UCLA Student-Run Non-Profit Knows No Borders

F.I.S.H. expands free health services for underserved Mexican community

By Daniel Villagran-Gonzalez
Published on LatinoLA: January 29, 2014

UCLA Student-Run Non-Profit Knows No Borders

Since 2006, Associates of the Fellowship for International Service and Health (F.I.S.H.) have been hosting bimonthly free clinics in the severely impoverished town of Maclovio Rojas, Mexico.

Seeing the need for basic healthcare, the organization's founders recruited fellow UCLA students to offer basic health services and health education amid a language barrier. Run entirely by UCLA students, the 501 (c)3 non-profit corporation navigates midterms and term papers while navigating foreign streets beyond the U.S. border. Storage space for clinic supplies is provided by the Maclovio Rojas community, but everything else--including fundraising and transportation--is left up to the students.

F.I.S.H. has achieved great success and growth over the years. In addition to Saturday clinics, we have recently implemented english lessons at the local schoolhouse of Agua Calientes, and begun community health projects to promote health awareness. The organization most recently completed an ambitious project dubbed "Operation F.I.S.H. Hoops."

In one academic quarter, F.I.S.H. worked hard to organize the construction of a basketball and soccer court as part of a new community center in Maclovio Rojas. In what had been an empty lot of weeds and garbage, F.I.S.H. Associates personally transformed the land into something that takes their mission of inspiring healthy lifestyles to a whole new level. While watching her children play, an interviewed resident graciously praised F.I.S.H. for its service, and saw hope for a day when Mexico will no longer lose so many of its youth to drug addiction and crime.

About Daniel Villagran-Gonzalez:
UCLA Neuroscience undergraduate student and associate of Fellowship for International Service and Health.
Author's website

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