Student Creates Nonprofit to Help Remote Countries Obtain Medical Care

University student Melross Meneses recently created a nonprofit organization, the Life Through Help Foundation, that works to supply medical aid and other health related services to those in remote areas around the world.

Meneses, senior finance major, created the nonprofit shortly after spending three weeks in January 2012 working on a medical mission in the Philippines.

The trip was sponsored by Enactus, an international organization that, according to their official website, is a “community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.”

Meneses is the President of the University’s chapter of Enactus and has been for the past three years. “Basically what we do is we find a need in the community or anywhere, like the Philippines, for example, and we do our best to fulfill that need,” Meneses said.

For their trip to the Philippines, Enactus was granted $3,000 from the University’s Business Council to attain the proper supplies and medication. Dr. Gilda Agacer, Associate Dean of the Business School gave Meneses the idea to reach out the to Business Council. “The Business Council used to just simply provide funds for faculty research however, two years ago, Dean Moliver tried to save some money to support students’ efforts,” Agacer said.

Knowing that, she reached out to Meneses and the two of them filled out an application for at least $3,000. Soon after, they were notified that their application was approved. With the help of this funding and the work of a local medical team from the Philippines, Meneses was able to help provide medical attention to a little over 240 people during his visit.

The group provided check ups, medication and minor surgeries to people from a remote area in the mountains of the Philippines where normal medical attention is not usually received, Meneses said. They took care of people of all ages, from children of only eight months to adults, almost 70.

Meneses was grateful for all of the help he received when trying to put this trip together, but he was especially thankful for Hazelle Dongui-is and her dad Ruben Dongui-is. “They really helped me out in being the main contact between here and the Philippines, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” he explained.

MelrossForStoryThe father daughter duo currently lives in Toms River, New Jersey, but they have connections with people in the Philippines who were able to help Meneses on his medical mission. “They were the ones who kind of opened up the door, they introduced me to the people there who helped me set this all up,” Meneses said.

Upon returning back home from this medical mission, Meneses was so moved by the work that he did in the Philippines that he decided to create his own organization. With the help of fellow colleague Nick Gencarelli, senior ___ major, all of the proper paperwork was filed in December 2012, and the Life Through Hope Foundation became an official non-profit organization.

“We figured, why don’t we continue the work [in the Philippines] after we graduate? We knew that we only have four years here at Monmouth and we can’t keep it going forever, but we want to still be able help people in need,” Meneses said.

However, the Life Through Hope Foundation does not limit its work just to the Philippines. According to their mission statement, they will work towards providing health services for those most in need. This will be achieved by organizing and working together with other resources to deliver critical services even to the most remote places in the world.

Those looking for more information about the Life Through Hope Foundation can visit or attend an Enactus meeting on Tuesdays at 8 pm in the Carol Afflito Conference Room.