Annual Board Meeting Retreat

Hermosa Beach Travel Blog

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Wow.  That's all I have to say.

The momentum and driving force behind this huge team of people is inspiring, motivating, shocking, but amazing!  I can't believe how far GB has gone since I first came on a year and a half ago.  We went from a decent medical program, a new business program and only talks of a water program to a full fledged domination haha.  We now have medical, business, water, dental, law, architecture, environmental, public health and professional brigades.  It's absolute mayhem!  Last year we had 1,200 volunteers go to Honduras and Panama and this year anticipate a LOW of 2,400 students. 

If you don't know about Global Brigades, it's an amazing organization with the manpower and incredible minds of a huge mix of talented people.  We focus on student empowerment in international development.  We currently support primarily Honduras but also work in Panama and soon to be Ghana.  There are clubs on university campuses across the US and Canada and students go on 7-10 day trips to one of the two locations depending on their focus.  At a low cost to the student (fees vary but most are $650-$850) and a short trip, it makes it ideal for students who only get a week for spring break.  We educate, train, motivate, provide supplies, name it.  Whatever it is we do there is an immediate plan, a short term plan and a long term plan that all aim towards sustainability of the communities and the empowerment of the communities as well as an amazing hands on learning experience in the field that most students may never experience.  For example, we're in the talks with a highly acclaimed doctor about doing research for a very little researched disease in Honduras and hope to publish the document and not only do our architect students design a building, they actually return to follow through and see it built!  How many architects actually build the building they design? 

The force, like I said is insane.  In 2007, 40,000 patients were treated in Honduras.  In 2008, 88,000 patients were treated.  That number will at least double next year.  We've added dental and public health brigades onto the same trips as our medical brigades because education and learning about well being goes hand in hand.  Our business program is working on a coffee co-op in Panama and is in the talks of working on micro-financing options.  Our architecture program designed their first project...cabins in a remote but beautiful area of Panama where the economy can provide phenomenal eco-tourism opportunities but there are no accomodations.  We're looking into possibly buying our own land in Honduras and Panama for environmental brigades to preserve the natural land.  We' in the talks with Copa airlines to work out a deal with their no carbon program and are looking into environmental ways we can not only preserve land, but make up for the footprints the thousands of volunteers heading to Central America leave.  How many trees would we have to plant to make it so we essentially were never there in terms of our impact on the environment?  Ideas like that are in the works.

We just landed a huge grant from Google for advertising.  If we prove our success we'll get an even LARGER grant from them next year.  We're in talks with a guy who designed cell phones to send medical records because we can't get internet access in the rural areas.

My favorite?  We're expanding!  After a long three board meetings it seems the team is on board for expansion since we're expanding in so many other areas.  Sandra (she found me on travbuddy), is going to be helping us tremendously head up our expansion to the UK and eventually the rest of Europe so that students there can take better advantage of our great opportunities.  (Want to start a club in any of the fields?  CONTACT ME ASAP!).  I'm headed to March next month to see Honduras for 10 days and participate in the brigades since I had yet to accomplish this.  Then in June, a handful of us including the heads of our operations, will be headed to London to scope the scene for 4 days or so and then off to Ghana for 2 weeks to finalize logistics, making strong connections, and preparing for our students to come.  Then in September it's back to London for a month for recruiting season!  We'll be establishing clubs at hopefully all 6 medical schools as well as possibly making strong connections with the teaching hospitals. 

What we're looking for:

If you'd like to start a club on your campus, no matter what country you're in...please contact me asap!

If you'd like to be an intern, we often have several opportunities.  If you're based in the US there are numerous things you can do.  Please see the website for more information.  If you'd like to be an IN-COUNTRY intern full time in Honduras, please contact me. 

Do you live in the UK?  Do you know people in the health, water, or public health field?  Do you have connections to people working in or for the government?  Do you have experience establishing an NGO in the UK or European Union?  Do you have connections in Ghana?  Do you know any NGO's working in Africa that are successful in what they are doing and you think would make a great partner? Does your professional group want to go on an experience they'll never forget and ACTUALLY make an impact?  Or are you a student who wants to go on a brigade? Then we want you!  Contact me on Travbuddy please!

I really can't wait for everything that's happening and I'm so pumped.  Our board meeting, however long it takes us haha (usually 11 hours or so), it's motivating and inspiring and we get to come together from Honduras, Panama, and all over the US for a weekend of seriousness, excitement and fun!  Keep updated for more news on GB!  And check out the website!
sassicassi says:
=D You better be because you're too far in to back out now!
Posted on: Mar 04, 2009
sandra_s021 says:
Great blog post Cass! Here's me massively echoing the excitement from across the pond!
Posted on: Mar 04, 2009
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Hermosa Beach
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