Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dr. Rick Hodes: Experiences from an American Doctor Saving Lives in Ethiopia

In 1990, Dr. Rick Hodes left for Africa to tend to health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel. Over two decades later, Dr. Hodes still continues to make a large impact for the people of Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world.

After graduating from Middlebury College and the University of Rochester Medical School, he was trained in internal medicine at John Hopkins Medical Center. Currently, he is the Medical Director of Ethiopia for the American Jewish Join Distribution Committee (JDC), a 95-year old NGO. He is also the senior consultant at a Catholic mission helping sick destitutes with heart disease (rheumatic and congenital), spine disease (TB and scoliosis), and cancer. He has also worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania.

Dr. Hodes is the subject of the 2008 HBO documentary, "Making the Crooked Straight," as well as the book "This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes," which tells the story of Hodes' journey in Africa.

On Thursday November 20th at 7pm, Dr. Hodes will talk about his unique experiences in the University of Michigan's Kahn Auditorium. Please join us!

To learn more about Dr. Rick Hodes, visit: http://rickhodes.org/about/

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Facts about Malnutrition

Facts about Malnutrition:

Malnutrition (or under nutrition), is a highly serious medical condition, in which the diet is deficient of energy, necessary proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Most of the physical harm caused by malnutrition affects children in the first two years of their development. Malnutrition in children can permanently stunt physical growth and brain development. Such consequences can lead to further problems in the future for individuals and the greater community, including future problems in learning, finding work, reproduction, and especially long-term health complications.

According to the WHO, World Food Programme, the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition, and the UN Children’s fund:
·      In total, about 195 million children suffer from malnutrition worldwide
·      About 20 million children under the age of five are afflicted with severe acute malnourishment; so far, only 3% of children receive treatment
·      One third of the approximately 8 million child deaths each year world wide occur due to severe acute malnutrition
·      Common illnesses, like pneumonia and diarrhea, can be particularly deadly for malnourished children
·      An estimated 9 children per minute die from malnutrition-related afflictions
·      Undernutrition is the #1 risk to health in the world
·      Mid-upper arm circumference can be measured with colored plastic strips, which makes severe acute malnutrition diagnosis simple. If the measurement is less than 110m, urgent treatment is needed
·      As for economic impact, it is estimated that each $1 USD spent on malnutrition initiatives result in $8-$138 USD in impact

Friday, April 11, 2014

CGIU Experience

Andrew Hurwitz: Executive Director of WWFF

Attending CGI U at Arizona State University was an absolutely incredible experience. It was great to hear from such influential and proven leaders. Specifically, Bunker Roy and his unique take on education made a huge impact on me. Although our Will Work For Food team learned so much during the plenary and outbreak sessions, getting to meet likeminded socially active college students from across the globe was our favorite part. I loved hearing about their personal stories and commitments to action. It was truly inspirational to learn how these young adults are taking it upon themselves to change the world and make a meaningful impact. These relationships and future collaborations will surely help WWFF broaden its impact.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Here are some pictures from the CGIU conference that Henry Sholk, AJ Hurwitz, and Sylvia Lorenzini attended last week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

WWFF and Volunteering

In a school of 40,000+ students, it may be intimidating to find the right volunteering opportunity. From a personal perspective, I always had an idea of what kind of volunteering opportunities that interested me. However, with so many organizations on campus, I had a difficult time starting the search process as well as narrowing down the potential options. Similar to many other schools, there is always some kind of volunteering opportunity that somewhat aligns with a student's interests. If there is not that strict alignment, there is room to start one’s own organization.

The easiest place to start is by looking on your school’s organization page. Through filtering options and just doing own research, you are bound to find several volunteering clubs of interest. Through personal experiences and hearing other’s path, the most effective advice is just to go through the process. Figuring out what you like and what you don’t should not be a stressful process. Rather it should be a fun and engaging experience. Freshman who come into the university have this expectation that they are supposed to discover everything that works for them right away. It is through positive and negative experiences that help an individual discover where they are supposed to be. This process is throughout a college experience and never just a one-time decision made during freshman year. Most of the times the result is never expected/planned. The research and actually going through the process is something that should be a fun experience.

Some national organizations that are great volunteering opportunities for WWFF are listed below:

  • Dance Marathon: A nationwide movement raising money for Children’s Miracle Network hospital in their community. Students spend the school year holding different events to raise money that contributes to their end goal. The end goal is an extremely rewarding experience with a 12-40 hour-long event where the students stay on their feet to raise awareness of their goals and achievements.
  • Habitat for Humanity: A non-profit organization whose mission statement is that everyone deserves a safe and affordable home to live. They engage in projects to build and repair houses using volunteer labor and donations.
  • Best Buddies: An organization that pairs up people with disabilities with college students to form one-on-one friendships. Every month there is a chapter event and an individual event to further a deeper connection and understanding of each other.
  • Autism Speaks: Through campus and local awareness, students hold fundraising efforts to improve awareness of families and individuals affected by autism.
  • Divest and Invest: Students run efforts to expand awareness for clean energy solutions in everyday life.

Remember there is always an opportunity out there! If not, start your own!

-Sylvia Lorenzini

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Clinton Global Initiative

Three members of the WWFF Headquarter team will be attending the Clinton Global Initiative at Arizona State University this weekend. 

Here is a little background information on the conference:
Will Work For Food went national after founder Steve Weinberg attending a Clinton Global Initiative for Universities (CGIU) conference in April at Miami University. Weinberg had the opportunity to speak to Clinton and spread word about WWFF. President Bill Clinton founded Clinton Global Initiative in 2005 along with his White House partner, Doug Bank. The mission statement is a simple one: to turn ideas into action. How can something so simple be turned into such a successful non-partisan organization? The people who attend these meetings are no ordinary people. Rather they are the global leaders such as heads of state, Nobel Prize laureates, leading CEOs, heads of foundations, philanthropists; people who have a passion in their work and seek to do greater good. The initiative of this foundation is to have these leaders convene to create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. 

The Resources: These people are the world’s most passionate leaders. To get to their current position, they had a goal to help some part of the world. With their knowledge, experience, and resources, each of them offers a different perspective. Putting these perspectives in the same room each September leads to commitments to make the world a better place.  Their resources such as connections, knowledge, funding, and the collaboration between these leaders can result in immense and measurable results.

The Model: The CGI model focuses on four main ways:  Inspiration, networking, knowledge building, and collaboration. Through these ways, members commit themselves to address global challenges. Taking into account their background and resources, they have the chance to create meaningful ideas and turn these ideas in fruition. 

The Impact:

  • CGI members have made nearly 2,500 commitments
  • Improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries
  • When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $87.9 billion.
If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

History of WWFF

Steve Weinberg, founder of WWFF, was listening to a speech from President Bill Clinton discussing the idea that our generation has daunting challenges of fighting infectious diseases and delivering clean water to areas of the world that need it. With this push, and mentioning the tools that our generation has access to that weren’t available in the past, including the Internet and media, we have the power to change the circumstances. Clinton also mentioned that our generation has to be aware of these international crises but can’t forget about the immediate needs in our local communities, such as education. Steve wanted to connect the two ideas and make things possible for people in need.

Childhood malnutrition is a serious problem that is under the radar and needs attention, as it is known as the silent killer. He states this is because many people don’t directly know someone affected with malnourishment, unlike cancer or other diseases prevalent in the United States. Over five million children die every year, about one every six seconds, of childhood malnutrition. Steve wanted to bring attention to this problem in addition to helping local communities. This sparked the idea of Will Work For Food, serving in your local community, translating to aid being sent to these children abroad that need it the most.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists. Doctors Without Borders provides assistance in more than 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence or neglect, due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, etc. Their work is based on the principles of medical ethics and impartiality, bringing quality care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. On any given day, more than 27,000 individuals representing multiple nationalities can be found providing assistance to people around the world, who are caught in crisis. These volunteers include doctors, nurses, logistic experts, administrators, mental health professionals, epidemiologists, and others who work in accordance with Doctors Without Borders principles. The field staff are supported by colleagues in 19 offices around the world.

Doctors Without Borders strives to provide high-quality care to patients and improve the organization’s own practices. Through the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines and Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, this work has helped lower the price of HIV/AIDS treatment and has stimulated research and development for medicines to treat malaria and neglected diseases.

{Post written by Sylvia Lorenzini}

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Check out our new WWFF video highlighting what we do.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Get to Know UNC Chapter Co-Executive Director Persia Homesl

Q: What year are you and what are you studying?
A: Junior studying Biology

Q: How did you become involved with WILL WORK FOR FOOD?
A: I began as a member of Will Work For Food my first year at UNC, and I became more involved as a volunteer coordinator and eventually became the co-executive director of our chapter.

Q: Why did you decide to become on the board for WILL WORK FOR FOOD?
A: I wanted to explore further ways of becoming involved in Will Work For Food and following its mission, and the best way to do this was to be on the board of WWFF.

Q: What kind of work efforts have you organized on your campus?
A: We have had work efforts at Battle Park on campus in which volunteers can help upkeep the land.  Another one of our work efforts takes place at Hope Gardens, a garden where food is grown for others in the community to eat for free.

Q: What else are you involved in at UNC besides WILL WORK FOR FOOD?
A: I am a volunteer Doula at UNC Hospitals and I shadow a physician at the hospital. 

Q: If you could describe WILL WORK FOR FOOD in one word, what would it be?
A: Selfless.

Q: What is a fun fact about you that not a lot of people know?

A: I love longboarding around campus in my free time!