HANDREACH

Rating: 4.96 stars   67 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Health, International

Location: 105 Grant Avenue Newton MA 02459 USA

Mission:

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.  

Results: http://lauramadden.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/minghe-video-for-handreach/
Target demographics: Children with burn injuries worldwide.
Geographic areas served: Entire planet, especially developing countries. (Working on model program in China currently)
Programs:   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.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Exactly one year passed since I wrote my first great review of this fine organization. Through the last year I had the honor in witnessing the dedication of all involved and especially the hard work and sacrifice of Dr. Brecken Chinn to aid those in need. by focusing on burn survivors, HandReach is a pioneer in directing the world's attention to the tragic pain and suffering of millions around the world who are waiting for a helping hand, waiting for HandReach.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Handreach is an organization founded by a great, courageous,loving woman, who sacrifices and strops at nothing to help and give those in need from the goodness of her heart, and for absolutely nothing in return, but the smile on the faces of those in pain. She is Dr. Brecken Chinn Swartz. An organization inspired by one of the most courageous young women on earth, Jolene Chinn Swartz, Brecken's adoptive Daughter, who despite her injuries, pain , and physical challenges was able to adapt to a new society, a new country, a new language, and become a happy successful college student, with bright future. I had the honor of knowing Brecken and Jolene personally, I admire their courage and spirit of giving, and urge all who read this to donate to this noble cause, and always believe that any donation to such cause is never money wasted, as God's reward to you will be much greater.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

I was impressed immediately by a mission that is based on love rather then judgement. What a breath of fresh air in troubled times. I feel comforted knowing Handreach exists.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Hire an army to do this work

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Likely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

HandReach is an amazing organization that I was introduced to this summer after I was offered the opportunity to volunteer on a trip to China. The sponsored group was able to assist and treat in a hospital in Beijing, educating staff and providing services for an underserved group of pediatric burn survivors. I cannot speak more highly of the HandReach mission and its importance in places where access to expensive burn care is scarce at best. I know that funding has also assisted patients with travel expenses to receive care they desperately need in the United States.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it to provide services in other parts of the world.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Both the vision and application of Hand Reach are touching many in beautiful ways. For me it's a chance to help. For others to serve. Others to learn and share inspiration , creativity and hope. And for burn victims and their families and community it's a chance to heal and live against great odds.any thanks to Hand Reach and divert appreciating and encouragement to grow and thrive for many years to come

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find more ways to make it and its mission better known

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

A great organization with effective leadership, providing a unique (and very creative) mix of services to underserved populations. And they do it with a sense of fun.

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am proud to be a in my fourth year of donating to Handreach, through a recurring subscription. I know that my money is being put to good use, that it reaches its intended beneficiaries, and that I can count on the organization to be good stewards of my donations.

Twenty (ahem, or more) years ago, I was a student in college, learning about the values of world citizenship and being caring and compassionate for those in need. The founders and administrators of this organization, one of whom was sitting beside me in those classes, exemplify the values I hold dear. They care for the most damaged of victims, and enable them to have meaningful and productive lives.

As a donor, I am confident in the use of my funds because I have regular, detailed, and meaningful communication with the organization. They demonstrate their accomplishment, and they make me aware of specific needs as they arise.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If pressed to make a change, I would seek to make the education and preventative standards so significant that there would be no need to care for victims whose accidents could have been prevented. Barring that, I dream that funding for the organization would be so plentiful that there would never been a doubt whether they could care for one more victim, one more damaged child in need.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I became aware of HandReach when I reconnected with its Director, Brecken Chinn Schwartz, a college friend. I regularly support a number of humanitarian organizations, particularly those that focus on education and health needs for children. I am amazed at the amount of good work this organization is able to do with such limited funds, and I am amazed at the incredible dedication of their small army of volunteers.

Personal connection is the strongest motivator for ongoing support of international humanitarian work. Attention spans are short, and there are always new critical needs... sustained support requires ongoing contact. SmileTrain is extremely well-funded, and they are in constant contact with me... what have we done with your money, who have we helped, what was the outcome, and what can you do to expand your help? I would like to point more of my friends to HandReach.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching the photos of successful reconstruction, being notified of dire scenarios requiring the assistance of my acquaintances and me, and seeing important work continue.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

ask for more communication and material with which to solicit help.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

I donated to help a particular burn victim, whose body was burned so badly that her skin fused and orifices were nearly sealed. After seeing the impact of my small donation, and seeing the ongoing need, I made a decision to give the organization money on a monthly basis.

Why did you make your donation at this time?

This important humanitarian work is less popular than other well-funded and well-publicized organizations. I am convinced that we have a responsibility in this world to help those who are less fortunate, both at home and abroad.

What would you tell others about this organization?

The funds are well-managed, they are focused on care for victims, and there is no shortage of children in need of help.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I recently found HandReach and after seeing the stories of the children they are helping, I knew in my heart that this was the charity I wanted to get involved in. These poor children have been through so much and I am sure that without HandReach they would be much worse off. Right now, a 12-person clinical team is just returning from a partner burn unit in Beijing, and now they are working on writing visa letters to bring several of the burn victims to Shriners for help. I signed up to help monetarily, but I was even invited to meet the children once they are transferred to a hospital in Galveston as well as I can volunteer to help personally. The organization is run by volunteers, so any donations that are made go toward helping the children. The volunteer staff that I have been in touch with is extremely friendly and open about sharing the current updates on the children. I am so thankful to HandReach for the work they do and I cannot wait to get more involved. They are a group of very special volunteers helping even more special children get the medical treatments they could not get without HandReach's help. Thank you HandReach for letting me be a part of this awesome charity!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None, I wish more people would volunteer to help this group.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am currently in my fourth year at Northeastern University studying Human Services. I got to know about HandReach in last spring semester at a panel that was held at my University. When I heard about HandReach, I knew for sure that I wanted to be in Beijing that summer.

My professional experience thus far has been focused on helping and educating a large population from diverse backgrounds and with varying needs. Moreover, I have an extensive background working with children as a teacher as well as a mentor coordinating effective programs and providing services to improve lives of others. So when I found out about the volunteering opportunities at HandReach, I wanted to give my contribution there helping and encouraging kids to have hopes and future.

Despite the fact that my Mandarin level was very poor, I still got around pretty well and was able to communicate with other therapists. I tried taking Mandarin class in advance but I’m not going to lie, it’s a challenging language! However, with my outgoing personality, I didn’t have too much problems forming friendships with children and my coworkers at the rehabilitation center. I was there to organize and coordinate activities for children as well as making sure the children are happy when they’re not receiving painful treatment.

My volunteering experience in Beijing this summer was beyond amazing; I was able to truly open my eyes toward burn victims and really think about how I can help these population. Because I have so much experiences with direct work, it has helped me to better understand the program aspect of business because I've seen the impact of these programs. So after working at HandReach for one month, if I ever do get the opportunity, I want to focus helping out in the administrative aspect of the organization in the future. I want to learn more about how funding is managed, and how this human service organization functions as a whole.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have worked with HandReach for several years; I traveled on two different trips to China to do cross cultural work with medical providers in two hospitals with wings devoted to burn rehabilitation. I have never seen a group bring such joy! Through a combination of trained medical exchange, music and play therapies, and training in basic child life, we were able to overcome language barriers to promote a set of best practices within this international community.The children we served directly, and the doctors, therapists and nurses we trained, were grateful and enthusiastic participants in the exchange--I can say that I learned a great deal in terms of my own application of occupational therapy techniques, but I also was able to make connections with families and children, and make lasting, low-tech recommendations to families who need them most. It's a wonderful nonprofit that has been around for over ten years and deserves your support!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I was an active member of the Hand Reach Beat Brigade for over a year. Beat Brigade is a program that uses group hand drumming as a therapeutic process to aid in the emotional healing, physical therapy, and social development of trauma survivors. The effectiveness of the Beat Brigade method was evident with every practice session and open drumming session I attended, as I witnessed (and personally experienced) attendees with varying levels of physical and/or emotional distress begin to relax, open up, brighten, become engaged, and end the session in a very different place than where they began. I did not have the opportunity to go to Beijing with Beat Brigade and other Hand Reach team members in July of 2011, but the stories - and photos! - they brought back were amazing! I am so impressed by the Hand Reach mission and the passion of its founder, Dr. Brecken Chinn Schwartz, and by how great an impact Hand Reach has already had in the first few years of its existence. Brecken has such a powerful vision for Hand Reach, and the energy, enthusiasm, and pure joy she brings to her work are both infectious and inspiring. She has attracted and motivated quite an array of talented collaborators, ,who share her commitment to the Hand Reach mission. An investment in Hand Reach is a guaranteed investment in a powerful and successful healing organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?