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Meet Kerra, Volunteer Forever Scholarship Recipient

Written By
By Kelly Ling
Guest Writer
Volunteer Forever Scholarship Recipient

Volunteer Forever fundraiser, Kerra, is the inspiring recipient of the Volunteer Forever Scholarship. To date, she has raised nearly $3,000 of her $10,000 goal, and has a great story to share! A licensed physical therapist, Kerra is taking a 6-month leave of absence to bring physical rehabilitation care to Botswana and Kanyama Village with the organization, World Spine Care. She will be working alongside healthcare practitioners from around the world with varying educational backgrounds and skill sets whom she is eager to share knowledge with. Upon her return to Canada, she looks forward to sharing these new skills with her colleagues as well as incorporating them into her own practice to benefit the future health of her patients.

We’re super excited to share Kerra’s story and fundraising advice with you!

1. Can you tell us about your cause? What organization are you fundraising for?

Kerra: I am volunteering with World Spine Care, a non-profit international organization led by a clinical team of chiropractors and physical therapists. Its purpose is to create self-sufficient rehabilitation clinics, as well as establish education and other community programs in developing nations. It provides spinal and musculoskeletal rehabilitative aide to two underserved communities in Botswana, Africa. WSC provides hands-on care to assess, diagnose and treat a significant number of villagers with spinal and other joints/muscle disorders. WSC is that it funds the formal education and training of locals to become healthcare practitioners. This component is essential to creating a sustainable practice and ensuring the future health of these communities. If the current WSC Botswanian clinics are deemed successful we are hoping to continue to expand worldwide to provide these invaluable services to those that would otherwise not have access.

2. How did you select this organization and why did you choose them?

Kerra: I have always wanted to volunteer abroad as a healthcare professional. I began researching organizations that allowed physical therapists to provide hands-on manual therapy abroad in underserved nations. I became a member of the Global Health Division with the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and began contacting organizations I was interested in supporting their cause. I chose World Spine Care because it provided manual therapy for rehabilitative services globally, which is rare to find volunteering abroad, as well it is based on a sustainable platform. Its donations go towards funding the education of local villagers to become trained healthcare practitioners so they can eventually run the clinics that we are setting up within these locations.

3. How did you hear about the Volunteer Forever Scholarship? Have you researched other scholarships for volunteering or service abroad?  Any tips or advice for others?

Kerra: I first heard about the Volunteer Forever Scholarship on the Volunteer Forever website. I have only recently begun to research volunteer abroad scholarships but unfortunately, have not had the opportunity to look very thoroughly. As my placement is for healthcare practitioners I recommend looking through your own licensing body or global health division.

4. How did you let your friends, family members, and personal network know about your fundraising campaign?

Kerra: I developed “business cards” regarding my fundraising campaign and the cause I am volunteering for. I also developed a blog for my volunteering trip, as well as, placed my fundraising campaign frequently on Facebook.

5. How did you follow up with potential donors who were initially unresponsive?

Kerra: I did not target people individually who did not respond, instead I would send group reminder messages and updates of what volunteer endeavors I have been undertaking while overseas.

6. What resources on Volunteer Forever have you been utilizing to run your campaign?

Kerra: I read up on the tips for developing a profile and suggestions to create a fundraising video in order to increase my likelihood of sponsorship. I have also used the scholarship section to see what was applicable for my campaign.

7. How helpful was the fundraising video for the campaign?

Kerra: The fundraising video was important in displaying the type of volunteer work I was doing overseas, giving an overview of the organization I am dedicating my time and efforts to, and the environment and people I am working with.

8. Are there any specific donors that you would like to thank?

Kerra: I would like to thank all of my sponsors, regardless of the denomination given, for supporting me through this experience. I would like to recognize my $25-55 donors: Jared Chuchmuch, Jess Hanke, Nathan Howat, Gigi Kan, Chantal Pinsent, Jason Spencer, John & Bev Attrell, Mai Ly & Loan Do, Marilyn Belcourt, Island Time Digital Productions. And I would like to thank my $100+ donors: Bonnie & Bill Quinn, Matt Quinn, Bernie & Mike Pettigrew, Paul Carter, Dan & Margie Timmermans, Dr. Louis Chan, Corey & Astrid Stephenson, Brian Mykitiuk, a donation made in memory of Les Krause who had always been a large supporter in my endeavours, and my two donors who wished to remain anonymous but I greatly appreciate their generous contributions.

9. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?

Kerra: Creating donation perks for varying sponsorship increments motivates individuals to donate. Continuing to create new sponsorship videos with updates while you are volunteering keeps your campaign more active rather than passive.

10. What was the most important thing you did that contributed to your fundraising success (or anything else that you want to add)?

Kerra: Continuing to create new sponsorship videos with updates while you are volunteering keeps your campaign more active rather than passive. Posting this on social media such as my blog and a Facebook page was very helpful.