Dear Friend of the Clinic,
In 2004, I founded a unique non-profit organization located in the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaragua.
Our charity, the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic, is a model nonprofit health clinic located in a poor rural coastal area of Southern Nicaragua.
Most families that live in this region reside in deplorable conditions. They live on dirt roads sharing 2-room tin shacks, often without clean water, in dusty or muddy conditions. There are chronic problems like diabetes, heart conditions, obesity, asthma and preventative diseases.
The Clinic has come a long way over the past decade, helping over 10,000 patients each year with urgent care, in this peaceful and stable region of Central America. The Clinic also goes beyond providing urgent care to the community with our education and outreach services. The kids in the surrounding 15 Nica communities often don’t go to school past the sixth grade, and many don’t go at all. Young people here are lucky if they can get on a career path that takes them beyond doing manual labor for very little income. This past year, working with the community and local schools, we’ve inaugurated several new programs that directly support and educate young people on how to live healthier, more successful lives.
Today I’m writing you about a specific life-saving project that needs support. We urgently need funds to support the Clinic’s most fundamental life-saving service – our 24/7 ambulance service. Our old vehicle of several years needed too many repairs, having to drive in remote areas on bad roads to get to an emergency in a remote location. The community has come to depend on us –as we provide the only emergency response service to much of this entire region. Now we need to do better –with a more modern well-equipped ambulance, plus hire additional experienced drivers. This is an expensive endeavor for our small annual Clinic budget.
As we can all agree, sometimes we take these first responder services for granted. Or we consider them “free”, maybe paid for by taxes. Usually, even in America, this is not the case. Paramedic services are often provided by your local fire station, which often needs donor support to make their budget. So you can imagine, if this is true for a wealthy nation like the US, just how critical even one ambulance is in a community in a poor country like Nicaragua.
Today I’m asking you to help save a life in this wonderful region of the world, because you can so easily. By donating today to our Roberto Clemente Health Clinic, you can help us fund the new ambulance, the equipment and the driver. Our total budget for this service, including purchase of the new vehicle, is $50,000 for 2016. The Oxford Club is providing matching funds through the end of this year.
Let me give you a few real-life examples of what I mean by your donation having a dramatic, positive effect right now:
- Very recently, a little boy named Andy came down with serious pneumonia. His family contacted the Clinic during the night distraught by his poor breathing. They live in a remote neighborhood in this region, on a notoriously bad road, especially since it was the rainy season. The family did not have their own vehicle. Our emergency response vehicle was able to get there through the mud with our team, traveling over 9 miles on this almost impassable road. We were able to stabilize him and get him to a hospital.
- Just last month, down the coast from the Clinic, in a new construction zone, a large truck carrying supplies overturned on a dirt hill. The situation was dire –10 people were injured, 5 critically. Our older emergency vehicle immediately responded with one of our doctors on board. Together with other helping vehicles we were able to stabilize everyone for safe transport to the nearest hospital, located a half hour away. Lives were saved by the Clinic as a result of our quick response to this horrendous accident.
- And this one from our own Energy Analyst, Dave Fessler, whose life was saved by our older first emergency vehicle, after a serious body surfing accident: “I’m extremely thankful for my achievements and the help and encouragement of others that have helped me get to this point of recovery. But the thing I’m most thankful for is a small but growing medical clinic in the southwest corner of Nicaragua. Started by my boss, Julia Guth, The Roberto Clemente Santa Ana Health Clinic is located close to Rancho Santana where I was staying. The Clinic’s emergency vehicle transported me from the beach to their facility. There, the staff administered initial intravenous fluids and other procedures consistent with a spinal cord injury. Were it not for their quick actions and the following of proper protocols, I wouldn’t be writing to you today. So this Thanksgiving, my heartfelt thanks go out to all of those who helped me during those first few critical hours after my accident.”
So we just advanced funds to buy a brand new ambulance that can better navigate poor roads. Now we need to raise funds for this big new expense to the Clinic, plus provide needed equipment for the unit. In addition, the Clinic is seeking funding for a second driver to provide more coverage.
There are many additional reasons to be proud of the Clinic’s contribution to this region, this past year especially. As you can see on our website at nicaclinic.org, there are many ways to support the Clinic, whether it’s making a small, one-time donation of money or in-kind goods, volunteering or sponsoring a child with a recurring monthly donation.
We have a new, large vegetable garden planted behind the Clinic. We started a Healthy Eating Initiative to battle the local high incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, tooth decay, weight gain and anemia.
A lot of what we treat at the Clinic is the direct result of contaminated water. Most families in the community do not have potable water: Their wells are contaminated with bacteria from a nearby septic system or the water is too calcified. We now have our own Water Treatment Plant and distribution system for the community.
We expanded our Volunteer Program. We are seeing an increasing number of nursing and pre-med students from all over the U.S. and Canada come down and volunteer at the Clinic. This is not surprising.
The word is out on Nicaragua as a hot vacation destination and “travel with purpose” has become more popular. Not only is the Clinic an easy place to make a big impact, but also it’s also located right near the Pacific Ocean, where the views are quite spectacular.
I hope you’ll consider joining me, our Clinic team and the local community in making this region an inspiring place for its young people to grow up in.
Nicaragua is still the poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti. There is a tremendous amount of work to do to get Nicaragua up to first-world standards of healthcare and education.
What’s great about our Clinic is that we know how to effect change. Over the past 11 years, we’ve proven how effective we can be – how a little support goes a long way.
And now I’m asking you, in this giving season, to consider the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic as one of your supported charities. We can make a tremendous impact with your donation, immediately with our urgent care services, and now with our new ambulance. We are a donor-supported 501(c)3 incorporated in Maryland, so your donation is 100% tax-deductible. We’ve become an integral part of why the people in this part of Nicaragua continue to strive for a better life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this news on the new ambulance. I’m proud of our new initiatives. Please join me in having an immediate and positive effect on the poor residents of this Nicaraguan region.
My best to you this holiday season,
Julia Cooke Guth
Chair of the Board
The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic
P.S. The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit registered in Maryland. Your donation is 100% tax deductible. Also, The Oxford Club is matching your donation to the ambulance budget, until December 31, 2015.