Changing Lives on a Journey to Nicaragua

As the wise Gandhi once said, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Countless people and organizations abide by the truth of these words, dedicating their lives to the common good of others, and sharing in its resulting wonder.  Such is the case with AmeriCares, a non-profit emergency response and global health organization that delivers medical and humanitarian aid to those in need all around the world.  Just this past weekend, our company had the privilege to contribute to these charitable efforts by participating in a special AmeriCares event to provide support to those living in Nicaragua.  Through generous agent donations and company matching, our company and agents contributed over $16,000 to AmeriCares, which will be used toward providing medical and humanitarian assistance to impoverished Nicaraguans.

The extraordinary event, named “Journey to Nicaragua,” offered agents who made donations the opportunity to be selected by a raffle and then fly to the country and witness first hand how their donations make a difference. The weekend trip involved various visits to clinics and hospitals including a children’s cancer hospital in need of improved medical resources and conditions.  After visiting, agents described the poor surroundings and tremendous need for aid.  One hospital claimed that families often have to travel five to seven hours to get to its location.  Another hospital only offered one 15-year-old heart monitor to share among eight patients as well as only one MRI machine with a two-month waiting list.  Upon arrival at scenes such as these, there was no need for second guessing the positive impact all efforts and donations raised would have on the Nicaraguan community.

The four lucky raffle winners for the trip included Rachel Walsh of the New Canaan, Conn. brokerage, Lynn Julian of the Darien, Conn. brokerage, Rick Weiner of the Essex, Conn. brokerage, and Carol Napadensky of the Scarsdale, N.Y. brokerage.

“The organizational skills that the AmeriCares staff and volunteers exhibited was so incredible that if they could bottle that level of service and anticipation of every need, it would be amazing,” said Walsh. “I can’t say enough about AmeriCares, their mission, staff and volunteers, their commitment and knowledge, and the time they give of themselves while expecting nothing in return. I hope others get to experience what I did at some point in their lives as the trip really helps to open your mind to how others live and how you can help.”

Immediately before take-off, the selected agents attended a dinner event at the Westchester County Airport, along with managers and senior leaders from the company, in addition to Building and Land Technology (BLT) CEO Paul Kuehner, a co-chair for the event. Actor Tony Goldwyn spoke to the audience in addition to individuals who have served with and been helped by AmeriCares.

“I am so proud of everyone from our company who participated in this event and generously gave to this vital humanitarian organization,” said Paul Breunich, President and Chief Executive Officer of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. “AmeriCares has a powerful impact in areas all around the world where aid is needed. I am thrilled to be a part of an office environment that is so passionate about supporting such important causes.”

In total the event raised more than $2 million, which AmeriCares claims will make a lasting difference in the lives of countless individuals throughout the world.  Whether they traveled to Nicaragua, or simply donated and raised awareness right at home, everyone who participated in this incredible cause were all part of a joint journey to help others and gain a life-changing experience in return.

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