Posted on Oct 26, 2018
Brentwood Challenge
 
The Brentwood Challenge is a community effort lead by the Brentwood Rotary Club partnered with the Gift of Life. 
 
The goal of this effort is to provide lifesaving open-heart surgery to two Salvadoran Children at Benjamin Bloom Hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador, in memory of Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas, two teenage girls slain in September 2016 by members of the gang MS-13.  Nisa and Kayla’s parents are actively supporting this effort in memory of their daughters. 
 
Gift of Life in El Salvador
 
The vision is to provide two children with surgery in El Salvador.  Gift of Life International has worked with the government of El Salvador, the medical professionals at Benjamin Bloom Hospital, the local Rotary Clubs and Latinas Esperanza, an NGO partnered with Gift of Life, to develop a fully self-sustaining pediatric heart program.  Started in 2009, the effort has now invested $4.15 million and provided surgery to over 1,500 children.  During the calendar year of 2018 it is expect that 250 children will get their second chance at a new life.  The results of the surgery done there is comparable to those done in the United States.
 
The plan is to have 3 separate opportunities for Nisa and Kayla’s parents meet the recipients and their parents.
1).  The first of these meetings is after the surgery via video conference call.
2).  The second would be to have the Nisa and Kayla’s parents visit the children in El Salvador, visit Benjamin Bloom Hospital and participating Rotary clubs to highlight the work that is being done there by all parties.
3).  The third opportunity would be to bring the parents of the recipient children to Brentwood to visit Nisa and Kayla’s parents here and attend a gala being run by the Brentwood Rotary Club. 
 
Brentwood Rotary
 
The goal would be to have the Brentwood Community lead the effort inviting various organizations in and around Brentwood with the goal of reaching other Salvadoran children still waiting for their second chance at life. Chambers of Commerce, Hispanic Organizations, Churches, Schools etc. should all be invited to join in the gala or have their own separate functions where they can be identified.
 
The Brentwood Challenge will remind us all of the oneness of mankind behind what is a common denominator of all people, the love we have for our children.  It will remind those who have forgotten the kindness that is within all people.  It will teach our young people to be compassionate to the needs of others.  The ripple effects of this one act of kindness is likely to reach places that we cannot now identify.  Like an explosion, particles will fly in all directions, forcing some to be closer than they ever were before while hurling others to places unknown only to be discovered by chance sometime in the future.  “When you cure the heart in a child, you cure the heart in all humankind.”  This will touch everyone.

 
Rotary District 7255
 
While the Brentwood Rotary cultivates its community around the Brentwood Challenge, Rotary District 7255 should bring all Rotary Clubs to participate, demonstrating the impact Rotary can have.  Each Rotary Club can be an active participant reaching out to the Latino Community and organizing efforts all over Long Island behind the Brentwood Challenge.  This is a great time to approach Hispanic Chambers of Commerce in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County to join in this effort and in the process invite the business people into the family of Rotary.
 
We should be approaching Government Agencies focused in on the Hispanic Community. Banks, Financial Institutions, Businesses wanting to business in El Salvador, Hospitals and charitable foundations all over Long Island.
 
 
The hope is:
 
The Brentwood Challenge will remind us all of the oneness of mankind behind what is a common denominator of all people, the love we have for our children.  It will remind those who have forgotten the kindness that is within all people.  It will teach our young people to be compassionate to the needs of others.  The ripple effects of this one act of kindness is likely to reach places that we cannot now identify.  The Brentwood Challenge is like an explosion; particles will fly in all directions, forcing some particles to be closer than they ever were before while hurling others to places unknown only to be discovered in someplace we wouldn’t expect.  It is likely to bring us together in a sublime plan that will evolve over time and create a beautiful tapestry that only love and kindness can weave.  “When you cure the heart in a child, you cure the heart in all humankind.”  This will touch everyone.
 
For Nisa and Kayla
 
“God gave us a memory so we could smell the fragrance of a rose in December”.  Let us help Evelyn Rodrigues and Freddy Cuevas, and Liz Alvarado and Rob Mickens use the memory of their daughters, Kayla and Nisa, to be a beacon of light that shows the way for people to see their own loving kindness and be a beacon of hope for a better world for all of us.
 
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