Jocelin wore a look of intense concentration. He surveyed the Jenga tower over and over again. Slowly, he prodded the blocks, trying to find the loose piece, methodically working from the bottom of the tower to the top and back down. Finally, one piece budged. Jocelin smiled and looked up at his competition sitting across from him. Nurse Emma Morrison had never beaten Jocelin at Jenga – and she wouldn’t beat him today either.
Just two months earlier, Jocelin came to the Africa Mercy with a golf ball-sized tumor growing behind his right eye and pushing his eye out of its socket. Because his right eye was more exposed to the elements, it was more sensitive to light and dust. So Jocelin wore a hat and sunglasses, even indoors.
Jocelin’s final hope rested with Dr. Gary Parker, Chief Medical Officer and maxillofacial surgeon onboard the Africa Mercy.
Dr. Gary was hopeful, but cautious. The procedure to remove the tumor was risky. There was no guarantee that Jocelin would even be able to keep his eye, much less regain the sight in it.
But Jocelin thought the surgery was worth the risk. And his brave decision paid off. Dr. Gary successfully removed the tumor, and Jocelin kept his eye.
His eye was swollen shut for a few weeks. Finally it began to open . . . and Jocelin could see!
Two months later, Jocelin returned for a check-up. To everyone’s delight, his eye was almost completely open. More importantly, Jocelin could see well out of the eye.
“I can see. The only problem I have is I cannot read small print. If I cover my left eye, I can read what is written on your badge with my right eye. But if it is smaller, I would not be able to read it,” Jocelin said.
Not bad for someone who nearly lost his eye.
There were two constants throughout Jocelin’s stay on the Africa Mercy: his friendship with Matt and Emma Morrison and Jenga. Matt and Emma are both nurses. They formed a special relationship with Jocelin from the first moment they met him. To entertain him ahead of his surgery, Emma pulled out a Jenga game – and thus began a marathon. During Jocelin’s three-week stay, they played hundreds of games of Jenga – each game more intense than the last.
“I could never beat him when he had only one good eye. Now that he has two good eyes, forget it,” said Emma with a laugh. “I’ll never win now!”
After being crowned Jenga champion by the Morrisons, Jocelin shared his new outlook and his excitement for the future: “Before the surgery, I could not have too much of a relationship with people. Now I can do that perfectly! I can do everything I want to do in business because I can communicate normally. I’m sure every pain is gone now, and my future will be full of happiness and peace.”
Story by Tanya Sierra
The yellow card doesn’t look like much but these cards are used to write down the information about new patients when their surgery date that has been decided on or further screening.
Handing this card over means handing them the promise of a new life, carefully printed on a label stuck to a little rectangle of yellow plastic. Thousands of hands in Madagascar have reached for these.
I’m holding mine right now; it feels like nothing, and yet on Wednesday these cards will carry all the tremendous weight of hope and fear and longing. There will be hundreds, maybe thousands of hands reaching for them, and we have been tasked with deciding whose fingers will close around one and whose will go home empty. It’s an enormous responsibility, one that none of us takes lightly, and I’m feeling all the usual emotions as I prepare for the day, anticipation and apprehension fighting for the upper hand just like they always do.
Mercy Ships Project: Helping Babies Breathe Course
Mercy Ships healthcare education strategy aims to improve the entire surgical ecosystem in a hospital. With this objective in mind, we have developed various training projects that include mentoring, courses for groups, and observation opportunities. Courses teach specific skills and knowledge to health workers in a classroom-style setting.
Mentoring projects allow both information building and knowledge transfer, but also strengthen the relationship between the project facilitator and participant, and produce in-depth, tailored clinical teaching. The participants in the projects are generally, but not limited to, surgeons, anesthetists, operating room nurses, ward nurses, sterile processing technicians, hospital leadership, and other support staff.
For each participant in the Healthcare Education Program, the goal is to impart knowledge, skills, and a compassionate and professional attitude. This project plan describes the activities involved to improve the quality of care offered by local nurses.
The goal of the Helping Babies Breathe Course in Madagascar was to increase Malagasy nurses, midwives, and birth attendants’ skills and abilities in resuscitation and care of newborns, through Peace Corps volunteers working in rural health center settings
Educate 6-8 Peace Corps volunteers (PCV) in the Helping Babies Breathe curriculum through lectures and practical skills stations. Each volunteer will then train 4-6 rural nurses, midwives, and birth attendants. Peace Corps volunteers master the material and are able to train rural health center workers in Helping Babies Breathe and have adequate materials to do so.
Follow-up with the participants in their health centers Participants learn to address problems specific to their hospitals.
Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) is a neonatal resuscitation curriculum created for resource-limited circumstances. It was developed on the premise that assessment at birth and simple newborn care can improve chances for survival.
This project is a train-the-trainer course designed to help improve infant and maternal mortality rates in rural health clinics in Madagascar. To implement this project, Mercy Ships will facilitate the Helping Babies Breathe course for rural health volunteers from the U.S. Peace Corps. Prior to participating in the course, the volunteers will collect data on newborn resuscitation and survival rates, and maternal deaths to help guide potential future training projects. Volunteers will then participate in a one-day training program and given all necessary materials to reproduce the course in their rural environments. After completing the course, volunteers will aim to train 4-6 rural birth attendants, nurses, and midwives in their respective villages. A follow-up team will visit the Peace Corps Volunteers to assess retention of knowledge and skills and their ability to train rural health workers. The follow-up will also provide an opportunity to help address any problems with implementation. After training, the Peace Corps Volunteers will also collect data on newborn resuscitation and survival rates and maternal deaths to learn if there is any resulting change in clinical outcomes and will use this information for quality improvement purposes.
Assessment of Participants:
Facilitators will be continually assessing the performance of the participants throughout the course in order to help them address their strengths and weaknesses while helping them build upon the skills they already possess.
What are corporate gift matching programs?
Many companies want to support the causes that their employees care about, so they set up charitable giving programs through which they match employee donations to eligible nonprofits. Matching gift programs are offered by many Canadian companies, ranging from … to …
An example of a matching gift in action would be a donor, who works for Costco, who donates $200 to Mercy Ships.The donor then submits the proper matching gift forms to his employer’s HR department or through an exclusive employee portal. Costco receives the request and matches the donation 1:1 by writing a check for $250 to the same nonprofit. The $250 check written by Bank of America is the matching gift, and it’s an example of how corporate giving can provide a major boost to any fundraising campaign.
Why do development staff and organizations overlook matching gifts?
Due to a number of barriers to entry, it’s a challenge for nonprofits to cultivate all of their potential matching gift money:
Limited information on where your donors or their spouses work
A lack of general knowledge about corporate giving programs
Challenges with communicating the appropriate match process, guidelines, and steps, so your donors can complete matching gift requests on their own
Given these obstacles, too many matching donations slip through nonprofits’ fingers. If you’re looking to increase matching donations, check out Double the Donation’s matching gift service. We can help you to raise more money from corporate employee giving programs.
Learn more about Double the Donation’s matching gift service.
Why should nonprofits focus on matching gifts?
Every dollar counts, and matching gifts are free money that nonprofits often overlook. Your organization has already completed the heavy lifting of attracting donors and receiving donations, so don’t let easy, additional funding slip through your fingers.
Tracking and sharing matching gift information can be a major obstacle for a single nonprofit. Subscribing to a matching gift service makes it easy for donors both to discover that your organization accepts matching gifts and to find the relevant information for their respective companies.
Learn more about Double the Donation’s matching gift service.
Why do companies offer matching gift programs?Companies with Matching Gift and Volunteer Grant Programs
In a perfect world, companies would match donations merely because they want to improve the world around them. That’s part of the equation, but much more factors into a company’s decision to offer a corporate giving program than the opportunity to do some good.
Perhaps the most common reason for corporate giving is the tax exemptions. That underscores the major theme of why corporate giving exists: Donating to charity is good for business.
Aside from money, matching gifts are great for global branding. For instance, Toms are synonymous with their one-for-one shoe program, and Google is regularly praised for its dedication to philanthropy. When businesses give back, they builds good reputations, and people associate those companies with positive emotions. Many consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that care about the bigger picture.
Matching gifts also build goodwill among employees. When employees submit matching gift requests, they’re asking their companies to support the causes that they care about, and the companies comply (so long as the nonprofit is eligible). In this way, companies help employees to give more and nonprofits to do more, which most employees are grateful for. This builds employee loyalty and adds to occupational satisfaction.
Moreover, companies don’t want to donate to corrupt, inefficient, or scandalous nonprofits. Matching gift programs help to weed out the rotten apples in the nonprofit basket, so that corporate dollars go to organizations that will truly drive change. Furthermore, companies don’t have to worry about figuring out where to donate money, as employees dictate the dispersal of funds.
Learn more about why companies offer matching gift programs.
What companies match employee donations?
Big companies, small companies, established corporations, and inspired start-ups around the world offer matching gift programs. In fact, about 65% of Fortune 500 companies (and many others of all sizes) match employee donations. Millions of individuals work for companies that match employee donations.
Although corporations don’t always release specific figures, top contributors include Microsoft (more than $48 million annually) and GE (more than $37 million annually):
Microsoft’s Matching Gift ProgramMicrosoft logo
Microsoft’s corporate giving program was started in 1983, when 200 employees raised $17,000 for nonprofits. Today, over 39,000 employees participate in the company’s corporate giving program.
Employee donations between $25 and $15,000 will be matched at a 1:1 ratio. Full-time employees, part-time employees, spouses, and board members may all submit donation requests, but retirees are not eligible.
Learn more about the Bank of Montreal’s matching gift program.
Click here to browse through a list of companies offering a matching gift program. Speak to your employer today!