The 2013 EMERGENCY USA National Volunteer Conference was a great success! Over 60 dedicated volunteers arrived in Pasadena, California on May 24th for 3 days of fun, hard work, and thoughtful dialogue.
We kicked off the weekend with a celebratory dinner at Shaker’s Restaurant in South Pasadena.
The next day, we received vital updates on EMERGENCY’s international programs. Dr. Nafisa Abdullah shared her experiences working as a physician in Afghanistan, and Dr. Ed Newton talked about his experiences visiting the EMERGENCY hospital in Sierra Leone with Eric Talbert, our Executive Director. Anna Gilmore, our Board President, updated us on the program in Iraq, and Brooks Almy spoke about her visit to the Central African Republic. Finally. Maurizio Papalia skyped in from Italy to speak about preparing for the first open heart surgery to take place at the Salam Center in Sudan.
We also had the opportunity to view some incredible films about the EMERGENCY programs. Masoud Farand presented a beautiful film about EMERGENCY in Afghanistan, which was followed by a magical series of short films by Massimo Grimaldi that transported us to the communities of Port Sudan and Sierra Leone.
Following the films, volunteer Shauna Ryann Carey led an extremely useful session on the art of conveying the EMERGENCY USA message; and the Volunteer Development Committee presented attendees with all the volunteer resources they have at their disposal.
On the last day of the conference, we met at the lovely home of two longtime supporters of EMERGENCY USA. The sunny weather of Southern California energized us for a great brainstorming and resource mapping exercise led by veteran coordinator Khudejha Asghar. We ended the conference with a relaxed luncheon to talk about all the ground we had covered.
We left better acquainted with the U.S. organization, the resources available to the community of supporters, more knowledgeable about the international programs, and more motivated to take action. It was a great opportunity to witness the dedication and profound joy that animates EMERGENCY USA volunteers.