|Licensed Occupational Therapist Melissa Gunter|
Massages her Daughter, Chloe
Images of the Khmer Rouge killing fields have been seared into her memory since earlier days as a tourist in Cambodia. Melissa Gunter recognizes that the Southeastern Asian country where millions lost their lives to civil war remains a place in need of much healing. So, when she saw the call for volunteers to provide massage therapy to Cambodian AIDS orphans, Gunter said, "It just felt like the right thing to do."
The married Tennessee mother of two has savored life as a stay-at-home mom, after years of professional experience as a board-certified licensed occupational therapist. Gunter is also a certified infant massage instructor and craniosacral therapist. Her specialty has been helping children.
asked Gunter how she decided as the mother of young children to take such personal risks from travel to working with Cambodian children who could be carrying HIV/AIDS. As a trained health professional, she explained that she will follow protocol to wear gloves and follow other personal safety procedures. However, she explained that her health risk will be relatively low. "The risk is really greater for them than for me, because their immune systems are so compromised."
On a personal level, Gunter said she felt called to volunteer. "It was definitely 100% spirit-led." She has a heart for healing. "When God talks, you have to listen."
Gunter is one of many volunteers headed to the Buds to Blossoms program outside Phnom Penh this fall. She's collecting modest donations at this web page. For every $5 donation, the donor's name will be included on a scarf that Gunter plans to wear while in Cambodia.
Gunter's expertise will be especially useful in the program that aims to improve the lives of immune-compromised children through effective methods of pediatric massage. Massage is recognized for improving both physical and emotional well-being.
Buds to Blossoms is a California-based non-profit that focuses on helping children in the Cambodia and Vietnam area.
Tomorrow: hear from the program's founder what motivated him to organize volunteers.
Labels: children, health, mother, parenting, volunteer, well-being