June – July 2017: Rainier MadrugaRainier Madruga was proudly selected as the June-July 2017 WBHI Volunteer of the Month because of his dedication and commitment to the organization over the past three years. Rainier, a Miami native, is a Business Analyst for Assurant, a corporate partner of WBHI. In 2014, he was introduced to the organization because Assurant served as a volunteer meeting location for WBHI’s October door-to-door outreach campaigns in Cutler Bay. He served as a volunteer and graciously made sure WBHI and its volunteers felt welcomed. Since participating in his first outreach campaign, Rainier continued to participate in outreach because of his love for the mission. In 2016, Rainier joined the Community Partners Leadership Program. He experienced the direct and immediate impact WBHI makes in the community to change and save lives. Rainier said that his favorite part about outreach is the people that he meets and the difference you make in their lives just through the simple act of knocking on a door and providing them with resources. It’s amazing how much personal benefit you receive from knocking on someone’s door. Thank you, Rainier!
November 2016: Richard PascualRichard Pascual, WBHI campus club’s Vice President at MDC-North campus serves a campus leader. Richard’s career aspiration is to pursue a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. Currently, he is a second year student at Miami Dade College North Campus. Richard was invited by a friend to get more involved on campus and joined Student Government and looked for more ways to be involved in his community. Richard wanted to make more of a difference which prompted his desire to volunteer at WBHI outreach in the Spring 2016. He instantly found great joy in his service to the community and was committed to fighting against breast cancer and heart disease. He always feels motivated to come back again and again. By being involved in the WBHI outreach campaigns and being the Vice President of the WBHI Club MDC-NC, Richard is very proud of the change he is making in his community. Richard and the WBHI campus club are committed to promoting prevention and early detection to the next generation. In his free time, he spends his time watching his favorite TV shows on Netflix or playing video games. I Also, spends time skateboarding and playing acoustic guitar. We truly appreciate his commitment, positive attitude and his willingness to make a difference. When asked about his first outreach experience he says “I was really excited because I get to serve the community and make a difference in people’s lives. I was, of course, somewhat scared because, in a way, it was a new experience and it’s an introvert person thing. Although I didn’t get to an appointment on my first outreach, it didn’t discourage me from returning. Rather, it motivated me to come back and try again. I got my first appointment the very last Saturday of outreach. What I felt when I had my first appointment could not just simply be described by words. It was more than joy. It definitely made me jump.” Thank you Richard!
February 2016: Karelis Vieira
As one of our newest Community Partners, Karelis has already proven herself to be committed and dedicated to WBHI’s cause. When she is not helping the women in her community, Karelis is an office manager for Molly Maids. She is pursuing her love of music by studying Music Business at Miami-Dade College. In her free time, Karelis also loves to paint and draw. Karelis began volunteering with WBHI in the Fall of 2015, after some convincing from a close friend. After her first outreach, Karelis was hooked, and has come out every Saturday after that. Knowing she would be able to help fight breast cancer and heart disease was one of the main reasons Karelis decided to be a part of the Community Partner Leadership Program. For Karelis, it was personal because her grandmother died from cancer and she wanted to help prevent breast cancer and heart disease from becoming death sentences. “I really enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I’m helping the women we serve and making a difference in their lives.” Being able to make a difference with likeminded people has also been a highlight of Karelis’ experience as a volunteer. “I love the comradery between the volunteers, it’s a great feeling.” She also mentioned how much she’s learning about herself from being a Community Partner. The first time Karelis spoke in front of a crowed of volunteers she was extremely nervous. “I practiced word for word what I wanted to say, but the moment I got up there everything I practiced went out the window,” she said. To Karelis’ surprise, she relied on her instincts to get her through her speech and it turned our better then she could have hoped for. Being a Community Partner has definitely helped Karelis get out of her comfort zone, and has helped her realize her own potential. When asked what message she wanted to communicate with potential volunteers, Karelis said “try it at least once, because you will definitely want to come back. It’s always a fun time, you get to meet new, incredible people and at the same time you get to make a difference. It’s a win, win!”
January 2016: Willie IvorySince the Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative’s inception in 2006, Willie Ivory has been on the front lines. Not only as the Chairman of the Board, but as a dedicated volunteer. It all began when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was fortunate enough to receive the care she needed to prevent this diagnoses from becoming a death sentence thanks to her health insurance. But what about the women who don’t have the same privilege? That was the moment she had a great idea that could save lives, which inspired Willie to join his wife in the fight against breast cancer. Football was no longer the highlight of Willies’ Saturdays. “Her diagnoses changed my perspective on what was really important,” he said. Volunteering every Saturday has helped Willie see the bigger picture. Life is too short to waste time being unproductive. According to Willie, there is no better way to spend your days then by helping others. Willie recalls his most memorable WBHI moment while volunteering during outreach season. He and his team knocked on the door of a woman who was not happy to have visitors. After refusing to hear why they were there, Willie left the woman a door hanger and continued his route with his team. A few minutes later, the women came running after them in tears, apologizing and politely asking them to come back because she desperately needed the service WBHI was providing. The woman was so grateful, she donated $25.00 and signed up to become a volunteer. The message Willie would like readers to take away from his experience as a volunteer would be, “If people have an opportunity to serve their community and help others instead of doing things for themselves, they should do it, because there is nothing more rewarding.”
June 2015: Jessica Kern
Jessica Kern is always on the move. She recently graduated from Miami-Dade College’s Honors College and for the past two years, she’s been a full-time student while working part-time. Despite work and studies leaving her little free time, volunteering with The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative has become a priority in her life. Two years ago, Jessica was encouraged by one of her professors to get involved with a non-profit organization for class credit. After researching several non-profits, she decided that WBHI was exactly the kind of organization she wanted to help. She first volunteered in September 2013 as WBHI served the City of North Miami… and she has not looked back since. Right from the start, Jessica was impressed that she could truly make a difference in our community as a volunteer. She volunteered throughout that September and October at outreach and at the WBHI office. Her evident dedication to the organization and passion for the work led to her being offered a spot on the leadership team of the WBHI Community Partner Program. She accepted without hesitation. When asked about one of her favorite aspects of being a Community Partner, Jessica responded, “I love being there at 7am with the wonderful human beings who are greeting every volunteer that comes in. That’s our team.” Jessica also recognizes how important breast & heart health education is to the women in our community and how pivotal a role WBHI plays in helping spread awareness. Jessica says “It’s not just about mammograms, but also about promoting a healthy lifestyle, to keep women on track regarding personal health and awareness. It is so cool to see these things first-hand with WBHI.” Jessica is leaving this Fall to attend nursing school at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She says that WBHI has even played a part in that. “I have no words to describe how much being a Community Partner has helped me in my personal and professional life.”
May 2015: Deanna Landa
Deanna Landa was proudly selected as the May 2015 WBHI Volunteer of the Month because of her dedication and commitment to the organization over the last three years. While she was completing a dual master’s degree in Public Health and Health Services Administration at Barry University, Deanna first worked as a Program Intern at WBHI. However, one semester with WBHI wasn’t enough for Deanna. Given her impactful experience as an intern, she decided to continue with WBHI as a Community Partner. Deanna enjoys visiting different communities each outreach Saturday. Upon becoming a Community Partner, she realized that there are so many women throughout South Florida who are in need of WBHI’s services. Deanna is confident that the one of the best ways for addressing breast & heart health issues is by educating women through WBHI’s Door-to-Door Outreach campaigns. However, she recognizes that without passionate volunteers, these successful outreach campaigns could not be accomplished. When asked about her experience as a volunteer with WBHI Deanna says, “I try to make sure that when I am there, I am present. To not just show up, but remain truly dedicated to the mission.” Deanna feels that volunteering with WBHI allows her to be an engaging, active participant in the fight against breast cancer and heart disease.
March 2015: Ashley Peters
For eight years, Ashley Peters has made an outstanding impact at WBHI. As a business student in 2007 at the University of Miami, Ashley was encouraged to volunteer in February to earn extra credit in a Health Communications course. As she volunteered throughout the month, she acknowledged how important it was to continue her dedication to WBHI for much longer. Ashley feels inspired by this extraordinary and beneficial cause and it gives her a sense of fulfillment. She says that each individual volunteer and Community Partner’s impact is what makes this organization so unique and remarkable. Ashley recalls her most memorable WBHI moment – when she first volunteered on Screening Day. “At first, I was only volunteering at the outreach on Saturdays, but I wasn’t actually seeing the full picture. So on that day, I got to see the whole picture and why it was so worth it. I remember when women were going to receive their screenings, knowing that WBHI would support them no matter what the exam results were.” Volunteering really motivated Ashley and has helped her transition from a follower of WBHI’s mission to a leader. “We all work together as team players to go out to help our community,” says Ashley. Today, Ashley is truly grateful to be working with WBHI. “I thank WBHI for the wonderful memories and I hope to build many more. I cannot wait to see what we are going to be able to accomplish next. Especially with the fight against heart disease.”
January 2015: Lindsay Massillon
This year marks Lindsay Massillon’s third year as a Community Partner with The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative. Lindsay Massillon was born and raised in Edison, New Jersey and moved to Florida to attend law school at Nova Southeastern University. She is currently an employment law attorney in Plantation, FL. One of the aspects of WBHI’s work that Lindsay loves most is the volunteers at outreach. “I love that we’re outside versus something indoors. I enjoy meeting new volunteers every time we go out,” says Lindsay.
When asked WBI’s impact in the community, Lindsay talks about the change women experience from when the door first opens to when the women realizes she is eligible to receive the services WBHI provides. “At first, the women are hesitant and unsure; however, when they realize the comprehensive services that WBHI is able to provide, they become grateful, happy and treat the volunteers like family.”
Lindsay hopes to see WBHI become a global organization. The opportunity to have a hands-on experience through door-to-door outreach is an experience unlike any other.When she is not volunteering with WBHI on Saturdays, she spends her spare time with the Broward County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section serving children by fundraising and reading to kids.