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.
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.
I joined their board after seeing the powerful way passion and love combine with practicality to provide value to people in one of the poorest nations in our hemisphere. Core principles like dignity and compassion play out in a space that patients find so warm and welcoming that it's a delight to be there. I love the way CV has partnered with others to create a thriving bio-intensive community garden that serves as a demonstration and education center. I love the way teens are mentored to become leaders to their peers and educate regarding reproductive wellness and planning. I love the whole spirit of the place and those behind it.
I have worked throughout the developing world, and felt drawn to Clinica Verde by the culture it has developed though honoring the essential humanity in each of us. The culture is one that welcomes all, and cares not only for people's physical health but also for that of their Spirit, offering hope that things can be better.
It specializes in caring for women and children in one of the poorest regions in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, and I feel especially proud of the way it helps empower women to plan their families in a way that can help lift them out of poverty.
The clinic also helps provide families with eco-stoves that help prevent deforestation while improving families' physical and financial health. Community partnerships include a bio-intensive garden which raises consciousness as well as health. There's just so much to love!
I recently returned from a visit to Clinica Verde where I met with staff members and joined the interim Medical Director on an outreach visit to the surrounding community. What struck me most about the visit was the uncompromising commitment to an environment where every patient feels valued and loved. Staff members ensure that every person who walks through their doors feels respected, listened to, and cared for.
Set in a rural area of Nicaragua, Clinica Verde serves patients with few resources. In addition to providing in-patient and outreach medical services, the clinic provides educational programs to meet some of the greatest health priorities in the region. These preventive health programs serve adolescents, mothers and babies and provide a holistic approach that serves as a model to other clinics.
Clinica Verde's work is exceptional and their staff is inspirational.
I have worked in Africa, Central America and I am a former Minister of Health in Nicaragua and one of the most exiting and compelling characteristics of Clinica Verde is the determination of the staff to provide quality and humane health care to women, children, families with almost no resources. The gardener, the cleaning staff, the pharmacist, the clinical director, nurses and doctors are all convinced that health care is to show they care for people as a key element to provide health services. The director and the staff are always looking for ways to constantly reach out, they organize health fairs, participate in the vaccination campaigns, are trying to include new services, organize patients to have the opportunity to benefit from medical brigades. Key messages for prevention, good diagnosis and treatment are what the staff is aiming for. I thank all of the board members and everybody that has made possible that Clinica Verde continues to bring hope and health to Nicaraguans.
As a Founding Member of the Board and the Principal Architect for the Project, it has been my great pleasure to sign on to Clinica Verde. Over the past 30 years I've worked on many community projects and very few capture my heart and mind like CV has. First, the benefits of this type micro-healthcare produces immediate results in impoverished communities. Second, it's easily duplicated and therefore can be tailored to a community's specific needs -- in the case of CV Boaca, Nicaragua, families were the primary end users. They needed access to healthcare but information and education as well. Finally, the environmentally friendly design and building methords challenged me as an architect and the Board in general to bring something holistic and lasting to our world.
I have been working with Clinica Verde since 2007 and with another non-profit in Nicaragua for the past 7 years. I found the mission of Clinica Verde, to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rates within the country, such a compelling and worthy vision that there was very little doubt that I was going to get involved. All the people who are part of this organization, both on the Board of Directors and those tasked with implementation, are such a compassionate and caring group that it is energizing just to be part of this great cause.
I am a dutch citizen and met the President and Founder of Clinica Verde in California late 2007 during our holiday. My wife and I were really impressed by the passion, commitment and knowledge of her and the Board of Clinica Verde and were able to raise funds in Europe for this wonderful cause. Clinica Verde is a prototype nonprofit organization in need of the last small push of donors to finish construction of their first, much-needed, project in one of the poorest regions in Nicaragua.
I have been involved with Clinica Verde for the past 3 years. I have been impressed by the quality of the board members in the US and abroad and their commitment to building a sustainable and innovative medical clinic. The project planning has been intensive and deeply considered and the ongoing construction is being carefully monitored by the board. All of the board members have given financial support to this project and will see that it is wisely spent.
I have visited Nicaragua on several occasions with Clinica Verde and seen first hand the deplorable quality of the medical resources available to persons in the area it seeks to service. I am impressed by Clincia Verde's "vision" to provide health and hope to persons who currently receive little of either. I also am impressed by the quality of the people associated with the effort, in both the United States and Nicaragua, and with their continuing success in implementing the vision.