Volunteer of the Month

June – July 2017: Rainier Madruga



Rainier 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 Pascual 

  richard     Richard 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 Ivory

Since 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.

December 2014: Lorena Rosero

2014-12-12_1529 “I have always been very passionate about health care, underserved populations, and medicine” says Lorena Rosero, a volunteer and community partner with The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative. This upcoming February will mark her fifth year as an enthusiastic and keen volunteer. Lorena started volunteering at WBHI after taking a class about cancer. Through her research and class discussions, she realized early detection is the best protection. As a science teacher and club advisor, Lorena sets a great example to her students about making a positive impact in the community. One of Lorena’s favorite aspects of this nonprofit and life-changing organization are the opportunities available for women to receive mammograms, heart screenings, fruits & vegetables, physical activity and nutrition sessions as well as healthy eating guides. WBHI services are provided on Saturdays, which gives employed women a better chance to make an appointment. Lorena loves to volunteer because it has made such a positive impact in her life. When asked about her most memorable moment as a volunteer, she enthusiastically describes the experience of a participant’s first time getting a mammogram – the nervousness, series of questions and thankfulness that women feel during their first time. Lorena believes the smiles and joy on women’s faces makes it worth the work.

November 2014: Maria Carolina Gomez

2014-11-12_1444_001 Maria Carolina Gomez has been a dedicated volunteer for the past five years. Maria Carolina is currently a paralegal with the State Attorney Office in Miami. As a paralegal student at Miami Dade College, a professor suggested for her to volunteer at WBHI for extra credit. As a civic-minded and eager student, Maria Carolina took this opportunity to help the community and earn extra credit. Through the WBHI Door-to-Door Outreach program, she fell in love with the mission and services that WBHI contributes to the community, leading to her becoming a WBHI Community Partner not long after. Maria Carolina also had a very personal experience with breast cancer when her aunt was diagnosed. “Early detection really does save lives,” Maria tells volunteers at outreach. When asked about her most memorable moment as a volunteer, Maria describes a participant who was very reserved when Maria and her volunteer team knocked on the woman’s door. However, after her asking questions to see if the woman qualified for a mammogram, this participant realized the genuine service WBHI provides to women in the community. This experience is one of many reasons Maria Carolina continues to serve the women in the community as a WBHI Community Partner. Maria’s husband, Andres, also serves alongside her as one of the organization’s most dedicated volunteers.

October 2014: Pascale Jean

2014-10-24_1605 Pascale Jean has been a dedicated volunteer of The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative, FL Affiliate for the past 4 years. As a registered dietitian, she is often asked to speak at conferences, including one where Pascale met our Founder/Executive Director Andrea Ivory. Becoming a WBHI Community Partner was an easy commitment because it involves her passion for health, disease prevention and community awareness. Although Pascale works 40-50 hours a week, she still finds time to volunteer in various ways. Serving the community and giving back to others is an important trait that her grandmother taught her. “From a young age, my grandmother who passed away from cancer instilled in me to always give back,” Pascale said. As a Haitian-American, she also assists in a Haitian cancer support group and diabetes group where Pascale talks to individuals about how to be healthy. In Pascale’s spare time, she can be found training for a marathon, reading, or on a trip halfway across the world. When asked about the outreach experience, Pascale explains the receptiveness of the communities she visits with WBHI. When a stranger knocks on a woman’s door, she may be hesitant to opening it. However, the women she meets during through the door-to-door program are very open to the information and resources WBHI is able to provide. The program has helped Pascale become a stronger leader and open up more, which has helped her in her networking. Pascale looks forward to seeing the WBHI Door-to-Door program replicated around the nation.

September 2014: Mario Martinez

15f16d3 Mario Martinez has been volunteering with The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative since 2010. The husband of WBHI staff member Stephanie Hoogenbergen, Mario felt compelled to also help the women in our communities, serving as a model male volunteer throughout his various volunteer roles with WBHI. A graduate of Florida International University, Mario is a financial advisor and remains a founding member of the FIU Young Alumni Council. His hobbies include kayaking, biking and golfing, which lends itself perfectly to his commitment each year as a BFore Pink Golf Tournament participant. In addition to BFore Pink, Mario also participates annually in WBHI’s Open The Door event and currently serves as an Ambassador for the Brilliant Diamond Benefit. When asked about outreach, Mario estimates that he’s volunteered at approximately 33 outreach events including Screening Days, where he serves as a driver, driving participants to/from their appointments. “I love talking to the women on the way to their screenings,” says Mario. “I see these women coming back, year after year for their screenings…and telling friends about it, too.” As a seasoned outreach volunteer, Mario says he sees the work of WBHI as more than a service. “It’s also educational. It’s a great resource that is making a lasting impact in women’s lives.”

August 2014: Paola Rodriguez

Paola Rodriguez is a busy woman. She’s a student at Florida International University and is double-majoring in Biology and Psychology. Yet she has made volunteering an important part of her life. For Paola, volunteering is more than a hobby. It’s a lifelong commitment. “The more we do this, the more women that will have access to the information and tools they need to save not only their lives, but that of those around them,” she said. “I feel like we are empowering the female population.” Paola’s serves as a community partner for WBHI. Although becoming a community partner is a selective process, her leadership qualities, passion for the work, teamwork skills, and speech prowess made her a perfect fit for the WBHI team. For Paola, volunteering allows her to demonstrate her love for humanity – something she believes is increasingly more important. She thinks of her cousin who passed away from breast cancer. “I realized that she died because she didn’t have the information and tools to save her life. What we do when we volunteer is amazing because of the information that we provide.” Paola hopes that WBHI will grow into a worldwide program because of our volunteers. She believes WBHI’s volunteers are educators. “We are providing tools and we are turning women into superheroes so they can save lives, too.”

July 2014: Emily Viteri

Emily Viteri Emily Viteri has been a volunteer with the Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative, Florida Affiliate since February of 2014. After her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to make a positive change in her community to raise awareness of the disease. WBHI is a perfect fit for Emily because of the unique Door-to-Door Outreach program, which allows her to personally connect with each woman WBHI helps. As a volunteer with WBHI, Emily goes door-to-door in South Florida communities to provide critical information about breast and heart health and to make appointments for mammograms and heart screenings. When asked about her most memorable moment as a volunteer, Emily describes a home visit to a woman who qualified for a mammogram. She was so grateful that she thanked and embraced Emily on the spot. “Seeing the impact we make in these women’s lives and the joy they feel when they qualify makes volunteering so rewarding,” she said. As an aspiring public relations student, Emily is also currently interning for WBHI. In her role, she furthers the marketing initiatives of the organization and helps promote WBHI’s events and fundraisers.