Kyle Thomas Glasser’s medical mission trip with the International Service Learning Program in May of 2010 changed his outlook on his proposed profession forever. Kyle Thomas Glasser learned that there are other countries whose people desperately needed medical attention, and that mission trips like this were one of their main sources for health related treatment. So, without hesitation, Kyle Thomas Glasser signed up to travel to San Jose, Costa Rica, along with 13 other student volunteers.
According to Kyle Thomas Glasser, the International Service Learning program was founded after Rev. Michael Birnbaum saw first-hand the humiliations that workers in a remote banana field felt after a group of American college students taunted them. Kyle Thomas Glasser volunteered last year to lend a hand instead of turning a blind eye to the living conditions of families and children in a developing country.
Upon his arrival, Kyle Thomas Glasser was thrilled to know he would be receiving guidance from Dr. Laura Aguilar. The training Kyle Thomas Glasser received would allow him to help patients during his trip. Kyle learned how to spot groups of residents with the same symptoms, called Associated Symptoms, how to notice slight maladies in a patient’s appearance to aid a quick diagnosis, and most important, Kyle Thomas Glasser learned that an ounce of kindness can affect a person forever.
While in San Jose, Kyle Thomas Glasser and his group found themselves at Project Abraham – a religious community built to ensure the safety of those in the local community. Kyle Thomas Glasser jumped in and campaigned in the area, reaching out to mothers with babies, young children and those with little ones on the way. Kyle Thomas Glasser helped teach about the importance of breastfeeding, passed out medical pamphlets to individuals and offered exams to the ill. Together as a group, the students presented their findings to Dr. Aguilar for confirmation so that the patients that Kyle Thomas Glasser and the other volunteers saw were assured to receive the correct treatment.
Although Kyle Thomas Glasser did not speak the language, he managed with the help of translators and a crash course in basic Spanish terminology, to help countless men, women and children. Kyle Thomas Glasser also spent a day volunteering at a local ranch, helping workers by giving them free medical exams and a listening ear. Near the end of the trip Kyle Thomas Glasser was fortunate enough to spend time with orphans in Nicaragua on Ometepe Island. The Cicrin Orphanage acted as a hub for the students as they scoured the area, searching for anyone who needed medical treatment and could not afford it.
Kyle Thomas Glasser learned a lot while he was away from his family and his life back in the States. The hands on training has allowed him to find a new respect for other cultures, reports Kyle Thomas Glasser. At the end of the trip Kyle and his fellow volunteers held a fiesta – a traditional Spanish party – to give the homeless children a day of carefree fun.
While Kyle Thomas Glasser has learned first hand that one should never rule out the impossible, he knows that his medical career will bring challenges every day. However, Kyle Thomas Glasser will be able to look back on this mission trip with fond memories, knowing that perhaps there will be at least one group of children who were given a better chance at life. Kyle Thomas Glasser knows that medical care in remote parts of Central America is sparse. He is grateful to have arrived at a better understanding of compassion thanks to the International Service Learning Program.