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Two of the most important experiences of my life with type 1 diabetes (T1D) were attending Clara Barton, a camp for children with T1D, as a camper at six years old (as well as for the next five years) and, later, serving as a counselor for four summers at Camp Holiday Trails, a camp for children with special medical needs. These camps introduced me to communities of people who were dealing with similar issues to mine and helped give me the confidence to manage my disease and move forward independently.
This summer, I will embark on a life-changing experience in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer for AYUDA, American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad, a non-profit established twenty years ago with the vision that young people can serve as change agents for other young people living with T1D throughout the world. Together with AYUDA's in-country partner organization, Aprendiendo a Vivir (AAV - "learning to live"), I will spend six weeks with my fellow volunteers organizing diabetes education initiatives for young people with T1D. These initiatives include "Campo Amigo Dominicano", a diabetes education camp, as well as outreach activities including hospital and home visits. Our goal is to help these young people realize they can live happy and healthy lives with education and proper medical care.
Since 1997, AUYDA has trained over 500 volunteers who have served in over 20 countries. The organization has been recognized for social entrepreneurship and innovation by Ashoka, the World Bank and the United Nations. AYUDA’s model is unique in that it places an unusual amount of responsibility on its volunteers. Every volunteer participates in a training program in the United States during the semester before traveling to the foreign country. AYUDA is a grassroots organization that also requires its volunteers to participate in fundraising for its programs. I have committed to raise $11,000 before June 1st to help support AYUDA’s mission in the Dominican Republic this summer.
I would sincerely appreciate any support you would be willing to give AYUDA by making a tax-deductible donation at www.ayudainc.net. Checks may be made payable to AYUDA Inc. and mailed to 1700 N Moore St, Suite 2000, Arlington VA 22209.
Thank you for your consideration! Your support will ensure that local diabetes programs will continue to thrive and that young people in the Dominican Republic will have access to education and tools that will help them live happier, healthier lives with diabetes. Any gift of any size is a blessing for these children.
I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.
¡Juntos Somos Más Fuertes!
Together We Are Stronger!
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