Welcome to Neal Sklar's Personal Fundraising Page
July 31st Update:
After 17 days in the Dominican Republic I can now take some time to reflect on the work I've been able to do. First of all, I want to thank all my donors for their help and the crucial role you all have played in allowing me to embark on this journey and learn more about diabetes abroad.
Up until this point I've never questioned my knowledge on diabetes, I've been diagnosed since I was around 11 years old so it's easy to start thinking that I've learned just about everything diabetes-related. However, coming to the Dominican Republic has taught me that I could not have been more wrong. I think it was probably after the first or second day here that after meeting and getting to know most of the other AYUDA volunteers and their stories that I got the feeling that my understanding and grasp of diabetes was very limited, and honestly, very privileged. It wasn't until our first camp on July 20-21st that I really started to understand the difficulties so many families in the DR suffer from when it comes to not having basic access to insulin, test strips, and other supplies which are the essentials of care. However, getting the supplies is only half the battle, understanding what to do with it and how to control highs and lows is a completely different story. This was the main emphasis of camp. I worked with grupo verde, ages 0-8, and our main goal was educating these mostly newly diagnosed kids on a variety of subjects ranging from what blood sugar levels are in range to what certain foods do to your blood sugar.
The second week was dia de la familia, where all campers would be accompanied by family members, with some of them bringing dads, moms, uncles, brothers and sisters and others just being brought by their mom. For dia de la familia we had to shift the focus of our activities and help educate not just the kids but also their parents and other family members. Overall participating in camp changed my perspective. Dealing with a room of screaming, excited, and overly energetic kids who all have different blood sugar levels and different insulin to carbohydrate ratios that all need to me monitored and closely watched definitely made me cherish my hotel bedroom at the end of the day.
My goal for camp was to give back to the diabetes community that had helped me live a happy and healthy life, and while I’m certain that we left an impact through our work here in Santo Domingo, AYUDA’s goal of educating people throughout the Dominican Republic is still a work in progress. With our continued support we can help to make AYUDA’s goal a reality.
Hello to my friends and family,
This summer, I will embark on a life-changing experience in the Dominican Republic (DR) as a volunteer for AYUDA. Together with AYUDA's in-country partner organization, Aprendiendo a Vivir (AAV - "learning to live") and my fellow volunteers, we will organize diabetes education initiatives for young people living with diabetes. These initiatives include "Campo Amigo" a diabetes education camp for young people living with diabetes, and participating in outreach activities such as hospital & home visits.
AYUDA is a non-profit volunteer organization that empowers youth to serve as agents of change in diabetes communities around the world. AYUDA is dedicated to supporting local diabetes communities in their development and implementation of sustainable and global diabetes programs. AYUDA’s innovative peer learning model uses international volunteers as catalysts for empowering local youth living with diabetes to live happy and healthy lives.
Many of you viewing this page are already familiar with AYUDA through my sister, Julie, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve decided to join such an empowering and impactful organization. The biggest reason I want to join forces with AYUDA is because I’ve been fortunate enough to have an incredible support system that has enabled me to live a happy and healthy life with diabetes. I was diagnosed with type one diabetes when I was 11 years old. I am currently going into my sophomore year at Bucknell University. Going away to college presents its own set of challenges in and of itself, however there are a unique set of obstacles that come with having diabetes. Organizations such as the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes in Denver, CO (BDC) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) have played a crucial role in my life as a diabetic and they have shown me what it means to live a healthy and productive life. It’s hard to imagine how I would’ve learned to balance academics, friends, family, and diabetes without the endless assistance of well-educated professionals and open-minded friends and family.
This exact network of support is what AYUDA strives towards. While I’ve been able to constantly educate myself and grow as a diabetic, many individuals aren’t as lucky. AYUDA was founded in reaction to seeing children with diabetes who had access to insulin and basic medical treatment but still suffered complications and early death, because they did not know how to manage their condition. This understanding helped inform AYUDA’s main message that “a lack of education is just as dangerous as a lack of insulin”. With your support, I will help to provide education in Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital, and give back to the diabetic community that has so generously helped me.
AYUDA endeavors to remain a grassroots volunteer organization in a unique way: by asking its volunteers to participate in fundraising for their programs. In fact, without fundraising by volunteers like me, AYUDA’s in-country work would not be possible.
For more information about AYUDA and its important work, please visit their website. (www.ayudavolunteer.org)
I will be traveling to the Dominican Republic in July, but my journey begins today! I need to reach my fundraising goal by July 6th. Please support me in this important goal by making a contribution. A tax-deductible donation online makes supporting AYUDA quick and easy. You can also send your contribution to the address listed below.
To mail in a donation, please, make all checks payable to: AYUDA Inc. and please put my name in the Memo field.
AYUDA Inc, 1700 N Moore St, Suite 2000, Arlington VA 22209
Your tax-deductible gift makes a difference. Your support will ensure that local diabetes programs will continue to thrive and that young people in these communities will have access to education and tools that will help them live happier, healthier lives with diabetes. Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up!
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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