Sondra Elizondo: Making a Positive Impact On the Quality of Life For Underserved
By Maria Sonnenberg // November 8, 2015
ABOVE VIDEO: Sondra Elizondo, co-founder of VIDA Volunteers, was a young woman when she realized that volunteering ran in her blood.
Sondra Elizondo, co-founder of VIDA Volunteers, was a young woman when she realized that volunteering ran in her blood.
It all started when she was just a young girl volunteering at a local nursing home in Minnesota. Sondra knew that helping others was her future and headed to college at the University of St. Thomas where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.
Years, and thousands of volunteer hours later, Sondra was awarded the school’s Humanitarian Award in 2014.
Following college she worked for several hospitals and long-term care facilities before becoming a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Central America. It’s there that she found her true calling: “When I returned to the United States I felt as if I had left work unfinished (so much need) and realized my passion was serving others in Central America.”
This led her back to Costa Rica where she met another like-minded friend and formed VIDA Volunteer, an organization that works with young and old alike to help make a positive impact on the quality of life in underserved communities while offering volunteers a life-changing experience. The organization’s vision is to create “Healthier Communities.”
Based in Minnesota, but operating out of Costa Rica, VIDA focuses on both humans and animals, offering medical, dental and veterinary care.
A quick glance at their website and the hundreds of testimonials tells the story of how the volunteers have grown by working in rural areas, not only helping those in need, but by staying in local homes and getting to know the culture and ways of life in some of the poorest communities in the world. Many of the volunteers say they were inspired to become doctors after working with the organization.
VIDA has been collaborating with the Doctor’s Goodwill Foundation (DGF) for the past year and strongly believes in their efforts to support local health care initiatives and its efforts to inspire young adults and their mission work abroad.
Vida Volunteer and DGF will offer medical mission groups to Central America starting in March of 2016. These short-term experiences are for both students and professionals and focused on family-oriented volunteering.
Sondra believes the groups meld so well together that she plans to spend more time working with DGF to help raise funds and offer her own volunteer hours.”
SPACE COAST MEDICINE WEEK SET FOR OCT. 31 – NOV. 8
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Doctors’ Goodwill Foundation has raised more than $2.5 million in support of charity thanks to the assistance of many generous and giving special people.
Those people, and their spirit of philanthropy, will be recognized and honored on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Doctors’ Goodwill Foundation Ambassador Awards, which will be part of the 10-event “Space Coast Medicine Week,” produced annually by Brevard Productions, the event and production sister company of Space Coast Daily Medicine & Active Living magazine.
The Doctors’ Goodwill Foundation Ambassador Awards will be held at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place beginning at 6 p.m. with a meet and greet, followed by the dinner and awards program at 7 p.m.
DGF AMBASSADORS TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:
Dr. Bhavin Patel; Joe and Cindy Hurston; Lisa Cavallero, Sodexo; Dr. Kiran and Gita Modi; Dr. Ramesh Patel; Amar Patel, Brevard Achievement Center; Kyle Smith and Chad Lovitt, Brevard County Manatees; Ronal Morgan; Sean Gregory, Health First; Jonda Erwin; Ginger Davis, Veteran Educator; Drs. Sumant and Snehlata Pandya; Kathy LaPorte, VITAS Healthcare; Liz Mikitarian; Dr. Saravana and Sathi Rajan, Rajan Foundation; Mike Thomas, Florida Pain Institute; Rashmi Shah; Janice Kershaw, Brevard Schools Foundation; Sondra Elizondo, VIDA Volunteers; Robin Fisher and Marta Fiol.
“The entire Doctors Goodwill Foundation board and community feels heartfelt gratitude to the people who contribute their time, resources and compassion to the charitable endeavors that we undertake,” said Dr. Kanti Bhalani, the Founder of the Doctors’ Goodwill Foundation.
“The Doctors’ Goodwill Foundation can only do what it does, thanks to the love and support that it’s friends provide. We feel it is important to recognize people who give of themselves and that is why we created the Doctors Goodwill Foundation Ambassador Awards.”
COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES
Stay tuned to SpaceCoastDaily.com and Space Coast Daily Medicine & Active Living magazine for extensive multimedia coverage of each and every honoree, as we present their compelling charitable works through stories and special tribute films by Maverick Multimedia, Inc.
Don’t miss the Dec/Jan 2016 special edition of Space Coast Daily Medicine & Active Living magazine for complete multimedia coverage of the Doctors’ Goodwill Foundation Ambassador Awards – and all the events of “Space Coast Medicine Week.”
For dinner reservations to the Doctors’ Goodwill Foundation Ambassador Awards call 321-749-1282. For sponsor or exhibitor information, call 321-323-4460 or 321- 615- 8111, or e-mail MaverickMultiMedia@gmail.com