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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

HandReach

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Health, Hospitals, International, International Relief, Youth Development Programs

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.  

Target demographics: Children with burn injuries worldwide.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 125 children and countless others around them

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.

Community Stories

81 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Julian T.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The first young person helped by HandReach, Jolene Chinn Swartz, is now a strong, confident young woman who's an inspiration to all those lucky enough to know her. The thought of this effect multiplied across the world (now including Africa, where HandReach has just begun to operate) is amazing. We all need to help HandReach's great work on its extraordinary way.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

HandReach is one of the best examples you'll ever come across of how small really is beautiful. The number of kids and others it has helped and continues to help, and the extent of the difference it has made in their lives, are out of all proportion to its size. From its remarkable Exec.Director Brecken Chinn to its most occasional of helpers, everyone associated with HandReach puts their shoulders to the wheel in the most extraordinary way. HandReach is the very definition of a great non-profit.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've directly seen the impact this organization has on the lives of children around the world, and am so grateful for the services it is able to provide!

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of working with HandReach twice and am proud to be a part of such an amazing organization. They are dedicated to helping children and have made such a difference in so many lives.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm proud to support HandReach and I encourage you to recognize this outstanding organization. HandReach offers opportunity for full and productive lives to children around the world who experience serious burns. Without the service HandReach provides, many of these children would never get the medical attention and hope for a full future that they are fortunate to receive. HandReach, year after year, continues to work with dedication and heart to their aims of improving people's lives; this is due to its Founder and Director, Brecken Chinn.

I hope you will give HandReach the recognition it deserves.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HandReach continues to touch the lives of many children and their families who have been affected by serious burns and traumatic injuries. They truly care about these children and are dedicated to supporting their physical, emotional, and psychosocial well-being in any way that they can.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HandReach is committed to helping children with burn injuries. Please help them continue this good work.

4 Lori180

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am delighted to write this review in support of HandReach. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to work with Becken Chin and a few of the other Hand Reach staff members, and I have to say, they go above and beyond the call to ensure patients receive exceptional care.

Becken and her staff were sending emails at 3am on behalf of our patient, a 15 month old boy who was severely burned and needed air ambulance service. Becken personally sat down and called every single air ambulance company she could find to ask for assistance. I know this because I called the companies as well and was told that they already spoke to Becken. Not only did Hand Reach help in that capacity, but they also sponsored the patient and his mother’s housing and meals while he received treatment.

Hand Reach is a blessing! Thank you for all that you do for burn victims around the world.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Amazing work, allowing humans all over the world to live with dignity and be productive. Restores hope to all those who are and might be affected.

4 Cathy121

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization does important and wonderful work. I have been privileged to be associated with HandReach this past year and appreciate all they do for those in need of the help they provide.

4 Karen437

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Brecken Chinn, Executive Director of HandReach, is one of the most dedicated and caring individuals I have ever met. She walks her talk. She cares deeply about the people that HandReach serves. I have volunteered for a couple of her events. Everyone involved is committed to helping burn survivors have their very best lives. I know that every dollar I donate to HandReach will be put to good use. Bless them.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

HandReach has made it possible for me to realize my dream . . . to bring the healing work of massage and burn scar therapy to burn survivors. Through HandReach's help we were awarded a grant to get the Massage and Burn Scar Therapy program started and funded. Thank you HandReach for believing in our mission to improve the quality of life of burn survivors through effective and compassionate Massage and Burn Scar Therapy.

5 Tim_87

Board Member

Rating: 5

The work this organization does is extraordinary! A true humanitarian effort, getting straight to the issues and concerns of pediatric burn victims. I am also very happy with the global perspective being taken, leveraging expertise gained to broaden the mission to other continents. Fantastic!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I know the Executive Director Brecken Chinn and several of the members on the board. I have seen personally the dedication with which they work and the emotional commitment to the people they serve. Their commitment to help burn survivors in countries which have few to nonexistent facilities for burn survivors is really outstanding and inspiring. I will continue to support this non profit in any way I can and encourage anyone reading this to do the same!

5 George14

Advisor

Rating: 5

Handreach has gone out of its way to help those in need. When I say need, I should clarify: Handreach reaches out to those in the most desperate of need in the harshest of places. I am a burn survivor who was once in need of assistance with my graduate work. Handreach offered me the opportunity to go to Beijing, China and assist burn survivors learn more about themselves. As it turns out, I wasn't in much need of help at all. I learned that many, MANY of the homeless individuals in Beijing were themselves burn survivors who were unable to find employment due to facial scars or physical infirmity. Handreach's goal is to reach out to these survivors and offer them a second chance to find work, to live, to learn, and to become whole again. The Executive Director, Dr. Brecken Chinn, personally gave me the opportunity to see Chinese burn survivors up close. I was able to assist some of those same survivors to understand that their lives were not at an end, and that they could be successful and happy. I'd like to think that I may have saved a few lives in the process, with an opportunity that only Handreach was able to offer. Furthermore, Handreach also raises funds specifically to help burn survivors (especially pediatric patients) with their surgeries, rehabilitation, and prosthetic limbs. I cannot think of another organization that has truly tried to reach so far, yet which struggles so much to raise funds and further help fulfill it's mission to make sure that best practices in pediatric burn and amputee care and rehabilitation are available around the world, where they are needed most.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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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Marriah S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known about HandReach for only a few months, but those few months have made a huge difference in my life! I am a volunteer with HandReach, working with both the BeatBrigade and community outreach. I know the Executive Director, Brecken Chinn, personally. I have met all of the board members and Jolene Swartz, the first burn survivor helped by HandReach. Every person involved has incredible dedication, passion, and compassion! They make excellent use of the small amount of resources they have to work with, including donor funds, volunteers, and medical technology. Their mission is truly inspiring because they know any person can become a burn survivor. They know that getting burned should not mean one stops being treated with compassion, no matter where you live! They match people's good intentions with resources that help every burn survivor, medically, psychologically, and socially. The BeatBrigade lifts the spirits of every person involved, because no matter how badly you have been burned, no matter where you have been burned, you can still experience the joy of drumming within a supportive community. The medical teams at Shriner's hospitals restore a burn survivor's face and body while the BeatBrigade and countless volunteers restore a burn survivor's hope. The strength of spirit demonstrated by burn survivors is truly astonishing!

LiLi L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a very committed volunteer for HandReach since 2009. The reason is only one: we help those children with terrible injuries and trauma, and they had no place to go.
The smiles on their faces are priceless!
Please keep up the good work and please continue to support Handreach, where your love and care is only a tiny hand away!
Dr. Li Li, DPT, PT

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Keep making maricles happen with very limited budget. Thanks to all volunteers!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have witnessed the outstanding dedication of the staff and volunteers of HandReach. I have seen them give up vacation time to sit with, carry in their arms, and provide hours of emotional support to young people as they endure skin grafts, re-breaking of bones, and the painful process of adjusting prosthetic limbs. HandReach participants not only raise funds and team with world-class hospitals, but they literally give a hand up to poor children who would be relegated to a life of untold disability if HandReach did not exist. I am a proud contributor to this excellent non-profit organization that puts every penny and ounce of energy into helping burned and limbless children around the world. They give hope to trauma victims and proof that someone cares. I have seen this hope and love empower kids with the will to overcome limitations to become thriving, contributing members of society. God bless HandReach for making such a vital difference in the lives of vulnerable children!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a burn survisor and serve as a board member. I watched HandReach to grew and develop since of 2006. I was the first burn survisor to be helped by Handreach. After my accident, I did not receive good care and my life was filled with emptiess with no future. At Shriner's Hospital, I recieved the best care and with many people's help along the way, I am able to be who I am and stand where I am. One day, I told my mom, "I wish people could recieve the same care as me." In the last few years, I have involved in shaping HandReach's direction and have been to China few times with the HandReach team. Watch HandReach sponsor every kid, I am so happy and excited for them. Because the bright future awiats for them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Hang and I am a university student. Last year I took a year off to volunteer in Beijing as part of the HandReach Team! I was able to marvel, FIRST HAND, at the love filled contributions HandReach makes for the children in the Burn Rehabilitation Unit at the Hospital I was placed at (both medical and psychological). It lightens my heart to know that because of HandReach, I had the honor of being a part of those kids' worlds during such a prominent part of their lives. HandReach is based on the solid foundation of selfless love and kindness, and this is why i know HandReach will continue to influence with world with its goals, and why I look forward to being part of the HandReach Team for years and years to come!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

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)).

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for a Hand Reach drumming event and was moved by the devotion of it's members, Director and everyone associated with the orgranization. The drum circle was well attended and brought such a diverse group together and all you could see were smiles, smiles and more smiles. Important work being done here.

Kolya S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for Hand Reach since 2010! Hand Reach is more than just drumming. I'm a Medical Sociology major and Hand Reach is a community! And a beautiful one at that! Reaching out to trauma survivors, of every kind, but especially burn survivors, Hand Reach restores the confidence and brings beauty out with every beat of the drum, every beat of the heart. So grateful to volunteer for such a GREAT Nonprofit! :)

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Handreach provides healing in more ways than one; physical, emotional, spiritual. Handreach is a loving, supportive community. To give back to burn survivors, renewing their self-confidence is something that's immeasurable. I am so proud to be a volunteer of Handreach for 3 years.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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 was able to observe the team as they shared their expertise on burn contracture management with the Chinese physical therapists, and I got to see the smiles of the kids as they painted huge colorful murals with the HandReach team in between their therapy sessions! It was clear how much happiness the HandReach team brought these kids, and how receptive the hospital staff were to learning everything they could from the team.

Personally, HandReach has also helped me clarify my career goals and has nurtured my passion for caring for those afflicted with burn injuries. Coming straight from a 6 month work experience on a Burn/Trauma Unit in Boston, the 2 month experience on a pediatric burn unit in Beijing that HandReach assisted me in setting up enabled me to compare healthcare systems, determinants, and barriers as well as burn care techniques, which I feel has already made me a better nurse. I realized on this trip the vital role that organizations like HandReach has in providing experiential learning especially for aspiring healthcare professionals. The opportunity to observe care practices in a different country is invaluable, because it offers countless opportunities to not only learn, but also share experiences in a mutually beneficial partnership in which resources, education, and clinical work can be shared. Easily one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. I came back from this trip inspired by the knowledge I had gained, touched by the children I met, and very excited to share all that I had experienced with my co-workers in the burn unit, my friends, and classmates. I honestly learned more than I ever expected to learn from the HandReach team, the hospital staff, the children, and their families, and only hope now that I will someday be able to pay it forward.

1 Cornell C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at HandReach since its inception. HandReach has done tremendously in helping children not only recover but also gain independence from trauma. I am especially grateful of what HandReach has done to help amputated children during China's earthquake in 2008 rehabilitate and regain confidence in life . HandReach's work has played an critical role to raise our awareness to the oftentimes marginalized groups in China, the amputated children in China.

Raja2

Donor

Rating: 5

I came to know about the work of HandReach through talking to the director, Brecken Chinn. I was impressed with the dedication I saw in her and her team of volunteers who achieve so much with so little by way of resources.

I was so impressed with the work they do, I have volunteered to help with managing their operations, as that is what I do professionally for a living. I am excited to be able to make a difference in the lives of pediatric burn victims in China and other third-world countries.

Jim_80

Donor

Rating: 5

Handreach focuses on a group often forgotten, children with severe burns in China. This is a group that should be taken care of by their government, but often are not. Thankfully Handreach is there to help.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've become familiar with HandReach by being personally involved in their Beat Brigade therapeutic drumming group which takes drumming into hospitals and other locations where it can serve as a great social and sonic therapy for burn victims or patient/trauma populations of any sort (and it's good for 'healthy' people too!) But I've also learned a lot about the organization's work in China and bringing burn victims to the US for treatment, and it's path-breaking approach to one of the most pressing and most ignored medical needs in the developing world. Simply in basic mathematical terms of human suffering that can and should be addressed, Hand Reach deserves your support and deserves to grow into a huge movement and organization that can network and bring resources to heal burn and trauma vicitims who otherwise will suffer terribly and needlessly.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was involved with Handreach a few years ago and it has done so much and changes so many people's lives.

Sameh E.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Richard68

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Peter P.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Randi K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am new to HandReach within the past year, and the group' mission - serving severly traumatized children - is one of the most rigteous and courageous of any non-profit Ihave ever known. t is a spiritually rewarding experience to be involved with this group!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our first experience with HandReach was to help them by hosting Shiwei, a Chinese toddler, and his mother for a couple of month. Shiwei had been severely burned as an infant when his blanket caught on fire. For us, it was life-changing to witness first-hand the critical impact that HandReach had on the life of this innocent small child as they helped him come to Boston for surgery at Shriners. Our connection with HandReach took hold and we have since seen several adorable yet badly injured small children achieve the hope of a normal life thanks to HandReach. With its committed volunteers, HandReach is making a real difference in the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thanks for the opportunities that allowed me to work with the most adorable burn survivors in China! Handreach has accomplished an incredible journey with limited resources thanks to the leadership and hard work by every volunteer. There is much more to do to reach to those little hands who are reaching for our help. Please help Heandreach in every way you can. Thank you!! Physical Therapist, volunteer , Li Li

Abe T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Handreach really has taken on an unbelievably challenging mission of providing medical care in a field that disproportionately affects the poorest people who are least able to afford it. Burn and amputee care is very important and there aren't enough options available to the survivors of trauma in many parts of the world. Handreach gives them hope to recover, rehabilitate, and live full lives after a horrible tragedy. Handreach's patients truly are survivors, not victims. I've had the opportunity to work with this charity and go to China to witness firsthand the impact of the rehabilitation, care, and support given by Handreach's excellent team of doctors, nurses, and other volunteers. The children's lives are truly transformed and you can see a tremendous change in their attitude as they are given a second chance at life.

johnnyg

Donor

Rating: 5

Handreach does amazing things for burn victims in China. When other agencies have written off victims as beyond hope, Handreach steps up to help. It is a wonderful organization that does amazing work focusing attention on those who have lost hope.

Previous Stories
6

Donor

Rating: 5

Wonderful charity. I'm happy to contribute to a group that provides help to young burn victims. I've witnessed the results of the good works done by this charity; I've seen the new life this charity has given to those who were thought to be hopelessly scarred.

Brecken S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

HandReach has been my life for the past 10 years. Through its work, I have seen injured children's lives be transformed from utter hopelessness to "the sky's the limit." Our donors, volunteers, and Board members are among the most outstanding people I've ever had the pleasure to work with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the incredible opportunity of working with the HandReach organization in Beijing, China. We worked with an incredible team who provided a wide range of clinical services to children with burn injuries. It was overall a unique and fulfilling experience. I had the opportunity to present scientific research at a clinical conference as well as participate in the clinical interventions in the hospital. Our team provided therapeutic drumming as a subset of psychosocial services being offered to the children. We had a great time and the patients and staff greatly appreciated our presence.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was involved in this organization mainly at the beginning of this organization. I got to know some incredible human beings who devoted their lives to helping those under-privileged.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HandReach is an amazing charity run by a great group of people. If you want to put your time or money toward a good cause, work with HandReach and you can be assured that 100% of your efforts will go directly toward the children that need help the most. This cause truly inspired me and I know that I will continue to support their efforts for the rest of my life.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

HandReach is unique in its mission and purpose which makes it a very valuable non-profit. I believe in the founder and her staff. I believe my money is not only going to a great cause but is being utilized to the fullest. HandReach gives severely burned children their lives back. What can be better than that?

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would like to help this org. by voting and expressing my interest on what this org does. It is important to help people help others. I wish the org. much luck.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began working for HandReach on January 25, 2010 as an assistant and "ball-catcher" to the Executive Director, Dr. Brecken Chinn Swartz. Throughout my employment, I have been amazed by the kindness of our donors, the vision of our management team, and also, unfortunetly, by the lack of funding for so extraordinary and worth a cause. The only thing HandReach needs to become the next Operation Smile or SmileTrain is funding that will allow this charity to expand to the next level: funding for infrastructure, for technology, and for program implementation.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met Brecken on my first day of classes freshman year at the University of Maryland. She was my professor. When she told us the story about HandReach, how it came about and what motivated her to do such great work--Zhou Lin, I was immediately interested. After becoming a volunteer, I later became the events coordinator for HandReach at the University of Maryland. Despite all of the school work and other extracurriculars I had, HandReach was something I have always been happy to put the time in for. Everyone involved is warm and friendly and has truly golden hearts. While surgeries such as cleft palette surgeries are relatively cheap and straightforward, surgery for burn survivors is certainly not. It is expensive, and patients have to go through many surgeries, not to mention rehabilitation. Because of this there are not that many charities out there trying to help these kids. HandReach is trying to change that. And I hope they do. I can honestly say that HandReach is a truly incredible organization.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Li Li and I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy candidate at Northeastern University. I was amazed by the tremendous work that HandRach has done for the poor children with severe burns in China. But I always had a question: How did Brecken make all these good work happen with very limited financial funding and staff resources? Finally, I found my answer. I remember the moment when I met Brecken in Beijing this January. Her big smile and sincere hug warmed my heart despite the chilling temperature outside. I have always admired Brecken’s heroic work, saving the impoverished children who have suffered from trauma including severe burns. A sense of closeness was developed after I watched Zhou Lin’s story on YouTube, a girl from my hometown province in China. At the end of the video, Brecken told us a story about starfish, which made me determined to pursue the volunteer opportunity to help the children at the International Burn Center in Beijing, China. The story was about a person trying to save the ashore starfish, placing them back to the water one at a time. Just like trying to save the dying starfish, Brecken has helped and continues to help the children in desperate need in China, one by one, but for sure. Brecken is not only a great mom to Zhou Lin, she is also the loving mother for all the children who she has helped. She is building the hope for the children who experienced trauma and amputations to achieve their full life potentials. I am going with the Rehab specialist team to Changsha and Beijing in a few days. And I am very honored and excited the trip. Now it is our turn to help Brecken and HandReach. Let us help to raise the awareness of severe burns and a big affected population in china. Let us help Brecken to be able to reach her hands farther to save the poor children. let us help to bring hopes to the children who might never have imagined their lives could be as exciting and colorful as the others'. Please kindly consider your grants, donations and support to Brecken and HandReach. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When Brecken contacted me with a request for Dan to speak at her event I had never heard of HandReach. Hearing the story of her daughter and what HandReach was planning to do was immediately inspiring and I felt a need to help make the event happen and a hope to get involved in some way. Meeting the group of people who will be going to China on the current effort instantly confirmed my feelings - each member of this team has a true drive to service and will help in the healing of so many people. I am proud to support such an organization and hope for more involvement in the future.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am 62 years old and totally and permanently disbled primarily from a car accident my entire family was in when I was 12 years old. I have known Brecken Chinn Schwartz for nearly 6 years and love her wonderful open heart, brilliant mind and dedication to making this world a better place in which to live for as many people as she possibly can. The car accident my family and I suffered changed our lives totally in seconds, so it is very easy for me to relate to the devasting changes in people's lives that burn accidents can bring to any one at any time. I am also all too aware of how expensive medical treatment can be. Our family was also very poor in material ways, as are many of the children HandReach is helping. The good thing is that I know how extremely precious the love and support of others can be both to the giver and the receipient. HandReach gives me an opportunity to really help others, who have also suffered devasting injuries in the blink of an eye. I am the oldest of nine children. We were all in the car when another vehicle smashed into us head-on. My father's heart and lungs were punctured by the steering wheel. He died instantly. My mother was in critical condition for 3 and a half days and no one expected her to live. Eventually, I was healed sufficiently to go and visit my little brother and baby sister in the ward for younger children. In a nearby bed there was a 5 year old boy under a partial tent of light blankets. His mother was there most of the time keep him company. The lower half of his body had suffered third degree burns which were completely visible at all times under the open tent. I would visit them too because they were lonely with no other visitors. Back then the treatment was not very helpful it seemed, but prayers and company and a loving smile were much appeciated. Then, as now, that was all I could provide. By sharing the good news about all that HandReach is doing for children who have suffered devasting burns like my young friend did so many years ago, I too can help in a small way with the fund raising effort. Brecken has shared some of the stories of their young patience and asked for prayer support also, which I am more than happy to give. When I have more resources, I will share them. I urge everyone to give all they can to this wonderful healing effort.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

HandReach is an amazing organization, with its noble mission of helping all children get equal opportunities of education and life. The Children's Healing Initiative (CHI) program helps the children who are severely burnt or amputated to get back the mobility so that they can live a productive life, which they wouldn't possibly have otherwise. HandReach has helped many individual children, and is strategically moving from a direct service provider to focusing on changing the system so that much more children can be helped. In order to do that, it needs more funding and resources. I hope people will support HandReach to achieve its goals and help all the needy children.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with Handreach and their staff has been wonderful. They're extremely caring, thoughtful and will do almost anything to help a person in need. The caring trickles down from the woman in charge, who's on another level in terms of caring and helpfulness.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think many organizations need to take notes from HandReach and it's amazing leader and founder, Brecken Swartz. I believe leadership that is lead by love can go far beyond what is imaginable. This organization is rooted in love and harmony which has allowed for great things to happen and many more to come. Brecken has been able to organize and bring a group of varied individuals together for this great mission but she needs more help. Her energy can only go so far. More funding would allow HandReach to physically reach others in need of care. It is amazing that this one person can take this organization this far, I can only imagine where this would go if HandReach were funded the way it needs to be funded.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience, as a student nurse from Northeastern University to be a part of this organization, has truly made me proud to be a future nurse. It was extremely rewarding to help these burn victims and see their progress over a four month period while I was in Beijing. It was so touching just to see a child walk after having third degree burns in her legs. It has inspired me so much to become a nurse and that I can help not only people in the United States but also help adults and kids around the world. The organization has provided so much help to these kids who need the proper care for their burns and I was very fortunate enough to be a part of this amazing organization.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is a amazing organizations which beleives in making childrens life all they can be by providing special care. Children of china are able to live a full and respectfull life becaus of the organization.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an Occupational Therapist, the goals of HandReach are consistent with the holistic way we approach our work. We both want children to be productive and happy members of society. HandReach not only provides the funding for medical expenses for these needy children, but also trained the therapists in China to better rehabilitate them following surgery which we know is the key to a good outcome. In addition, HandReach is looking for innovative ways to help the children such as making podcasts to train therapists and family members on positioning and splinting which are vital following surgery. Children are our future and can do amazing things in the midst of severe obstacles and HandReach gives them this chance.