Through Help Comes Hope
Gil L’Italien is an avid traveler, epidemiologist, and enthusiastic supporter of Plan International USA. His generous involvement with the Because I am a Girl campaign programs have helped give hope and promise to countless girls in developing countries. In addition to Gil’s support of Plan, he is directly applying his epidemiologic skills to improve the health status of impoverished children in Mexico.
Plan recently asked Gil a few questions about why he enjoys supporting Plan’s programs, and here are his responses.
Why do you support international causes and why Plan International USA in particular?
After much travel related to my work as an epidemiologist, I've been heartbroken to witness the crushing poverty I've seen in developing countries throughout the world, particularly among children. Since that time, I've looked for substantive, tangible ways to help. I learned about Plan from a close friend, but it was Nicholas Kristof's book Half The Sky that sealed the deal for me – he has high praise for Plan. Plan is extremely effective in providing practical help to impoverished children, and they remain in the communities that they serve, committed to sustained and long lasting support. It's the kind of help that changes lives for the better.
I know that my contributions are well served, and I feel good about doing tangible good, which after all, is what it's all about!
What global issues are most important to you?
I support crisis aid, but I am most committed to the kind of support that improves the lives of children in developing countries. I give of my treasure, but also my time and talents to these causes.
What has been the most compelling thing you've experienced since you began supporting Plan that convinced you that Plan was worthy and impactful?
That's easy: I love the Because I am a Girl program! It is truly inspiring to see and hear from girls who now have the freedom to follow their dreams with dignity and courage. These girls, in turn, will raise the living standards of their brothers and sisters, by their example. Where else can your donations do so much good for so many?
How would you describe Plan to a friend?
I've done so many times! My office is full of Plan photos and Plan brochures. I simply tell friends what Plan does for children and young adults: how lives are improved, and how Plan embeds itself in communities for the long haul. I tell them about the girls who now lead hopeful lives, and whose courage and character will change the worlds they live in. Then I tell them what I do, how I give, how wonderful it makes me feel, and I challenge them to give it a try!