HANDREACH

Rating: 4.96 stars   67 reviews

Issues:

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.
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I met the Director, Dr. Brecken Swartz, in 2011 and started working with Handreach shortly thereafter. Their work in foreign countries is truly admirable and their idealism and optimism is difficult to beat. Handreach raised the funds to create a Pediatric burn ward in China, which is still one of the top burn wards in that country. The work they do reaching out to some of the world's most in need individuals amazes me and makes me proud to have been able to help out. In fact, I was able to visit the China General Air Force hospital's burn ward in 2012 and see many of the patients that they treated. And though it is a place of suffering (as hospitals tend to be), it was also a place of hope, where the children (and some adults as well) were able to receive help and assistance that they never though would be possible. Burns are a terrible trauma to have to suffer - the short term physical pain leads to long term emotional, social, and economic pain - but these individuals might have otherwise not been treated at all. Being able to use a new technique to give an individual the use of his arms back was the pride of my trip, which would not have been possible without Handreach's help and support.

I only wish I could help more.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Handreach is one of the few truly dedicated non-profit organizations that both tries to help underserved populations by bringing modern medical equipment and techniques (trauma survivors, especially those who have been burned) while also trying to improve the lives of those affected individuals and their families through continued support and service. The organization is largely based in Jamaica Plains and was in a position to help survivors of the Boston bombing this past year, but that was only one of the many things that the organization has managed to accomplish. It has also sent doctors, clinicians, and even an epidemiologist in training to a burn ward in the China General Air Force hospital in Beijing, China. Likewise, Handreach also holds regular drumming sessions for burn survivors and other trauma survivors to help with the physical, mental, and social healing processes. There are other organizations that are equally as dedicated to helping others as Handreach has done, but they are quite rare. And I might dare say none deals with the pain and suffering in quite the same way as Handreach has managed to do. It it my honor and privilege to be able to volunteer for them.

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

Provide it with greater funding and more networking capabilities in other countries.

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

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

This past summer (2012) I went to Beijing to conduct some research in the burn ward at the China General Air Force Hospital. Handreach (and especially the Director Dr. Brecken Chinn Swartz) helped to set up the study by introducing me to the head of the burn ward, assisting me financially by hiring translators, and offering background support for navigating the political aspects of the social waters of China (Visa's etc.). While the research is specifically intended to help burn survivors in China, without Handreach's support none of it would have been possible. I was able to use the staff that was hired for me to effectively reach out to every one of the patients who was in the hospital's burn ward (at least those who still had some means of contact available) in order to gather information for my study and hopefully be able to organize a burn survivor society of some sort. In my experience, there are two ways to see China: the first is to just go and spend money. This is the typical "tourist" experience and tends to lead to a number of consequences usually devolving into people who don't ever wish to go back because they've been thoroughly routed by the local scam artists (of which there are quite a few). However, I had the second experience: a professional journey into Beijing where I was able to work with actual professionals in the field of medicine and see the typical life lived daily by China's citizens. The second was much more pleasant and there was a lot more to be gained during the process. I hope my study will be able to help those burn survivors in need, but I can definitely say that it wouldn't have been possible without the work and efforts put forth by Handreach.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am so moved by the profound heart and dedication of HandReach and it's volunteers. They touch and transform the lives of so many who would otherwise be discarded and disenfranchised. HandReach not only facilitates extensive medical treatment and access to functional prosthetics, but goes much further in the psychological aspects of healing from extensive trauma, inspiring the human spirit through art and music therapy. As a trauma specialist, I am quite impressed with the tenacity and impact of this organization!

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

HandReach is an organization that cares and believes in the fullest level of heart and expectations for people with disabilities. It is an organization that believes in healing for all -- and for fighting for the rights that go with being a person with a disability in this world. I know the Founder of HandReach personally and know her dedication and commitment to this work. I have known some of the other volunteers and those committed to the future of this organization. As a disability rights professional, I look forward to working more with HandReach to continue to move it forward in its mission and expand it's literal reach and impact on so many levels. It is truly a Great Nonprofit.

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1 previous review
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

HandReach is a fabulous organization working to support so many! Their leadership is unsurpassed in that of their Director Brecken Chinn Swartz. I am especially impressed by how a small organization such as HandReach works to both support individuals on the ground but also the more collective vision of disability rights via their support of the disability treaty (aka the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD)).

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

As a burn survivor and profession musician, I have been looking for a way to give back to the community that has inspired and motivated me to keep going and never quit. In Handreach I have found a voice,a support group, an outlet, a chance to play and enjoy the company of like minded people, but even more..... I have found heart. During my stay at hospital and in recovery, long after the PT's, medical staff, friends and family had gone home for the night, I was alone and my worst moments were not the physical pains as much as the negative thoughts that resonated doubt, insecurity and dispair. With Handreach and fhe incredible work they do.... My own critic is silenced and I find love, respect, devotion and heart: tremendous heart!

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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 recently participated in the therapeutic drumming at the Springfield Shriners annual fundraising event and it was inspiring. On a monthly basis, I facilitate BeatBrigade's drum circle for people interested to learn more about drumming as a healing modality.

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

Get more money to hire support staff.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

An incredible organization with a very important mission--helping children in need. Excellent leadership by Brecken Swartz, who has vision and persistence to reach her goals. Brecken puts her whole heart into her work and knows how to recruit the right people to complete the work that is needed. I am in awe of what she has accomplished in such a short time.

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

Having our nursing students (Northeastern University) participate in cooperative education experiences in China.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The vision, energy and social mission.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Clinicians, administrative staff who were amazing to work with on projects. They are caring, visionary and efficient.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change the lives of numerous children in China who have been burned. And, perhaps extend the work to other developing countries.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

This is a charity I have enjoyed watching grow from helping one child into helping support an entire hospital and network of assistance for children with burn injuries and resultant scarring. Handreach has the vision to continue to grow while maintaining an excellent foundation.

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

discussions with the therapists and MDs who I have helped train and who have returned for more information in order to provide even better and more comprehensive care to the patients in China.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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