Do I have to be enrolled in the Berkeley Extension Post-Baccalaureate Program to join a brigade?
No! As long as you are willing to make the commitment to provide health services for rural communities without access to health care, you are eligible to go on a brigade.

Do I need medical training?
No!  See above.

Do I need to know Spanish?
No!  Your level of Spanish will determine which stations you are able to work at (for example, most volunteers in triage will need to know some Spanish).  UCB extension also offers a Spanish for Medical Professionals course that you may find helpful.

What happens at meetings?
Along with discussing progress on collecting meds, applying for grants, and fundraising, we will have activities like a medical Spanish workshop, mock brigades, and a tutorial on how to take blood pressure and glucose.  Meetings are mandatory for anyone going on a brigade.  Volunteers who do not attend meetings tend to be less prepared for the trip and as a result create more work for the group leaders.  Therefore, if you miss more than one general meeting, we will ask you to complete a task that will take 1-2 hours (the same amount of time meetings usually last). 

What are the costs?
Airfare, $750 in-country cost, and $75 grant fee (Airfare for the January 2011 brigade is approx $760)

Here are a few ways to minimize costs:
  • Each volunteer gets his/her own Brigade Fundraising Site.  All of your costs are paid through this secure website by credit card.  The benefit here is that anyone can contribute to your trip through your BFS, and that donations are tax-deductible!  This means that friends, family, businesses, etc. can donate towards your trip.  You can also ask friends and family to donate in lieu of birthday or other gifts.
  • If we book our airline reservations through a carrier with whom you have frequent flier miles, you may apply those miles to your trip.  You must let us know BEFORE paying your deposit if you plan to do that!  You will be booked once your deposit is paid, and the travel team will book you differently if you plan to use your miles.
  • Group fundraising.  Our first couple of fundraisers will go towards grants and supplies.  After that, we can hold more fundraisers to help cover the costs of our members.

What are the other volunteer responsibilities?

Volunteers are expected to attend meetings (see above), collect $100 each of medication to bring on the brigade, and participate in either the Grants, Fundraising, or Pharmacy team

Where will we stay?
We will try to get housed at La Hacienda Rapaco again- you can take a tour here

What if I can't go on the next brigade?
If you are interested in going on a future brigade, check back on this site for dates.  You can also get involved with the Berkeley Postbaccs chapter even if you can't go on the next brigade.  We could always use more help applying for grants, fundraising, collecting supplies, and so on!  To become an official member, feel free to drop by a meeting or send us an e-mail to find out how you can help.