Thursday, October 21, 2010

Home is Where the Heart is: Volunteering at Save A Child's Heart

Two weeks ago, I began my volunteer work with Save A Child's Heart. SACH is an "Israeli-based international humanitarian project, whose mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries and to create centers of competence in these countries."

Part of my time is spent in the office helping with PR and marketing efforts while the other half I spend time in the children's home, where children and their caregivers live before and after their surgeries. In just two weeks time I have fallen in love with not only the mission of SACH, but the children at the home as well.
I nearly didn't volunteer for SACH. Before my initial meeting and after researching the hour long and two bus commute, I was certain their offices were just too far to travel. After meeting the wonderfully dedicated and tireless staff and interacting with a few of the children that first day there was no doubt where I would volunteer my time.

These children and their parents travel from all over the globe to come to Israel for life-saving surgery. They spend weeks and months in a foreign country away from normalcy, away from everything they know and love. The parents spend sleepless nights and worrisome days tending to their ill children. The children smile everyday, laughing and playing even though they have recently endured open heart surgery. The staff and volunteers go above and beyond, putting the needs of the children and the organization above their own. I can certainly give a few hours of my day.

Just today, I went to the children’s home and was happy to see two of my most favorite boys. Abduraim, 13-years-old and Sintayehu, 12-years-old , both from Ethiopia.  These darling and wild-eyed boys are the always the first to welcome me back to the house.  Of course Sintayehu stole my camera again as soon as I came in. But Abduraim sat quietly on the couch. Another volunteer told me he hadn't been feeling well all day. But he still managed to greet me with his bright smile and a high five.


I have been involved with many nonprofits over the past few years. I have been proud to be a part of them all. Each one holds a special meaning, each one doing amazing work in their own right. But Save A Child’s Heart has stirred something inside me. Everything about SACH inspires me. The children, the staff, the volunteers, the doctors, the donors, the mission. I have found a home in SACH.

In a region where hate and conflict are omnipresent, SACH is unaffected by the relentless discord. The organization’s Israeli doctors hold clinics and perform surgeries alongside Palestinian doctors to save the lives of children from Gaza and the West Bank. They provide full outreach training programs and surgical and teaching missions for medical personnel from all over the world.

SACH crosses the racial and religious dividing line. And all for the sake of children. Save A Child’s Heart heals hearts in more way than one.  To learn how you can help Save A Child's Heart, visit


  1. This is awesome. I'm so happy for you. I would love to be able to volunteer with something like that. Once the little one is in school I hope to be able to. Keep it up! :)

  2. Wonderful post. Greetings from another ex-pat currently living in the Negev desert!

  3. Thanks Jennifer--I love keeping up with AM!

    Roxanne-I love the Negev and can't wait to go back. Hopefully for some jeeping through the desert!