Ashley's Volunteer Mission to Guatemala

I received the news of my scholarship the same week I found out I was pregnant. Determined to not become a dropout statistic, I began college, alone, and pregnant. Being a first-generation student, my mother has always supported me. I am proud to say I come from a low-income family, because through my mother’s sacrifices and efforts, I am standing where I am today. My dedication to volunteering, expresses further my lack of savings and financial need, which shouldn’t become a barrier to educational opportunities.

I may not have the money, but I do have the heart. On February 23rd, I was holding my son, Noah. I could already imagine the selfies we would be taking in our caps and gowns when he would graduate kindergarten, and I would be receiving my master’s degree. July 22nd stole that dream away from me, at age 19 I had the worst day of my life, it was the last day I heard my baby’s laugh. I felt Noah’s warmth fade in my arms, my son was pronounced brain dead, and we had to disconnect him. No matter how tight I held onto him, he no longer held onto me. No matter how long I held his hand, he no longer squeezed my pinky. No matter how much I sang his favorite song, he no longer laughed. No matter how much I covered him, nothing stopped him from getting cold in my arms. When a person loses their spouse, they become a widow. When a person loses their parents, they become an orphan. When a person loses their child, no word exists because the pain is unexplainable, it’s unbearable. Some say giving birth is the worst pain a woman can face. This is not true, losing their baby is. Contractions were painful but the twists in my stomach and knots in my throat seeing Noah in a hospital bed, and having no control to help him, were dreadful. Walking out of the hospital with a baby after giving birth was difficult but walking out without him felt impossible. Before I might have had sleepless nights, but now I had restless nights. I didn’t just lose my 5-month-old, I lost my 1, 5, 15, and 50-year-old he would have become. It was confusing to conclude what hurt more, the act of what happened or the act of what never would. It is true that the sudden presence of a baby makes things a little harder, but the sudden absence made everything much worst. My days were no longer fulfilling, and having a career looked farther away. Switching my career choice has been the best decision of my life. Immediately I began to see a change in me, in my goals, in the vision of my future. Working with communities and families has become an essential element of my life, I have volunteered at various sites, in hospitals, nurseries, and nursing homes. Completing an internship with the Coalition, to open a free mental health clinic, further developed my leadership skills, as well as obtaining my CNA license. I am currently working towards my EMT license, as well as collaborating in a research team focusing on the effects of technology use in physical education. Furthermore, I have grown a potent work ethic through determination, in which my resume details my specific skills. As I prepare for my career, I am dedicated to learning more about the field by collaborating with both professionals and communities.

I am excited by the chance to become a proper representation of A Broader View volunteer, but need help in meeting my goal financially. Any amount is much appreciated and will get me one step closer. I aspire to become a pediatrician but throughout my career want to volunteer in underrepresented countries, and empower families, because there is nothing more rewarding than a child’s laughter. I want parents to be able to share bedtime stories with their babies, to be able to kiss them goodnight, and to not have to see their names written on a tombstone. I don’t want to cure a disease, I want to prevent it. I don’t want to delay death, I want to increase quality of life. Being able to volunteer in another country will allow me to carry skills gained, globally. I have been able to make a difference locally, but receiving the financial support to make this opportunity possible will allow me to do so internationally. Volunteering abroad will not only help me grow professionally, but it will also fulfill a great accomplishment, knowing that I can take my story, not only to different cities, but to other countries, and make the best of the worst, life has had to offer. Being in such a dark place, it was easy to think that I was being buried, when I was actually being planted. Now I realize the sky wasn’t falling, I was growing towards it, and I’m not going to stop.

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Ashley Tovar
Program type
Medical - Dental / Healthcare

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