July was a very interesting and busy month for Roots of Health. Our Board of Directors held successful events in New York, and the month was full of happy welcomes to guests, visitors, and volunteers here in Palawan.
New York Board member Blanka Wolfe organized a successful Filipino Cooking Class fundraiser with Melanie Cecillio, a Filipino Chef from the Institute of Culinary Education. 20 Individuals took part in the class and the event was very successful and lots of fun as well. We all wish we could have been there.
Another New York Board Member, Stefanie Schmidt, successfully nominated Roots of Health to be a recipient in a fundraising drive by the law firm Weil, for a program called Pay it Forward. The firm will give a team of ROH supporters seed money to put on an event to raise funds for the organization. The Weil team has been hard at work even before the bar-night event they’re planning, and have secured some major sponsors for that party. We look forward to hearing how the event goes (it is scheduled for early August.)
In mid-month we welcomed Stephanie Lucas, who is interning with us from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York. Stephanie is working with Marcus and the clinical staff to bring order to our data on community members in all six of our communities. This is a major job, which she is well equipped to do!
Amie Perez, our very capable new teacher from Manila arrived in Puerto only two hours after Stephanie – and we had her in a classroom two days later. Amie brings valuable experience teaching Reproductive Health to disadvantaged young people – but she had been working as the sole teacher in an NGO in Manila, and with us is greatly enjoying the team work and the spirited brainstorming! We are very happy to have both Stephanie and Amie with us!
Four days later Peggy Berroth (Hong Kong Board member Katie Berroth’s mom) arrived to spark up the clinical team and do some volunteer nursing in our communities. This she enjoyed very much, especially when she and Deng Mampay, our nurse, were able to use the handheld Doppler machine that Peggy donated to us to let our expectant mothers hear the heartbeats of their children! We learned much from Peggy and enjoyed her visit, which was partly social as her two daughters, Katie and Margeaux, were also here visiting! All three of the amazing Berroth women have helped us in one way or another (or in many ways) and it was wonderful to have the three of them here together!
Meanwhile clinical work and teaching continued. Our midwife May went on maternity leave in the middle of the month, leaving only Deng on clinical work, but our other nurse Daisy Ellorquez is due back from her maternity leave in early August. And Deng really enjoyed Peggy’s help and company.
The teachers presented our whole high school curriculum to four different fourth year level classes of San Miguel National High School – a school actually quite near our new office, so much more a ‘city school’ than some of those we serve. They freshened up the curriculum and the activities by adding skits and tweaking parts of the lessons.
There is much to look forward to in August, with a volunteer, Hillary Rose Martin, arriving from Vermont to help document curriculum and best teaching practices, and our anniversary activity and party: we have invited Dr. Margie Holmes, who is very well known as a sex therapist, to come down to talk to a student group, and then we will ask the students to sit in groups and plan the sort of Reproductive Health Curriculum they would want to see in the schools – since this will be mandated by law as soon as the RH Law is ‘released’ by the Supreme Court! Our Advisory Committee will all be here and we are planning a nice post-activity party in La Terasse, a local restaurant we all like. We are celebrating four years of service in Palawan.
Thank you all for your continued interest in and support of Roots of Health!