Help Rach and Meg Volunteer Abroad!

Rachel and Megan are going to volunteer in India and South East Asia! 

On June the 23rd we will be heading across the big blue to settle in one of the most populated cities on earth- Mumbai! A second trip for Rachel, and first for Megan, we are embarking on a volunteer quest that will start in India.  

In Mumbai, we will be volunteering at the New Horizons Child Development Centre (NHCDC) to:
-  Help teach an inclusive summer camp 
-  Run individual and group social skills classes 
-  Provide educational workshops for teachers & parents

All programs are designed to support children who happen to have developmental disabilities and/or delays. Through these programs we will help them learn to play, succeed in school, and grow to be a valued part of their communities
. The majority of the children we will work with have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. We hope to further support their vision of inclusion, growth, and humanity- regardless of ability level, cultural background, or ability to pay. 

We will work with occupational therapists, physical therapists, educators, pyschologists, physicians and teachers alike. NHCDC believes that "every child can do better" and holds the moto 'from label to enable.' 

Children and Teachers at New Horizons Child Development Center

                                               About Us                                                                                                
Rachel is an occupational therapist* (not sure what this is? scroll to bottom) who works with youth experiencing homelessness, children and adults with developmental dissabilities/autism, and children in treatment fostercare. She has ~10 years experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities.Her professional experience includes (she calls it play): developing & facilitating inclusive recreational programs in New Mexico; working at Camp Rising Sun (an inclusive summer camp designed for children & youth with autism);  working as a behavioral therapist in school-, home-, community-, and residential-based settings; and completing clinical rotations in sensory integration clinics and outpatient rehabiltiation hospitals. She is the Vice Presisdent of her state OT association and values cross-cultural, community based work. Her passions include creating art, community inclusion, legislative advocacy, mindfulness & meditation, women's empowerment, gardening, yoga and trail running! 

Megan is a marine biologist  and experienced educator. She has over 6 years experience teaching large groups of children in summer camps, bioparks, and classroom settings while making her instruction accessible to kids with a variety of abilities and needs. She has participated in research projects including coral reef monitoring, collecting oceanography trends on research vessels, species population density mapping, and hatching/releasing baby sea turtles. She uses interactive and hands-on approaches to teach children, adults, and colleagues on all things aquatic such as ocean acidification, renewable energies, marine conservation for many endangered species and so much more... She has worked within nationally recognized bioparks and research centers in Hawaii and San Diego. In addition to working two jobs, Megan volunteers as a mentor with youth who are experiencing homelessness. Megan has a passion for meeting new people, playing soccer, travelling, dancing, taking photographs, painting, yoga, meditating and gardening. 

Megan is taking a huge leap and leaving her jobs to pursue this volunteer opportunity. Megan does not yet have a flight home, or a specific plan for when she'll return. After India she plans to travel through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia while volunteering at locally run organic farms. From there she will travel to Indonesia and East Timor to explore and help conserve the unique marine enviroments found there.

                                               Our Costs:                                                   


We will donate 40% of the money raised to NHCDC. With your generous donation and our skills in child development, teaching, inclusive recreation and community building, we  hope to give these children a head start and a wonderful summer they won't forget!

Plane Flights (~$1300 per person)
Our one-way tickets were ~$750 a piece; although we're excited about the trip, we are planning to come home- eventually.... 

Accomodations (~ $475 per person)
We'll be staying with a NHCDC family but want to give them a little money for housing us, and teaching us Hindi! 

After Mumbai, we'll stay in hostels that offer $8-20 per night per person, and splurge for a celebratory room with fan and/or door--- :) 

Food (~$300 per person)
Let's face it- eating well and plenty in Southeat Asia is pretty cheap. We're planning to indulge ourselves on street food, local cuisine and skip the fancy restaurants. We calculate $300 will help us each survive... 

Soul Enrichment( priceless... but $550 per person)
We hope to participate in a vipassana mediation retreat (an ancient mediative practice to see things the way they really are). We know this experience will be a great opportunity for 2 best friends to explore spiritual, emotional and human connections with each other and all other beings. 


                                           Our Gift to You                                            

As a token of our sincere gratitude for your generous donation to our volunteering trip we will: 

- provide a printed photograph of our travels for everyone who donates $20 or more! We would love to share the beautifully rich cultural, and pieces of the adventures that you helped us travel to... 

- use Facebook and this GoFundMe site to post updates of our adventures. 

               Photos of Past Trips, the Centre and Us!                

Feeding Tide-Pool Animals with Megan

Rachel Teaching Martial Arts in Indian School

An example of a visual schedule that will be used to communicate the activities kids will do every day

Social Skills Workshop Participants with Rachel

Learning to Stack, Play, and Socialize with Rachel

 Megan Guiding Exploration of Sand and Tide-Pool Biofacts

We  are best friends who appreciate each of you and thank you for sharing this beautiful experience with us.

<3 Rach n Meg 

*Occupational therapists are healthcare professionals who utilize engagement in personally identified (or group, or community identified-depending on your scale of clientele) meaningful activities as a therapeutic means for rehabilitation, skill development, and ultimately improving one's quality of life. An occupation is any activity that takes up your time and has meaning. This ranges from social participation, to leisure acvities to self care, vocational dvelopment, educational pursuit, sleep, play and more.... We: modify the environment, build adaptive equipment (think right angled paintbrushes, splints with button hooks, ergonomic cooking utensils, chin-activated switch buttons for wheelchair mauvering), teach skills (cognitive, behavioral, self-care), scaffold tasks into smaller pieces, rehabilitate body structures and functions, and teach new skills to empower people to engage in meaningful daily activities. 
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Rachel Nelson Gillespie 
San Diego, CA
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