By Gwen Ellis, RN
We make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give.
~ Winston Churchill
There are many ways people can spend their month of vacation. Very few would choose to use their free time to help children who have suffered traumatic events or who are suffering from mental disorders. HOPE worldwide Bolivia is very grateful for professional volunteers like Mariel Zeccola who recently spent a month serving children in La Paz.
Mariel is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) from Stamford, Connecticut, who works as a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She is one of our Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) volunteers. HOPE worldwide Bolivia has developed a partnership with HVO to assist with medical needs in La Paz. During her time here, Mariel trained pediatric professionals in Hospital Arco Iris, volunteers within HOPE worldwide Bolivia’s social programs, as well as professionals within community organizations. She taught about child development, symptoms/diagnoses of language, neurodevelopmental disorders (like Autism), play therapy, and trauma-focused therapy for children.
Mariel describes her time here as follows:
“After a month volunteering with HOPE worldwide and Alalay (a community organization) in La Paz, Bolivia, I am left with striking memories of the gorgeous mountains, kind people, and the challenge of everyday life in Bolivia. I came to Bolivia to volunteer at the Hospital Arco Iris and provide training related to child development and mental health. I had the good fortune of serving several roles in the hospital and this allowed me to see the larger continuum of available health care services for children and families.”
Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.
The HOPE team is grateful to Mariel for serving in many capacities to help those in need. It is truly special to use the gifts God has provided to serve others. She is an inspiration for all of us.