Hospital Hours to Honduras

Sunday, February 26, 2012 | posted by Unknown |
Natalie Branagan’s moment of obligation came on a family trip to Honduras to visit Global Playground’s on-site project. Her brother, co-founder of Global Playground Edward Branagan, took his family down to Honduras to see the work in action.

“We saw some really beautiful kids full of life, and it was definitely heart-wrenching to see,” Branagan said. “I was in the process of taking a job at a hospital to work on the weekends, kind of like overtime, so I decided that the money I made during that year would go to the kids that I saw down in Honduras.”

While in Honduras, they visited an orphanage. Although Global Playground does not directly support the orphanage, Global Playground’s nearby technology center provides educational opportunities for children in similar circumstances. 

“They really didn’t seem like they had enough staff,” Branagan said. “When we went as volunteers to visit them it was pretty amazing that the kids were just so happy to get our attention.”

After returning to the United States, Branagan couldn’t quite shake those images from her mind. She channeled what she saw in Honduras to help the children there through her own career at home. 

“It wouldn’t have been worth it if I had done it for myself, but since it was for the kids I was like you know, I can do this. I can put up with this,” Branagan said. “Knowing where it was going definitely made it possible for me to keep going.”

For a year, Branagan worked as an in-patient doctor on the weekends at a local hospital. All of the money she made at that job went into her annual donation to Global Playground.

“I was able to make a larger donation than I have in previous years,” Branagan said.

Branagan remains involved with Global Playground through her brother and made donations in the past.

“When I came home from the hospital I would be like I am really tired and that was a really stressful shift,” Branagan said. “It made me feel good that the money that I had made from that shift would be going to the kids.” 

When writing out the check at the end of the year, Branagan knew where it was going.

“When you donate to Global Playground it may feel like a drop in the bucket but for those kids their lives are affected,” Branagan said. “You have helped educate them and build a more solid foundation for their future and their country. You really are donating to a child’s future.”  

Getting Married, GP Style

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 | posted by Unknown |
Jason Maga and Olivia Kohler were at a happy hour fundraiser in Washington D.C. Maga, treasurer of Global Playground, had plenty of friends in attendance, but it was one conversation with a stranger that stuck with him from the evening.

“I asked for her phone number,” Maga said. “It is the first time I have ever asked a girl for her phone number at a bar, and it was the first time she had ever given her number to a guy.”

Maga picked the right time to be bold. Over two years later, the couple now plans to make a donation to Global Playground in place of favors at their upcoming wedding.

“It is a part of our lives. It is definitely something that we are interested in all of the time, so we wanted it to be a part of our wedding,” Kohler said. “It seems fitting.”

Instead of a regular registry with an extensive list of kitchen appliances, Kohler and Maga have included a section where guests can donate to three charities. Global Playground; One Acre Fund, which funds short-term loans to farmers in Kenya; and Alive, a local charity, are all on the list.

“We wanted to be able to do a local [charity], international, and something in between,” Kohler said. “Global Playground bridges both us and overseas.”

Although Kohler initially attended the happy hour because a friend invited her, she was drawn to the organization by its message.

“We are pretty passionate about the fact that we think education is how we are going to fix the world, so I was very interested in their mission,” Kohler said.

In order to honor the organization that brought them together, Kohler and Maga are making a donation to Global Playground in place of giving their guests wedding favors.

“On the table toppers we are going to have a note that says that instead of giving favors we are making a donation to Global Playground,” Maga said. “The fact that we met at a fundraiser for it, it is special to us. We felt it was an extremely worthy cause.”

On the online registry, Maga and Kohler have attached descriptions of all three charities their friends and family will be able to donate to.

“Our hope is that people will look at the charities and recognize how valuable they are and try to give more donations either financially or by looking into volunteering,” Maga said.

The two will be married this April.