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28 Robinwood Avenue
Jamaica Plain
Massachusetts 02130
2013 Top-rated nonprofits and charities

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Target demographics: Children with burn injuries worldwide.

Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: Hold your own "hands-on" or "hands-around" event, join us for therapeutic drumming, work to help kids in developing countries get supplies and needed rehabilitation.

Geographic areas served: Entire planet, especially developing countries. (Working on model program in China currently)


The HandReach Beat Brigade seeks to empower local youth through healing modalities such as drumming, rehabilitation therapy, and leadership development through assisting child trauma survivors locally and abroad. The Beat Brigade’s purpose is to offer training and experience for local youth to travel internationally to train teams in developing countries who work with pediatric trauma patients, particularly those with major burn injuries and amputations.


The world''s poorest children are at highest risk of the world''s most expensive injuries -- burns and amputations. These sudden, life-changing trauma injuries can happen in a second without warning but require a lifetime of support. The world has ample resources in the form of medical care, rehabilitation therapy, and psychosocial support for trauma survivors, but it is not getting to the children who need it most. HandReach is working to bring together the best hands in the world to promote healing, rehabilitation, and the full development of human potential among the world''s poorest and most badly-injured children.

HandReach works at three levels:

1) Individuals: We facilitate the sharing of best practices across countries and institutions by educating clinicians, therapists, parents, and healers of all kinds. We also work to bring acute, reconstructive, and psychosocial care to children who are in great need of surgery or rehabilitation therapy that their families cannot possibly afford.

2) Institutions: We facilitate international clinics, sponsor training, develop technological resources, and arrange for the donation of needed equipment and supplies so that institutions can maximize their ability to treat complex injuries and promote full rehabilitation for children, regardless of income. 

3) Society: We advocate for the needs of the poor to promote greater access to medical care, education, safer products, building materials, and work practices, and a place in society that includes greater access and acceptance for people with physical differences.

We are working to develop a free international database of best practices in pediatric burn care and orthopedic rehabilitation that allows doctors and therapists to consult across the world on cases. This online resource database will be readily translatable into any language and provide short, detailed videos that address various aspects of excellent burn and orthopedic care -- from skin grafting to splinting to prosthetics to psychological support for children and families. 

 If a child is burned in China, for instance, her doctor can provide details about the case, consult live expert clinicians internationally, and be directed to easily downloadable videos in Chinese to share with staff and the patient''s family. HandReach''s work would then be to spread the word of this database and foster face-to-face contact between clinics worldwide.
HandReach''s dream is for there to be nowhere in the world a child can be injured that is out of reach of excellent medical care and psychosocial support.  

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I am very lucky to have met and worked with the HandReach team this summer as a volunteer! This is truly an incredible organization comprised of compassionate and dedicated people who genuinely want to help in whatever ways they can to support the physical and emotional recovery of these children. I... more »
I teach drumming in therapeutic setting with Handreach's BeatBrigade. Most impressivee is the vision and energy of it's director Brecken Schwartz. Under her leadership, the organization continues to do it's important work to brighten prospects for burn survivors and other traumatized people. I ... more »
I volunteered with HandReach during their last outreach to Beijing in June of 2013. Even expecting to have a great experience didn't prepare me for how much of an impact this organization and these children would make in my life. I look forward to many years of further involvement with HandReach... more »
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