I wrote this for a class last semester. Global Links is an amazing organization. From the staff to their mission--Global Links is by far the best place with which I have volunteered. :) In the center of Homewood sits a desolate building - an old warehouse with a few broken windows, a semi parked out front, and a half rusted door. The only sign of life on the outside of this building is the eleven-inch sign to the left of the entryway. What lies on the other side of this heavy chunk of metal attached to old rust-colored brick is an incredible graveyard. Hundreds of IV poles stand lifeless like skeletons. Old hospital mattresses are piled to the ceiling casting shadows onto the gravestone-like gurneys. Particles of dust slow dance in the ghostly light that floats down through the broken window near the roof. A wasteland of defibrillators, exam tables, suture kits, wheel chairs, autoclaves, ventilators, surgical instruments, scrubs, stethoscopes, scales, and bandages - to name a few - are piled in small mountains from wall to wall. Only narrow pathways are left for the daring to navigate. Flip the switch on the industrial-sized ceiling fans, kick over the ignition on the old fork lift, and open the double-bolted steel door, and this place comes back from the dead. This would be a land fill, a huge garbage dump, where the hospitals dispose of a 'surplus' or 'old' materials. One element is crucial in bringing this place to life - the volunteers and staff - they are the heart and soul who give all of this wasted equipment a second chance. When I was guided through for the grand tour, chills shivered through my body. ALL of this would just be thrown away. The most amazing part of it is knowing that the people I was surrounded by wanted to be there out of the generosity of their hearts. They weren't there for the money; they were there to help. That day we spent hours resuscitating those IV poles. With a little bit of multi-purpose surface cleaner, a few old rags, and a bucket of fresh white paint, they were shiny and new. Drills buzzed in the background. Sandpaper scratched. Brooms brushed. People talked and laughed. Wheelchairs reupholstered, old lights fixed, walkers dusted, computers revamped, all of these noises flooded the once ghostly and lethargic warehouse. I realized then that shipping this equipment to the nine countries Global Links works with wasn't about just sending it for that 'green' tax break. It was about increasing the quality of life. It was about helping other people, not only with hospital equipment, but QUALITY hospital equipment that we would trust to use on ourselves and our loved ones. - Danielle G.
First, let me say they are a great organization!! I became involved with Global Links while attending PITT as an undergrad, and an organization I belonged to formed a group and volunteered there. After that one exposure, I was hooked!! I became a volunteer on a weekly basis, and I continue to love just about every minute I'm there!!! Keep up the good work!! (maybe someday there will be many branches across the United States)
I became involved with Global Links while I was an art student in Pittsburgh and it changed the course of my life. I learned at Global Links that performing work with the clear purpose of helping others is far more satisfying (for me) than painting a pretty picture. Global Links is especially effective because it feeds two birds with one scone by reducing waste in the United States while providing needed supplies to hospitals abroad. Who wouldn't want to get behind a mission that is both humanitarian AND environmental? Volunteers usually sort and pack medical supplies so that they can be sent abroad. The work is very simple yet, as an essential piece of what happens there, so important. I think it is wonderful to play any size role in such a wonderful operation.
Global Links is a phenomenal organization that provides an essential service by distributing surplus medical supplies to underserved countries. The efficiency by which this organization operates is astounding. Supplies ranging from sutures to bed linens that would otherwise be discarded are systematically inspected, sorted, packed and shipped to countries in grave need of these supplies. The enthusiasm and devotion of the staff and volunteers is palpable and it makes me proud to be a part of this organization. My experience volunteering at Global Links has made me considerably more aware of the wastefulness of our medical institutions and the discrepancies in medical care throughout the world. I have been a packing volunteer at Global Links for 2 years and will continue to volunteer for this organization for as long as I am in Pittsburgh.
Global Links is such a fabulous organization. It's amazing how much of a difference the small things that hospitals discard - sutures, bandages, iv tubing - make such an amazing and profound difference in the lives of so many people abroad. I feel lucky to have been involved with the organization over the years and had it been such a big part of my life.
As a photojournalist for 30 years I have seen the work of many non-profits that work in developing nations—many of which bring agendas, attitudes and material/equipment that are burdensome and unsustainable. The difference in Global Links is that they are guided by the actual needs of the medical staff, facilities, patients and culture they are working with. I have seen with my own eyes and documented numerous times, actual lives being saved and bettered due to materials and equipment that Global Links has provided. Is not this the perfect test of value and success—lives saved.
I have had the privilege of being associated with Global Links for 11 years, serving on its volunteer advisory board,consulting on fundraising, programmatic and organizational issues, and providing pro bono legal services. Throughout that time I have been greatly impressed with the organization's consistency of vision and mission:Global Links is dedicated to improving the quality and accessibility of health care services for underserved people in targeted developing countries, while concurrently serving as stewards of the environment, through the redirection of sitll-useful mdical equiment and supplies away from U.S. landfills. Global Links has been doing a great job for 20 years, with its effectiveness and impact increasing over the years, thanks in large part to continuial self-examination and efforts to improve. a dedicated and active Board of Directors, and increasingly effective fundraising efforts. Global Links works strategically and collaboratively with recipient countries and facilities, enabling the organizaiton to respond to actual needs, rather than needs as conceived by outsiders. Working through long-term programs and relationships, Global Links has been able to effect significant and cumulative changes in medical facilities and systems gthroughout Latin America and the Caribbean, helping to meet the core needs of the affected populations. The organization is defined by its dedication to delivering high quality and immediately useful material aid -- from complex medical tachnology to critically needed basic medical and hygiene supplies. The efffectiveness of GL's strategies has been recognized by the World Health Organization/Pan Americdan Health Organization, which has provided support and collaboaration for almost two decades. In recent years GL has become more directly involved in related efforts in community health education and training of in-country medical personnel, consistent with the overall goal of improving the quality of and availability of healthcare services in the countries in which they have programs.
For the past 9 years I have been privileged to be not only a volunteer at Global Links, but also to witness first hand the impact that Global Links has on the recipients of the medical supplies they provide. I am a member of a group which supports an orphanage and a clinic and hospital in Guatemala that provides medical care to the impoverished Mayan people. Our group has volunteered at Global Links for 9 years, always impressed with the dedication and passion of the staff. During this time, we have traveled annually to Patzun, Guatemala, transporting much needed medical supplies from Global Links to the clinic and hospital, and then have helped with medical and dental care of the indigenous people, especially those in remote villages with no access to medical care. Their gratitude was overwhelming, but without Global Links' help we would not have been able to do this. Saving lives with what would otherwise be landfill is the ultimate 'green' organization.
I first connected with Global Links years ago since I was so impressed with their mission and vision about improving people's lives as well as helping with a huge environmental problem. The dedication of GL staff is impressive and the consistency of their work is clearly shown in the amount of shipments they make. The partnerships they cultivate in vulnerable communities in Latin American are long-lasting and beneficial for all - both abroad and here in the United States.
I've had the privilege of volunteering for this wonderful organization over the past few years. Always impressed by how well run the volunteer events are -a lot is accomplished in a short period of time. Very satisfying to know I've contributed to a mission that combines providing needed medical supplies with environmental responsibility.