From Chicago to the Ivory Coast

July 2, 2017 Blog Post

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I’ve never met Dollie Ambassador from Chicago, Patricia Mertz (left), and this is not unusual! Patricia’s son Michael lives in the windy city and does business with Dollie member Patti Black here in Pacific Palisades, CA. Through the course of a conversation five years ago about accounting and credit card machines, somehow (and this happens all the time!) the conversation wound its way to Dollies Making A Difference.  Michael said, “Wow, you know my mother would be a great Dollie Ambassador!”, and since then we’ve sent hundreds of Dollies with Patricia on her travels to Cote d’Ivoire.

Often people will ask me, “How do you find your recipients for the Dollies and Teddy Bears?”. The answer is pretty simple, “Sometimes they find us through our website, but 90% of the time it is from word of mouth.  A Dollie lady may be at a party, school event, business meeting, book club, church, and in the course of conversation someone asks, “So, what do you do for fun?”.  At that point, the story of Dollies Making A Difference gets told.  Almost always the person will say, “You know, my eye doctor goes on medical missions” or “My son is going on a humanitarian mission with his school this summer, can he take Dollies?”  And we are on our way! Could YOU be a Dollie Ambassador?

Patricia first visited the small village of Braffoueby in Cote d’Ivoire in 2002 when she was a volunteer in the Peace Corps.  Upon her return to Chicago, she could not forget the poverty and lack of medical care she witnessed, and vowed to do something about it.  Her efforts began small, but every year the momentum grew until finally in 2013 a state of the art medical clinic for mothers and children was built.

Never underestimate the power of a woman with a passion and a cause – because she CAN and she WILL make a difference!