LEHIGH ACRES, Fl —
Yajaida Vasquez is joy manifested.
Her infectious smile and positive spirit illuminate a room. She is well-known for her encouraging, beyond-expectation and go-getter attitude.
That's why learning more about her story, which includes homelessness and domestic violence, shocks most people.
To Yajaida, it is motivation. The nurse practicioner and owner of Suncoast Medical Centers of Southwest Florida serves our community daily.
“We all got a certain number of talents to use. We gotta use them all up”, she tells FOX 4.
But next week, Vasquez won't be seeing her normal patients. She'll travel miles to attend to the medical needs of those in Tanzania, Africa.
She's a part of the organization "Friends Together for a Better Tomorrow" - a group servicing various community needs around the country, and around the world.
During her first trip with the group to Tanzania, Yajaida recognized the need for improved clinical supplies and treatment at a school in Moshi, Tanzania. Since then, she says she dreamed of going back with enough supplies to ensure that a clinic could sustain, even when she is not present. With the help of other volunteers and the community, over $12,000 was raised to support a functioning clinic. Next week, the group will deliver the supplies.
Yajaida and the rest of the team designed a plan, allotting for a medical professional to always be on site.
Other items the group will take to Africa include food and recreational items.
Yajaida says the group’s original focus was to serve children.
As of now, it has expanded.
“We’ve moved onto teaching mothers, and empowering the entire family.”
Empowerment is what Yajaida says binds the group of volunteers making the journey next week.
“All of us that are in this group have been through something or another. I’ve been through homelessness. Domestic violence…different issues.”
Issues, she says, that have made her stronger - a strength she hopes to pay forward during her second trip to serve mothers and their families.
But this mission goes beyond addressing medical challenges. Yajaida says the group encourages self-sufficiency and encourages families through education.
In addition, they offer a tailoring program that teaches participants how to create tote bags, wallets and other accessories.
To learn more about the program, you can check out their website here.