Monday evening I attended the last lecture of the Fall 2017 Saul O Sidore Lecture Series here at Plymouth State University. In 1979 the Sidore Lecture Series was established by PSU and the Sidore Memorial Foundation after his work with humanitarianism. This years brochure writes “the series brings a wide variety of speakers to campus to address critical issues and events in politics, society, and culture, topics that reflect Sidore’s interests”.
For those interested in attending a lecture in the future:
All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. A reception follows each lecture. Lectures are presented in the Smith Recital Hall in the Silver Center for the Arts, unless otherwise noted. For more info feel free to contact the Silver Center directly.
Advocating For Kids
I had the pleasure to listen to Irwin Redlener speak about the challenges children face trying to access health care. Redlener is the co-founder of the Children’s Health Fund, which was created to develop health care programs across the nation. This initiative was created to target 25 of the most medically deprived communities, both rural and urban. In addition, he is the founder and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. The center focuses on the vulnerability of children during and after large-scale disasters. I was sitting at the edge of my seat I listened to him speak, for the first time since creating my Global Health major I was listening to someone speak who was doing exactly what I hope for with my future. Through this experience I was able to get his email and the title of his latest book, The Future of Us: What the Dreams of Children Mean for 21st Century America. The book pinpoints ” inadequate education, barriers to health care, and crushing poverty make it overwhelmingly difficult for many children to realize their dreams”.
As I was scrolling though my daily Twitter feed I came across a photo posted by Voices of Youth’s twitter account. Needless to say it was one of those moments where I sat and thought of how fortunate I am to have the life I do.
Each day we take the luxuries of our every day lives for granted whether we realize this or not. Clean water, electricity, Wi-fi, free education and yes, tampons are only some of the many luxuries we are lucky to have. It’s twitter posts like the one above that us women (sorry fellas) do not think twice about each month. Hearing or seeing information about health problems such as lack of accessibility to feminine products is what only furthers my desire to find ways to improve health policy, whether it be local or global.
As a child our parents might have repromanded us and told us to go to our room or sit in the common area till we understood what we did was wrong. Now take a moment, and think about being forced into one of those rooms because of something entirely out of your own control? As women, we cannot fight mother nature, we cannot decide when she will make her monthly appearance and we certainly can’t ignore her. Women in Nigeria each month must stay home during the duration of their menstruation, some might be forced away from the public eye and kept in secret rooms. Why can I live my life normally each month? Why can I go to school and soccer practice each day while other women suffer? I have found it to be a hard pill to swallow when you realize you cannot help someone in the blink of an eye, when you can’t help someone over the span of year. Improvement takes time. Improving health policies based on non-governmental and governmental funding can be key in helping women live a normal life each month, it can help these women realize there isn’t shame in things out of their control. As I thought about this topic I couldn’t help but think back to my research article topic: Who Are We to Help People?, I can’t help but think what if these women don’t want funding, what if this is apart of their cultural beliefs? Who am I to tell them they shouldn’t stay in a room and out of public while they menstruate? It’s as easy as reading a simple tweet that you might forget how much another culture may differ from your own.
It is common to hear people say they want to change the world, to improve the lives of the poor or even impact the lives of those who are in dire need. These phrases are constantly thrown around with significant meaning or little to none. The question that never seems to surface often is do the people want your help?
When I began high school I decided I wanted to become a nurse one day. The obvious “why” or “for what reason” has always been a reoccurring question in my life. What has changed over time is my
outlook. I always replied “I want to help people” or “I want to make a difference in someone’s life”. Never did I respond “the idea of sticking someone with a needle or taking vital signs has me sold”.
When I visited El Salvador for the first time, my hopes to help people changed me. I realized I wanted people to experience the same opportunities that I was fortunate to have in the United States. Not everyone is able to have an education, clean water and access to medicine. I did not choose to be born in the United States with a multitude of opportunities, it was a matter of luck. As my first two years in nursing school came to an unfortunate close I began to doubt myself. I was so stubborn, I believed the only way I could help people in life was through nursing, nothing else. Having thoughts of my friends in El Salvador I realized I was being selfish not taking advantage of the opportunity right in front of me, my education. As I changed my career pathway to Global Health I still kept the idea in my head “I want to help people”. I even wrote in my IDS essay “The main goal of a global health professional is to work to implement programs that protect the health of individuals, families and communities in the United States and abroad, while simultaneously educating communities”. I never once thought if someone actually wanted my help, or was against me helping them. This harsh reality smacked into me the first time in fours years about a month ago. I was studying abroad and my roommate at the time said to me, “I hate missionaries and how they go into other countries trying to change the communities regardless of their culture and beliefs. You see people
posting pictures with poor little children then when they come back to the U.S are complaining how the wifi only works in the downstairs area of their home and not the whole house. In that moment I sat in a complete silence which felt like an eternity. I was re evaluating my every thought towards my past goals and beliefs. I never once questioned if someone wanted me to help them. How could someone not want help? I was in utter shock. I of course argued with her about my organization and the debate cordially went back and forth over the month we spent together but two things occurred to me. I respected her immensely for having a different opinion, and I would never think the same outlook on helping people as I did before.
The purpose of my research article is to challenge yourself, challenge your passions, even if you do not believe in something guide yourself to understand why someone else does. This research article will depict the controversies of mission/service work around the world. I will dig deep into the perspectives of those who are against being helped. This is key to my future in the Global Health field because I will interact with those who don’t actually want my help or want to listen to my thoughts on opportunity and improvement. Rather than take offense it important I realize the presence of cultural diversity, and learn other ways to approach someone with alternate beliefs. In conclusion, I am excited to challenge my own personal ideals, beliefs and life goals by furthering my knowledge through the perspective’s of others.
Each Thursday of the week in tandem with my applied project I will be putting aside an hour minimum for the research article. In addition I will put an hour of research every Tuesday.
10/23: Final outline of all topics to be included in RA
10/21: Rough draft of RA due
10/21-11/6: Visit the writing center
*Before due date return to the writing center with final corrections
12/12: DUE DATE
Changing the World Though Service: A Step by Step Guide
Hey remember when I mentioned the part where people are always looking to change the world? Have no fear my step by step guide is here! Through out my experience doing service trips people who are interested in my work tend to say “I want to do something like that!” or “I wish I had time, maybe I will search for another program when I’m done school”. I used to say the exact same things before my service trips abroad, now looking back I can’t imagine not seizing the opportunity! Prior to this summer I was simply a volunteer who followed instructions from group leaders and filled out paper work as it was given. When I was told I’d be working at the school one day and the Health Clinic another thats where I’d be. I was a volunteer on a trip planned by someone else which was wonderful but I grew eager to test my own skills and ideas. It wasn’t until I became a board
member for Epilogos Charities Inc. that I decided to plan a trip. Myself and another board member who met 5 years ago are the youngest of the board members. As 21 year olds in a room of members who are 50 or older it can be easy to feel out of place. But we are the future, with out young members who are eager to gain experience it is difficult to keep the organization successfully up and running for years to come. So what was the best way to improve our understanding of how to run a successful organization?Plan a trip of our own! It was an experience to say the least, and made me realize how much work is put into a service trip before the actual service trip begins. The goal of this applied project will be to teach people how to plan, prepare and execute a service trip on their own through my personal experience. I will touch base on all aspects whether it be fundraising, flight fees, or in the event you accidentally drink local water what tips to follow when feeling crappy (haha no pun intended). This can all be accessed on my ePort page Changing the World Through Service: A Step by Step Guide. The site will be interactive with personal stories, video tutorials, logistic FAQ, links to cheap airfare and more!
Each week I have set aside meeting times with IDS Program Support Administrator Janina Misiewicz to work on my webpage and create alternate links
-10/12: First meeting with Janina to start building Webpage
-10/19: Meet with Janina
-10/2: Have rough draft of all components of webpage planned out before meeting with Janina
-Have weekly meetings with Janina as needed until 10/30. Begin sharpening and fine tuning the due date is coming!!