When I was first approached to join the Board of Directors of Clinica Verde I did the proper due diligence, visited their website, read all the background materials, met some of the other board members and came away impressed, excited and challenged. When I actually visited the Clinica, I saw not only the facility itself, but the surrounding community it serves. Seeing all this first-hand, it surpassed my first -already high- impressions and expectations.This is only the beginning and I am thrilled and humbled to be in a position to help see this model not replicated but enhanced and extended.
The first time I saw Clinica Verde it took my breath away. In an area with extreme poverty where cinder block and sheet metal shacks are the norm, this beautiful facility stood and clearly announced its purpose; to be a place people want to go.
I have been back to CV many times. I've watched the team hire talented, dedicated, compassionate staff who now care for thousands of families in need each year. I've watched it establish strategic partnerships with international organizations. I've watched it innovate and expand. And I've watched it impact the healthcare of an entire region in one of the poorest countries on the planet.
I pray that more people will learn about this amazing organization and travel there to witness their good work. I pray that talented people will continue to come forward to help. And I pray that more people will $upport it so that it can continue to change the world.
What inspired me to spend more time with Clinica Verde and how Baseball saved a mother’s life
- by Kimberly Smith
In some families the expectations are for the children to be doctors or lawyers, in our family the expectation was always that we give back to our world and our community. Not that giving was your primary job, just that giving should always be part of anything you choose to do.
This message growing up wasn’t an external message, it was just part of who we were and how we chose to use our time. As a kid growing up I never really thought much about it but I guess it was more obvious than I realized because when I graduated from high school I wasn’t voted most likely to succeed or become a movie star, I was give a award for “Potential for Public Service.” Because I had never really thought about it before this title made me stop and think. What did it mean? What was I supposed to do with it? Truly I had no ambition for public service and was somewhat confused about this and it made me wonder what they saw in me that was different then those around me.
In college I studied business and political science and graduated with the opportunity to go work with my husband in a small woman owned real estate corporate housing business in San Francisco. Over the next few years we helped this company grow from $400,000 in annual revenue to over $10,000,000 in annual revenue.
Two years into this adventure my father who was only 53 years old was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within a few months. His life story was one of overcoming adversity and giving back. So it was quite a shock that at the young age of 53 his life would end so abruptly. I got angry at our imperfect world, but I also thought if I am here on this earth for 27 years, 53 years or 100 years I better make sure I make a “contribution” to this world. Once again I was faced with an idea that didn’t have a specific definition and something I was not sure what to do with.
Over the course of the next year I abruptly quit my job, decided to move back to Denver and my husband and I decided to start our own real estate corporate housing business. As a young 26 year old entrepreneur I had dreams of greatness, of ways to grow the business, to create wealth and then have the opportunity to “contribute” to the world. We had some success with the business which was then followed by the economic crash of the Dot Com bubble and then shortly there after the economic slowdown following the September 11th attacks. As a small business we made cuts to survive and then focused on growing the business again.
Over the years we did better than most, started two more businesses and continue to run those now 15 years later. But the large cash bucket we had originally envisioned never materialized. What I did realize during those years is the importance to give what you can now and not just wait for some big event in the future. So I challenged myself to figure out what I could do to support my community and my world at each stage of my life and not just at some future point in time. I am happy to say that as I look back over these years there were a lot of ways we were able to make a positive impact on the world around us.
A few years ago I was at our family lake house in northern Ontario Canada when I attended a going away party for a family down the road. It was at this party that I met Susan Dix Lyons the founder of Clinica Verde. It turns out the Dix family house was just a few doors away from our family home and we had both spent our summers on the same lake but had never met. Susan and I just connected and seemed to have a shared vision for the world and love for making it a better place. Over the course of the next few months I came to learn about Clinica Verde and was invited to join the Board for their annual meeting in Nicaragua.
As a mother of two young boys my free time was limited, but I decided a 4 day trip to Nicaragua was something I could do and was the best gift I could give to myself. The next challenge for me was what could I do that fit my limited budget but might be helpful. Not a doctor, I didn’t know where to find medical supplies and I thought there had to be something I could bring with me. I learned that in Nicaragua the kids played baseball and there was even a local baseball field and team. As the mother of two boys who played baseball this was something I was familiar with.
I started by calling Sports Authority as they had their corporate headquarters near my home. They donated a bucket of balls and a few other items. This was a great start, but didn’t seem quite enough. My next idea was to send out an email to my local community asking for extra items that people might have and I left a big tub on my front porch. When I did arrived in Managua, Nicaragua I was carrying over 100 pounds of baseball equipment.
During our trip to the clinic Susan arranged for me to meet with the baseball team and have the opportunity of sharing the items directly with the children. We all had a great time tossing the balls, wearing new hats and laughing a lot.
During this time I was traveling with the Board of Directors for Clinica Verde that also included a number of doctors. The meeting site chosen for me to meet with the baseball team was in front of a family’s home in a rural community outside Boaco where the clinic is located. While I was playing baseball, Susan and the doctors went inside to meet with the family. In the home there was a young teenage girl who had recently given birth via c-section and the doctors discovered her incision was deeply infected. The doctors we able to help care for the infection and coordinate for her to visit Clinica Verde.
Some time later I was speaking with Susan and inquired after the girls health. Susan let me know the girl was doing fine. She had come to the clinic and the infection was gone. However, Susan went on to tell me the girl had stolen some surgical gloves during her visit. Shocked I was very confused at why someone who had just been given so much would steal something as small as surgical gloves. Susan went on to tell me the girl had stolen the gloves to fill up with clean water from the clinic to take home to the child. Wow, in that one moment I got some glimpse of how important Clinica Verde was to that community, how even a small amount of clean water could make a difference in someone’s life.
What I first was attracted to with Clinica Verde was how they were able, in just a few short years, conceive an idea, develop that idea and create a vibrant structure, health system, community center and vision for the future. As we progress with the development of the Boaco facility I develop an even greater appreciation for all the details that the founder’s vision for Clinica Verde incorporated from the water system that now waters the organic garden to the open courtyard that supports educational events. I appreciated that the vision for the first Clinica Verde clinic was to create a “prototype” on which to develop a larger system of clinics that can deliver “Heath and Hope” wherever they are built.
I know the Boaco Clinic is the first, but really it is the foundation, on which successful clinics and health cares systems and services can be developed. I appreciate now that “contribution” to our world can be done one small step at a time.
Many years ago I fell ill in the Gobi desert and was taken in by the local women who nursed me back to health. Through this experience I had the opportunity of experiencing unconditional love and giving. In 2012 I had the opportunity to visit Clinica Verde and see first hand their unconditional love and giving. When you arrive at Clinica Verde your first impression is of substance and structure and as soon as you walk into the building you will see professionalism, care, quality and hope. Clinica Verde is not a room that wants to make people feel better, Clinica Verde is a community structure that supports the health and development of everyone it touches. In just a few short years Clinica Verde has gone from idea to reality and has become a true support system for the Boaco community. Clinica Verde has made the most of every dollar donated to the cause and is now working on sustainability through larger grassroots support because each dollar can make the difference in a person’s life. I am blessed to be part of Clinica Verde and its goal to support Health & Hope throughout the world.
Clinica Verde is an organization that is truly dedicated to the mission of serving and bettering the lives of many. The success of the various projects it takes up and the growth it has seen since its inception could be viewed as a shocking thing. However, things such as solar panels, a biointensive garden, and quality health care for those who need it the most have always been part of what makes Clinica Verde so special. It is unique in its ability as an organization to challenge itself to do those things that push the boundaries of what might be normal or expected, and in this way is truly a mighty force for good.
I have never found it difficult to speak to the amazing work that Clinica Verde does or to the passion of those involved in the organization. This belief, care, and dedication is beyond evident in every aspect of all that they do. When I went down and visited the clinic for the first time this past spring, I was astonished not because it was everything that I knew it to be from the videos, stories, and data, but because it was all of that and much, much more. There is no doubt that Clinica Verde is a new, innovative model, but for more than just health care. It is an ideal that can transcend into government, agriculture, business, and all social services, where success and sustainability is inextricably connected to the well being of the people it supports. I was overwhelmed by hope when I first walked through the clinic doors. I can only imagine what will be achieved by this amazing non-profit in the coming years, and I am so excited to continue my involvement with Clinica Verde as it continues to be "a mighty force for good."
Clínica Verde is definitely a new model of health care, in this beautiful clinic's patient care is our top priority, which is based on quality standards and with great warmth, we serve needy families in Boaco, Nicaragua, but not only we cure the disease, but also we do health education in prevalent diseases, sanitary habits, healthy food, organic farming, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, among others. Our priority is women and children and for them we care including specialized curative and preventive activities, are also very important teenagers, so we set up a counseling center on sexual and reproductive health for adolescents in order to support the reduction teen pregnancy that is very high in the region. Our patients are very pleased with the curative and preventive care they receive here and I am very proud to belong to the great Family Clínica Verde.
As an American-Nicaraguan citizen I am very proud to be involved with such a great organization as Clinica Verde is, The great team that Clinica Verde has in our board of directors is hard working, very pro active, creative and strives for excellence, and the team that we have at clinica Verde in Nicaragua is very helpful and attentive to the needs of our patients and eager to work for the good of the people Boaco, the projects that Clinica Verde manages are focused on needs for services not served previously in this part of Nicaragua, nutrition, organic agriculture, teen pregnancy prevention, Cryotherapy, colposcopies and others, I have experience working with other NGOs in the health area in Nicaragua and I can say with property that Clinica Verde works very efficient and with high level of dedication to their patients and projects.
Clinica Verde has filled a great void in the health services in a rural area of extreme poverty in Boaco with a quality medical services, and very efficient and compassionate providers. the impact that Clinica Verde has had on the communiries is serving is invaluable, the area it serves went from having a very limited or almost a non existing maternal - infant care presence to having a center of excellence in the maternal - infant care services.
Clinica Verde is a true success story. Starting as most do, with a clear idea, passionate and capable leadership and constant, realistic positive communication, a small community effort has expanded into a global group that has manifested and is delivering high quality health care to a poor community in northern Nicaragua. This was done in a relatively short period of time (less than 3 years) and it continues to grow today. I cannot imagine a better use of time and resources. Bravo to Susan Dix Lyons and her group of professionals, contributors and supporters as well as the staff in Nicaragua at Clinica Verde. Adelante y Ascendente!
I have served as a board member on several nonprofit organization. All of those organizations are doing great work for the community, but I have never been involved in an organization as effective as Clinica Verde. In a relative short time, Clinica Verde has been able to directly and significantly impact the lives of hundreds of women and children in a relatively short period of time. Clinica Verde's success is due in most part to its executive director and founding board member, Susan Dix Lyons, whose vision and heart know no bounds.