Inbox: Follow Your Heart: Volunteer As I skimmed through an ASHA Leader last year, I came across an e-mail in the Inbox section requesting speech-language pathology volunteers to provide services at an outpatient clinic in Petion-Ville, Haiti (on.asha.org/haiti-vols). I contacted Donna Hutchinson to see if they would consider clinical fellows, and I nearly burst into ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   March 01, 2014
Inbox: Follow Your Heart: Volunteer
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Healthcare Settings / Professional Issues & Training / International & Global / Inbox
Inbox   |   March 01, 2014
Inbox: Follow Your Heart: Volunteer
The ASHA Leader, March 2014, Vol. 19, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.19032014.4
The ASHA Leader, March 2014, Vol. 19, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.19032014.4
As I skimmed through an ASHA Leader last year, I came across an e-mail in the Inbox section requesting speech-language pathology volunteers to provide services at an outpatient clinic in Petion-Ville, Haiti (on.asha.org/haiti-vols). I contacted Donna Hutchinson to see if they would consider clinical fellows, and I nearly burst into tears when she said yes. I have wanted to join the Peace Corps for as long as I can remember, so I was overjoyed to learn of an experience that aligned so perfectly with my desire to help people in need.
As I reflect on 2013, volunteering with Global Therapy Group stands out as a transformative experience, both personally and professionally. Watching the Haitians wait hours for therapy, without annoyance or complaint, taught me to be more patient in my own life. Living among people for whom food and shelter are a daily struggle gave me perspective and a newfound appreciation for what is really important in life and what is meaningless materialism. When developing treatment plans, I had to continually remind myself that life here was far removed from my comfortable, middle-class existence, and to check myself when referring to things that many Haitians will never see, much less take for granted. In many areas of Haiti, speech treatment is not accessible to those who can benefit from the services.
It was exhilarating to witness the smiles spread across the patients’ faces when they realized I was able to help them communicate more effectively. As 2014 begins, I urge anyone who has ever considered a volunteer mission to take the leap and follow your heart.

Thank you for sharing your successful experience and the Leader’s role in helping it happen.

Rachel Egbert, Lanoka Harbor, N.J.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
March 2014
Volume 19, Issue 3