The Kids First team has completed 18 trips to various South and Central American countries. While the team has evolved as a whole, the vast majority of the members have been involved since the very beginning.
The group has thoroughly enjoyed working in each country it has visited, but has particularly sought locations where they could return year after year. In these instances, they have not only developed strong relationships with the local government and hospitals, but have been able to see their patients improve from year to year – and if necessary, do follow-up surgeries.
2005-Present: Since 2005, the team has been regularly visiting San Miguel de Allende. Typically there is one surgical trip, and then several pre- and post-operative visits throughout the course of a year. The group has developed a strong bond with the community, and the group stays in the homes of locals during their visits. The 2009 trip was canceled due to a Mexican government travel ban because of the H1N1 virus, but the group returned to San Miguel in May of 2010, screening about 150 children and completing 140 operations.
2011 was a very successful trip as well. Kids First saw an increase in both children screened and operations performed. The good work being done was made possible by the collaboration of so many, which led to 150 procedures being performed. The Kids First team looks forward to their next trip in 2012.
2002-2004: The trip in 2001 was cancelled to allow more time to negotiate a new location, but the team picked up right where they left off and hit the ground running in the Dominican Republic. This island nation was welcoming and over the three trips, the team completed approximately 450 surgeries.
2000: 2000 marked the only trip to Natal, Brazil. This group of all Americans had developed some Spanish proficiency over the prior nine trips, so being in a Portuguese-speaking country provided a new language challenge.
1996-1999: From the mid- to-late 90’s, the Kids First team worked in Pereira, Colombia – a city four hours by car from the capital, Bogota. As with all of their trips, the group developed strong bonds with the local government and hospital officials, who were vital in the hospital but also welcomed them with open arms into their homes and community.
1995: 1995 included the lone trip to El Salvador, where the team worked in San Salvador.
1991-1994:The first four years, the team traveled to Guatemala, where they performed surgeries in both Guatemala City and Esquintla.