Est. Reading Time: 6 minutes
In this weeks ‘Partner Spotlight’, we get to know the Roberts Family. Christian and Rose founded Healing Hands of the Highlands and are now serving the local community of Guatemala. They share their plans for next year, a fun behind the scenes in what it’s like to get project funded, and much more!
Tell us a little about you. What inspired you personally to get involved with this work?
I (Christian) grew up in Harrisburg, PA. I always had an interest in the human body and how it works. I went to school to become a physical therapist assistant. My dad is a physical therapist and my mom is a physical therapist assistant, so you can say that it’s in my blood. My inspiration came from my parents but I am so motivated to see people get better through a natural course of treatment. Shortly after graduating from physical therapy school, my wife Rose, who is originally from Guatemala, and I, went to visit for 4 months. I was quickly overwhelmed by the present need for physical therapy in Guatemala. Thus in 2019, Healing Hands of the Highlands was founded.
Tell us about the work your organization does.
Our organization provides a variety of healthcare services to the underserved population of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Our focus is health services but we also provide disaster relief, family support and education. The majority of our time is spent operating an outpatient, physical therapy clinic and wellness center. On the days that we aren’t in the clinic, we spend traveling to patients’ homes for house calls, who are unable to access our clinic.
Tell us about one amazing project you fundraised for on DonorSee this year.
Wow! It is hard to choose just one, but there are two that stand out to me. The first is entitled, “Help Us Save Ismael’s Teeth Through Dental Work.” This project is special to us, because the young man who was helped, Ismael, is a dear friend of ours. In addition, I want to share the Lord’s provision and perfect timing. When we uploaded the project, we put out a big ask for Ismael. His front four teeth were badly infected. Before he could have any work done, he had to take a few prescription medications to clear the infection. We knew we would have to ask for more, once he followed up with the dentist. The dentist indicated that a lot of work had to take place in order to save his teeth and it would be quite expensive.
In faith, we increased the need and trusted that our DonorSee community would pull through on our behalf for Ismael. We had such an amazing response involving 17 different donors! At the onset, it didn’t appear to be getting much attention. We were about a week out from his first procedure and it was only funded about 40% or so. Rose and I were starting to worry a little bit and began praying. That week, the donations started flowing in! The night before his procedure, I checked the project one last time before going to bed and saw that we were only $50 short. Something that Rose and I decided we would pay out of our own support. When I woke up the next morning, I had a notification that the project was fully funded, the day of his procedure! Overnight, some two donors had funded the remaining $50! What is even crazier is that no one knew on the platform when his procedure was taking place. God provided all we needed at just the right time.
The second project was entitled, “Purchase New Crutch For Roberto.” This project was neat because I was actually on my lunch break from the clinic. I walked into the Central Park to grab some food and on my way, I met Roberto. He was begging outside of the Catholic Church. When he found out I was from the United States he exclaimed, “I want to go there.” I asked why and he said that he would receive more help there. I asked him what he needed help with and he said he needed money to buy a new crutch because his was all worn out. I told him that he didn’t need to go all the way to the United States to receive the “help,” that he spoke of. I took a short video and uploaded it to DonorSee and told him that there are people in the United States who want to help people like you but can’t come here either. The project was funded just hours later and Roberto received not one, but a set of new crutches! DonorSee has created a way for people like Roberto to receive help from people in the United States without ever leaving their homes.
What are the key challenges you face?
The majority of the patients that we treat lead difficult lives. By this, I mean, we are seeing patient for a physical abnormality, however, they have things going on at home or they recently experienced some sort of tragedy. Naturally, these hardships take a toll on a person’s mental and spiritual state, which ultimately influence them physically. So in order to really help someone rehabilitate to a better state, we can’t overlook these other aspects. Although this can be very challenging at times, we have seen it as a beautiful opportunity to really help people. It creates more opportunity to get involved in their lives and have much more impact.
What are your hopes and dreams for next year?
We are in the process of raising funds for a guest home that will house teams of medical personnel from the United States to aide us in our outreach efforts. The home’s blueprints are complete, we are simply waiting on the Lord’s provision. This project began as a thought in 2019 and has come such a long way. Our goal is to break ground in January 2022! In addition to this project, we are praying for a new space to come about. Our clinic is growing, between patients and staffing, and our need to expand is in the near future. We are praying that the Lord would provide us with a larger space that is more accommodating to our needs and the needs of our patients. The local university had to do away with their physical therapy program because there was nowhere for their students to receive hands-on, practical training. We are looking to revive that program by becoming a teaching clinic, so we can train up future physical therapists to better meet the needs of the community around us.
Do you have a message for the DonorSee community?
It is hard to put into words the gratitude we have for our DonorSee community and supporters. We have seen the expression, “many hands make light work,” lived out on a daily basis. Every time a supporter gives to our cause or any project on DonorSee, it allows us to create lasting impact. Rose and I are simply the faces behind the work but you, the DonorSee community, are what makes it all happen!