Global Brigades: University of Kentucky

Global Brigades: University of Kentucky

Global Brigades is a secular non-profit organization
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Global Brigades started as a medical relief organization for impoverished communities abroad but has now grown to include eight other types of brigades; including Public Health, Dental, and Engineering. Global Brigades is a secular non-profit organization that relies on student and professional volunteers to promote a holistic method when providing aid. The holistic method educates and empowers the members of the community to continue the work that Global Brigades began when the student-led brigades have left the country. Using this method allows the aid the volunteers bring to have a lasting impact!

Global Brigades is a relatively new campus organization, entering their third year as an official campus organization. The past years, they have completed two medical/dental brigades and two public health brigades to Honduras that have collectively aided over two thousand people. Each brigade is nine days, with three days in the community clinic and three days completing a public health project. This past year their project was building eco-stoves to decrease the number of pneumonia and lung cancer cases caused by smoke inhalation in kitchens. Over winter break Global Brigades will be returning to Honduras to continue providing care for rural communities.

This past winter break was Rebecca Joel's, current Global Brigades president, first brigade experience. On Rebecca's brigade, her eyes were opened to the differences in health care across countries. Over the six days of the brigade, Rebecca's group provided medical care to the 646 members of the La Candelaria community. As a pre-med student, such a trip was not a vacation; it was a deeply humbling experience because Rebecca was shown how important medical care is to the well-being of the citizens in a community. Getting to work with people who needed health care reminded Rebecca of why she is set on this path. The goal of Global Brigades is to help the community become self-sustaining through their Holistic Model. With this model, the volunteers are enlisted for only as long as the community is needing supplies and care. During Rebecca's brigade, she was able to sit with dentists, watching them extract and clean teeth, learn directly from their doctors, and interact with the children of the community. Being part of this model made Rebecca feel that the work that she put into this community was going to help improve it because the steps Rebecca took were going towards the larger picture instead of ‘right-now.’



Cassie Huff, former Global Brigades president of the public health department, was unsure of what her path would be her junior year of college. Cassie states that she felt lost as a college student not sure what her calling for this life is, Cassie felt that she had no passion for the subject she was studying, which in turn led to her not knowing what she was going to do in school or as a career. She had always had an interest in helping people and the medical field, but was unhappy as a biology major. A friend told her about the Global Brigades Chapter at the University of Kentucky, and was immediately interested. Although she was unsure of what she wanted to do in her future, she knew this would be one-in-a-lifetime opportunity and would look great on her résumé. Cassie was enlightened by the importance of public health and inspired by the determination of the community and volunteers to improve the health of the community as a whole. She realized, because of this organization, that global and public health was her passion. Global Brigades taught Cassie the importance of helping the community become a fully sustainable community. This goal is implemented through Global Brigades holistic model. Cassie was inspired by Global Brigades and the passion of the communities she had worked in, that she then became an intern for the summer and was able to work with more communities in Nicaragua. Cassie was also able to see the “behind the scenes” work of this organization, which only increased her love and respect for how amazing this non-profit is. Cassie has participated in several brigades and states that she full heartedly believes that Global Brigades has led her to her life passion.

This year, UK’s chapter is adding a station to the winter brigade, few other chapters are able to do this. Global Brigades is going to start an optometry station in the community they provide help to; with Honduras only having one optometry school there are only a handful of optometrists in the rural country. Most people do not have adequate eye protection i.e. sunglasses. Because of the dust many have eye infections and go blind. Opening up this station will allow Global Brigades to bring sunglasses, reading glasses, and regular glasses to those people who need eye protection. It will also give pre-optometry students a chance to learn more about optometry in another country. We are very excited about this addition that’s in the works presently! Global Brigades is a wonderful opportunity that allows you to become integrated into the workings of the community while providing medical, dental, and now optometry care to those that need it. If you’re interested in joining Global Brigades or would like to learn more about a different brigade, please email gbatuky@gmail.com for more information!

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Don't Be Afraid of Changing Your College Plan

It really isn't THAT bad...

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I can't claim to have any deep wisdom on life, but I at least have some good experience with a highly turbulent college career. I started as a game design major in a tech college in Rochester, NY, transferred to a college in Texas, and now I'm an English major at CofC.

My college life has been something of a roller coaster.

But I regret none of it. Maybe it would have been easier to stick to the track I was on initially, but I would never have been fully satisfied with it. Now I've finally found my place and, even though it may have taken a lot of shifting around, it was undoubtedly worthwhile.

I don't mean to say that everyone who is slightly dissatisfied with their major should transfer all over the country and change their major(I had to sacrifice the ability to get a minor because of the path I took, so I wouldn't recommend it to most people). I just believe that if you find yourself not liking the classes that are vital to your major or if you can't find a place at your current college, then changing your major or transferring isn't as horrible as you might imagine.

When I started college I was completely confident in what I wanted to do and what my future would look like. I thought it would be ridiculous for someone to stray from their initial path. That idea led to me deciding to transfer later than was smart.

I think everyone should know that having to change your plans for the future, sometimes in dramatic ways, isn't a bad thing. No matter how scary transferring and changing majors can seem, many people have done it before you and many will after, you aren't alone.

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