Volunteer Opportunities Abroad: Opening the Eyes of Our Youth to the Spirit of Service

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One World Brigades, Volunteering, High School, College
The Ghanaians teaching our group how to Bongo. (They make it look so easy!)

Do you have a desire to make a positive change in the world? There’s few among us who wouldn’t say yes to that question. Yet, there are equally few who feel they have the means to actually do something – especially as a young adult stepping out into the world. Lot’s of big dreams and ambition, but few resources.

One World Brigades, Volunteering, High School, CollegeThis is where an organization like One World Brigades comes into play. One World Brigades, formerly Summerwood Dental Brigades, is a non-profit developed by one of Tualatin’s own, Dr. Julie Spaniel, who is driven by a passion for advancing student global education, worldwide health awareness, and furthering access to healthcare in rural communities through student involvement. Through her non-profit, Dr. Spaniel offers student-led dental and healthcare programs in Ghana, Uganda and Honduras. Her mission is “opening the eyes of our youth to the spirit of service” by bringing our youth to serve alongside healthcare professionals in remote areas of the world. “These rural communities benefit from health services they were previously lacking, and students gain an experience of a lifetime that changes their perspective of our world and the value of serving others,” she states.

One World Brigades, Volunteering, High School, College
Dr. Spaniel holds a baby in a rural village near Have, in Ghana, on the border of Togo.

The volunteer programs offer a unique opportunity for both high schoolers (juniors and seniors) and college students to be part of something greater than themselves. Together with a team of healthcare professionals, the students assist with dental/medical care and teach basic oral hygiene skills. Most notably, they help create sustainable health practices for international communities, and return home with a deep sense of gratitude and a life-long desire to serve others.

Student volunteer Aiden Shumay traveled with the brigade to Ghana in 2018. For Aiden, the experience was transformative. “Seeing the community members take an assertive stance on their healthcare—to engage with their own bodies and healthcare—taught me the importance of public health programs in underserved areas. I saw change and growth in just the few days we were in each community. Personally, this trip helped me realize and pursue a career in the medical field, where I continue to be an advocate for public health programs and organizations.” Aiden’s experience was not atypical, and Dr. Spaniel has witnessed a change in world perspective again and again in the student volunteers that have served with One World Brigades over the years.

One World Brigades, Volunteering, High School, College
Students assisting Dr. Spaniel in dental extractions in Uganda.

Millions of children and adults are suffering around the globe and are in desperate need of help. One World Brigades is answering this call for help. If you are a student, medical professional or an adult who wants to make a difference in the world, this is your chance to be part of something bigger than yourself. Typical volunteers are students with an interest in dentistry, medicine, social work, Spanish immersion or simply a heart for community service. There volunteer opportunities for adults and medical professionals, as well.

By volunteering to deliver aid to those in need, you can improve the lives of others. Through individual acts of kindness, compassion and selfless service you can help to make the world a better place.

For more information about One World Brigades and the volunteer opportunities abroad this January in Ghana and next summer in Honduras and Uganda, please visit www.OneWorldBrigades.org or send an email to info@OneWorldBrigades.org.