Natalie to Nicaragua #MannaProject

*To make a tax-deductible donation, please donate online at:

Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing this past May 2014. I arrived to Penn Nursing with a strong passion for global health after being exposed to poor health conditions in Latin America during my Gap Year in 2009. During my time at Penn, I focused my studies on multicultural and global health and sought many leadership opportunities that would expand my ability to become a stronger leader in the nursing and global health field. I served as the Junior Global Health Ambassador, the General Facilitator on the Task Force for Haiti, and the President of the Nursing Student Leadership Council. As I finished my time at Penn Nursing, I thought about where my career path might go next— after applying to hospitals and exploring countless opportunities, I have decided to follow my passion for global health and nursing all the way to Managua, Nicaragua.

On August 19, 2014, I will be boarding a plane for Nicaragua to begin a 13-month adventure with Manna Project International (MPI), a non-profit organization committed to holistic community development in Latin America. Together with a group of recent graduates, I will be working in the capital city of Managua, designing and implementing community development programs. Specifically, I will focus on public health initiatives in the local community clinic, finding ways to create innovative, sustainable healthcare solutions, all while strengthening my Spanish skills. After much consideration for all my opportunities, I feel as though this experience will allow me to gain a deeper understanding of the global health needs in developing countries and will set a foundation for my career in global health.

MPI was founded in 2004 as a student-driven, holistic community development 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Breathing life into its tagline “communities serving communities,” MPI develops communities of young people in the US at college campuses and provides them with short- and long-term volunteer service opportunities at its three international community development sites. On the ground, MPI’s goal is to build programs that are holistic, community–owned, and sustainable without outside support. For 13 months, my fellow Program Directors and I will work to respond to the community’s needs and build upon its strengths through education, health, sports, and environmental programs. Specifically, I will be able to work in the local clinic as a registered nurse, teach English and nutrition courses to women and children, aid in microfinance projects with women, and create innovative projects of my own, fostering my passion for social entrepreneurship.

In order to do this work, I need to raise $9,900 to cover my travel/living expenses, programmatic funds, and insurance, so I am writing to ask for your support. I am very appreciative of any donation you can offer, and all gifts are tax-deductible. If you are interested, you can donate on-line at Additionally, if you check with your employer about a corporate matching gift program, your donation could go even further.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email redacted] or (847)-[phone redacted]. I also encourage you to visit to learn more about the organization and the work I will be doing.

Again, thank you so much for your support. Know that your donations are not only helping me, but they are helping a wonderful community in Nicaragua.


More information on MPI:

Manna Project International Mission Statement
“Manna Project International works to connect college students and recent graduates with opportunities to apply their education, expertise, and passion for service to communities in developing countries. Our members believe elements of progress are already within reach in these communities, and if given access to basic ideas and resources these communities will be self-sufficient. The project aims to increase the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the people we serve through initiatives in the areas of education, environment, health care and the arts.”

MPI’s Organizational Pillars:
Holistic Approach
The different pieces of a community are inextricably linked, and the recognition of that allows for both a better understanding of a community’s opportunities and challenges as well as a more appropriate response; it also causes our volunteers to consider the complexities of development rather than focus on a single issue. MPI volunteers work in a number of different programs, operate programs in such a way as to relate to multiple facets of a given community, and work in concert with other MPI volunteers who may be focusing in other areas. Some of our main areas of focus include health, education, leadership development, and economic empowerment.

Community Focus
MPI volunteers live together near the communities of focus in order to promote exposure to daily challenges, experience life in the community, and build a sense of one community. A specific geographical focus allows us to pursue holistic development and build relationships with community members. It also lends itself to impacts that are visible and measurable, and ensures that our efforts in different programs and projects positively reinforce each other.

Volunteer Development
As a diverse but united team, MPI volunteers are able to increase their personal efforts to have a greater and more influential effect in the community and in their work. Volunteers learn about each other’s world perspectives, lifestyles, cultures, values, passions, strengths, and experiences by working and living together. They share perspectives on service and theories of development, challenge each other to put theory into practice, and support each other throughout the process.
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Natalie Ball 
Winnetka, IL
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