Everyone is familiar with the timeless adage, “In giving, you receive.” Dr. Julie Spaniel’s early experiences as a dental student shaped her understanding of the profound joy derived from giving. Serving on a Cherokee Indian reservation, in a rural Mobile dental clinic, and participating in a school trip to Mexico to aid the less fortunate, Dr. Spaniel’s commitment has spanned over 30 years, culminating in the establishment of One World Brigades in 2018.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Dr. Spaniel and her board pressed on, organizing the inaugural fundraiser for One World Brigades at Pete’s Mountain Winery in early 2020. Last month marked the realization of this event, bathed in perfect weather with a rare 70°F day in late October—an enchanting night indeed.
Originally planned as an indoor gathering anticipating rainy weather, the serendipitous clear night allowed guests at Pete’s Mountain to revel in breathtaking views of the Willamette Valley, Mount Hood, and the setting sun. As the Maasai tribe dancers infused the evening with their local rhythms, an impromptu dance erupted among the guests, rendering the night truly magical.
One World Brigades, a Tualatin-based nonprofit, is dedicated to providing free medical and dental care to underserved communities worldwide. In 2019, an opportunity arose to contribute to the construction of a primary school for a community the organization had been serving. Today, One World Brigades boasts one of the few primary schools in the Maasai Mara area of Kenya, with future plans to expand to the 12th grade, incorporating boarding facilities and a permanent community health center – an essential need in an area where healthcare and education are scarce.
The proceeds from the successful fundraiser have already begun to make a tangible impact. Two additional classrooms for the fourth and fifth grades are under construction, and restroom facilities are being expanded and upgraded to accommodate a growing student body. Plans include the construction of a new smokeless kitchen with a covered pavilion for the cafeteria and performance area. Moreover, 12 additional children have found sponsors for their educational costs.
The event’s success ensures funding for two scholarships this year, supporting volunteers over 18 years old interested in pursuing careers in the medical or dental fields. One World Brigades continues to offer service trips throughout the year, with spaces available for the upcoming trip to Kenya from March 15 to 30. Volunteers collaborate with licensed dentists and physicians to provide free care during the week, followed by a three-day safari experience on the weekend with full accommodations.
The entire board of One World Brigades extends heartfelt gratitude to those who contributed to planning and sponsoring this remarkable event. A sincere thank you to everyone who attended and made the evening truly beautiful.
To learn more about One World Brigades, visit oneworldbrigades.org.