not only for me,but for MEDLIFE as well, and I feel pretty good about that.

How did you raise the money for your campaign? I work at gymnastics gym, so I put up a flyer, and it ended up attracting a lot of the kids who kept showing their parents, "Mom, look what she's going to do!". Most of the money came from family members, my dad's boss, and others through word of mouth.

Why would you recommend that students participate in the 50:50 campaign? In America, we don't realize how good we have it.  My first day here I looked at the conditions that some of these communities are in and I almost was crying because back home I complain about trivial things like slow Wifi. We can donate so much without having to financially drain ourselves, and I think that we should give what we can when we have it.

Our chapter at Wayne State University founded just last October fundraised $2000 towards building a Wawa Wasi day care center roof in Lima, Peru! Read our Q&A below on their motivations for fundraising and hopes for this project:

What it is that motivated your chapter to fundraise for a MEDLIFE project?

The main factor that motivated us to fundraise for a MEDLIFE project was to have a specific goal that we could tell our chapter. This is Wayne State's first year as a MEDLIFE chapter and it is crucial to get as many people together for support. One idea that our e-board decided on was to fund a specific MEDLIFE project so that our members would have a concrete idea of what our money was going towards and they would be more motivated to work toward our goal. This way, we developed a strong member pool in our first year and have set a firm foundation for the years to come.

Why did you choose this particular project to support?

The main reason to fundraise for Wawa Wasi was because we are partnered with a local organization, Woodbridge Community Youth Center. They focus on providing a safe, studious, and nutritious environment for the youth of Detroit during after school hours, when their parents are still at work. Instead of the children spending time at home or in their neighborhoods unsupervised and getting influenced by the negative environment that surrounds them, the organization provides them a positive environment with volunteer tutors to help the children with school work. Similarly, Wawawasi provides a safe and nutritious environment to the children of Peru so the mothers can go out and continue their education or work and seeing the impact Woodbridge has on the Detroit Community, we wanted to fundraise for the similar cause to create a large impact on their community.

How did you fundraise for the project?

We fundraised for this project with several different small events: bake sales (including samosas!), friendship bracelet sales, change wars, Donors Play, and henna tattoos. Also, our Masquerade dance fundraised about $440 that went directly to the fundraiser; our remarkable e-board worked hard on every fundraising event and donated a lot of their time and money so everything we made during the fundraisers was 100% profit. We fundraised for a total of about six months and reached our goal of $2000 on point!

What do you hope to see come out of this project?

We hope that more mothers are able to feel relieved that their children are in a safe and nutritious environment, and they take advantage of the opportunity to educate themselves or find a job so they can provide additional income to the household. In addition to the extra monetary flow through the families, we believe that once the children are in an environment that can give them the resources and tools they need, they can build their future on the pillars of success. Through this project, we hope to see a sustainable impact in the lives of the families living in the area.

Has your chapter participated on a Mobile Clinic before?

We have had three people from our chapter go on a Mobile Clinic, and one person will be tagging along with Michigan State during the May 5 Mobile Clinics. Of the three students who went, we had one go with the University of Michigan chapter to Ecuador in December, and the other two students went to Lima, Peru in March.

Kourtney Wathen is a student from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington who raised $2,585 for her trip to Riobamba, Ecuador through the 50:50 campaign this past spring. Read below to learn about how she fundraised for the campaign and her experience in Riobamba, and read more about the 50:50 campaign here.

How did you first hear about MEDLIFE?
We had a speaker come and talk to us and show us a presentation. We didn't have a chapter yet, but after that talk, we started a chapter during my freshman year.kourtneywathen
What made you decide to do the 50:50 campaign?
I decided to do the 50:50 campaign after discussing the trip with my parents. They wanted to help, but they did not want to pay entirely out of their own pocket, and they felt that I was responsible enough to figure out my own financial endeavors. I agreed with them totally, but I wasn't sure how I was going to do it on my own. Being a full-time student with no job, it can be difficult to fund mission trips like the MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics.

How did you raise the money for your campaign?
I started by composing a letter, roughly one page long, about my mission, and I explained the goals of MEDLIFE as an organization. I elaborated on the purpose of the 50:50 campaign, and I concluded with the link to my page. Next, I printed out these letters and addressed them to local businesses in my home town and hand-delivered them. I got way more responses than I thought I ever would. I also posted my link almost every other day on my social networking sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I kept up the publicity on my trip and always included a little fact or a story to go along with my post to keep people interested. I also sent out an email to all of my friends and family with a summarized version of the initial letter that I wrote. I made a presentation in my church and asked for their support. Overall, I was overwhelmed by the number of people that donated to my mission trip. I come from a very loving, close-knit community, and for that, I am beyond grateful.

Why would you recommend that students participate in the 50:50 campaign?
I would recommend that students participate in the program because it is a great way to raise money for MEDLIFE as an organization. It really opens up the possibility for a lot of students to go if they put in the work for it. I know there are many students that are just like me that might need help funding volunteer trips like this, and the campaign makes it possible.

What was your favorite part about the Mobile Clinic?
The people were what made my Mobile Clinic experience memorable. In terms of stations, I really enjoyed inscriptions because I really got to talk to the people. I am a Spanish major, so I got to use all of my Spanish to really connect and interact with the people.  During my time at the toothbrush station, I met a young girl and we talked one on one for several minutes. She was laughing and was just so happy to be there; I felt we really connected.

What were your impressions of Riobamba?
I really enjoyed Riobamba. It was an unforgettable, eye-opening experience. Seeing the differences in culture, poverty, and even food was really interesting. It baffles me that some communities live in such desolate conditions, and it has led me to think about and be thankful for what I have, and for being able to go on that mission to Ecuador in the first place.


Here at MEDLIFE, we're always proud to see our newest chapters hosting events and delivering Medicine Education and Development to their local communities. Our chapter at the University of Nevada, Reno was founded just last semester in September 2013. Since its founding, the chapter has hosted various events and fundraisers and sent a group of students to a Mobile Clinic in Lima, Peru in January. Last week, a group of 18 students from MEDLIFE Nevada and the American Medical Student Association participated in an event with Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity to help construct homes in that community. We interviewed Lucia Sanchez about the event, co-founder and president of her chapter who has participated in multiple clinics herself and has always been a great support to our organization. Read more about the chapter's service event below:

Why did you decide to host this particular community service event?
We decided to host this community service event with Habitat for Humanity because this organization gave our members the opportunity to give back to individuals of low income by providing development through the construction of houses. Their work is analogous to the development projects that MEDLIFE hosts when volunteers participate in mobile clinics.
Why did you think it was important?
Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, volunteer based organization that helps provide low income families the opportunity to seek homeownership in the Truckee Meadows community since 1991. As a chapter of MEDLIFE, our mission is to provide MEDs (Medicine, Education, and Development) to communities around the world and in our very own community. As such, it is important for our chapter to give back to help touch the lives of those who deserve a place to live.

How did you get involved with Habitat for Humanity?
Our mobile clinic officer who focuses on community relations, Jake Eisert, contacted Habitat for Humanity and set a date for which we are able to volunteer.

Do you plan on doing this event in the future?
Yes, our members had a great time working with this organization and it was amazing to see the work that volunteers put in in order to create something that benefits so many people. Towards the end of our workday, the construction manager showed us a house that was completed 100% by the work put in by volunteers and it was absolutely breathtaking to see what the dedication of a group of individuals can do for a community.

What differences did you find working on this project in your local community compared to your project abroad with MEDLIFE?
The difference between working this project and the project with MEDLIFE is that we took part in a project that we did not necessarily see from start to finish like a stair project in Pamplona Alta. However, even though we did not take part of the whole process here, we still got the same feeling of excitement and joy knowing that what we made will help improve the lives of others. Whether it was plastering or putting up drywall, carrying buckets of cement or painting a mural what you are doing means so much more than you probably realize. That the smile on someone's face means that you have impacted them forever.

February 20, 2014 4:50 pm

A Volunteer's Campaign: The Gift of Giving

Written by Ebony Bailey


Every year around her birthday, University of Michigan student Leighann Cohen reminisces on her previous year and the events that inspired her to give back. Last August, Leighann had the opportunity to participate in the first-ever MEDLIFE volunteer trip to Tanzania, so for her 20th birthday, she decided to give back to the organization that gave her an eye-opening experience.

Instead of asking for material gifts, Leighann started a campaign that asked her family and friends to use that money and donate it to MEDLIFE instead. Her campaign started on her birthday, October 28th, and continued on until New Year's Day of 2014. Over the span of three months, she reached out to an array of people, from close friends and family to sorority and fraternity networks at her university, to donate to her cause. She wrote a letter to her prospective supporters to explain her cause:

“As I begin the final month of my teenage years, I face adulthood with a new appreciation for the world and the billions of people I share it with. For my 20th birthday, I would like to do something different. Although there is always something one could buy me that would make me smile, the something that I really want this year is your help in changing the lives of people that are in need of change. For my birthday, I want to know that I have done what I can to give back to all of the people that have changed my life this summer,” an exerpt from her letter.  

From all of the support she received, she raised a total of $1,235  for the MEDLIFE fund.

“My experience with MEDLIFE was one that truly gave me direction in life,” she said. “The communities we traveled to and the people we interacted with touched my heart. Despite the immense language barrier, every day brought new and exciting friendships and lessons.”

Her inspiration for the campaign started from her trip to Tanzania with MEDLIFE last August, and particularly from her experience in a community called Kikavu. The clinic in Kikavu was set up in an old dispensary that was once funded by a foreign organization who had since stopped their support. Because of this, Leighann's group did not expect many people to show up for the clinic and thought that MEDLIFE would have to build back the community's trust. To their surprise, nearly 300 children, adults and elderly were attended to at the clinic that day. “I cried out of happiness as our bus pulled out of Kikavu,” she said. “I think that seeing this, especially on my first day of mobile clinics, solidified the true impact MEDLIFE's work has on underserved and impoverished people around the world.”
Leighann strongly encourages that other students fundraise for MEDLIFE in a similar manner.

“One's social networks most often are full of people with similar interests to yours,” she said. “School organizations are also a fantastic way to get the word out.”

Thank you, Leighann, for all of your dedication and support to MEDLIFE! We wish you much success in your future endeavours.


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