Our whole reasoning is that the first year of a student’s education is impressionable. My brother went to the Amazon as a first year medical school student and he decided at that moment that was where he needed to be – it became his life’s purpose and it drove him through medical school. His life got cut short, but he shared this passion with me..
Location: Miami, Florida
What was the first philanthropic contribution you gave?:
A friend was doing a cancer run and I remember wanting to support her. I didn’t connect with the cause necessarily, but I was excited that she was excited – she was taking that step . I thought, let me support her – I want to show her that I recognize that what she is doing in important for charity.
Who is your philanthropic role model?:
Scott Harrison of Charity Water. When I heard Scott’s story – he was a night club promoter and then he gave up his birthday for a cause. I thought this is genius. My birthday was right around the corner. In October 2009, I decided I would throw a birthday for a cause. I turned my party into a fundraiser and that same night launched Jose’s Hands. I’ve talked to Scott – he is a donor yearly now. We share similar stories. I say to him “You inspired this. I want you to know that other people are starting charities because of you. When I heard your story, it helped me.”
What is your charity of choice?:
Since 2010, it’s been Jose’s Hands, named for my brother who passed in 2008. We send medical mission trips – 10 trips with 58 students so far. We give scholarships to help students who want to go on medical mission trips, but can’t afford to go. Our whole reasoning is that the first year of a student’s education is impressionable. My brother went to the Amazon as a first year medical school student and he decided at that moment that was where he needed to be – it became his life’s purpose and it drove him through medical school. His life got cut short, but he shared this passion with me. I felt God leading me towards wanting to continue his purpose, instead these students would become Jose’s hands. It’s focused on first year medical school students.
Our dream is to have other health students, veterinarians, dentists, and others to get them on a mission trip. Not only give scholarships, but be involved in the raising of awareness of trip and how it’s so important that a student go on one and assist them in fundraising. The big audacious goal is that every single student would go on a medical mission trip because the schools would create a class that mandated the requirement that you go on a medical mission trip.
What inspires you about the mission of Jose’s Hands?
My role is imparting vision on people. It is why I’m so passionate for these medical school student missions. When they go on the trip, it’s when the seed is planted. It’s when they can see themselves in ten or twenty years, they can look ahead and realize I’m going to do this one day. They are given a lot of power on these trips and getting incredible experience. One of the students gave a prostate exam – it’s not something that a first year student can typically do. I want them to leave the trip knowing why God made them to be doctors and give them a vision of the future.
What other organizations do you support?:
I help out with Adventures in Missions, it’s a mission organization. I support a missionary on a monthly business to spread the gospel. He traveled the world for the year ministering and is in Guatemala now.
How do you give of your time?:
At my church, there’s a lot of volunteer opportunities. It’s mobile – there’s no brick and mortar where operating out of High School. I’ve had different roles – I act for the children when they come to Church, they come to Children’s ministry we put on a play for them and we act out the Bible. Next, I’ll move to Youth that’s where I’ll talk to teens about life, relationships, and money.
What would you say to others to encourage them to be philanthropic?:
God has burdened every person with a cause – we are all born and designed to feel angry about something – some injustice, some cause – and when we see it, it makes our blood boil. There’s good and bad anger and this good anger, God’s anger makes us do something about it. It’s not always about starting a charity. Starting a charity is an entrepreneurial venture. The passion fuels it. What I say is, first, be connected to a cause. If someone’s life was lost by Drunk Driving, be a proponent and get involved. We all have to really reflect – what’s the thing that touches our hearts and everyone has one.