On a blustery cold day in Chicago, the leadership teams of Therapy Adventures International and Hillside Health Care International met to explore ways the two nonprofit organizations could work together.
“This is a unique opportunity for our organizations to collaborate. Our missions are closely aligned and if we work together, we know that we can make an even bigger impact on the communities we serve,” said Lynette Gomez, a native Belizean and the executive director of Hillside.
Along with several of Hillside’s board members, Lynette spent an afternoon visiting the Therapy Adventures office in Chicago during a recent trip to the US.
Hillside, headquartered in Punta Gorda, Belize, has provided healthcare for the underserved population in southern Belize for over 22 years, while Therapy Adventures provides pediatric therapy services such as speech, occupational, and behavioral therapy for children in Belize City.
“Both of our organizations are dedicated to providing free, critical support in the communities we serve,” said Idar Lamo, the director of international partnerships for Therapy Adventures.
“Since we opened our clinic back in early 2022, we have kept hearing about Hillside and the incredible work they are doing,” Idar added. “We knew we wanted to build a relationship with them and we are excited that it has led to this meeting.”
During the Chicago meeting, the two organizations discussed ways for them to collaborate.
“We are excited to see where this goes,” said Matt Schoeck, who serves as a board member and also spent a year in Belize as the Hillside medical director. “Therapy Adventures has incredible depth in the various therapies that can serve our populations. While we have offered PT for many years, we see potential to expand our PT offerings as well as the opportunity to add consistent speech therapy to be incredible additional services to the community, and that is just scratching the surface of what a partnership can bring”.
According to both organizations, the meeting was very productive and they have clear ideas of how they can benefit from working together.
“In the coming months, we will work to send clinicians down to Hillside on short-term trips to assess the need and support the work of Hillside’s staff,” Idar explained.
Carley Kirsch, Hillside board member, and Kimberly Schoeck, an SLP who served at Hillside in the past, also attended the meeting and shared Therapy Adventures’ optimism. “This is a great first step and we think this will be the start of a long and fruitful partnership between our organizations, and it will benefit no one more than the families we work so hard to serve,” they said.