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Felisa Hilbert is a Social Good Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. Through education, advocacy, and fundraising.
Shot@Life Champion Leader
Felisa Hilbert is a United Nations foundation’s Social Good Fellow and a Shot@Life Champion Leader. It is a UN Foundation campaign that strives to decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths through education, advocacy, and fundraising. Hilbert was born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico. She moved to the United States of America nearly 24 years ago after marrying her husband Dan. She has always taken an active role in the community. She presented the idea of ‘Multicultural Literacy Night’ at a school with minority parents acting as teachers. It started as a small event and has now grown into a Multicultural Diversity Festival that is now held at the Tulsa Technology Center. The membership has now reached over more than 100 members with this year’s event consisting of 30 countries, 10 entertainment groups, 10 community resources offering their services, and a total of 1,126 guests in attendance.
After her basic schooling, Hilbert enrolled with the Mexican Army for one year of pre-nursing training. After her the completion of her training, she was called to serve for 20 months for the Mormon church in the Guadalajara Mission in three states. Her experience during this period showed how some families lived in one-room cardboard houses that have dirt floors and are the perfect breeding grounds for diseases. After her mission was over, she enrolled in nursing school and kept volunteering to practice preventive medicine in rural areas by administering basic healthcare and immunization. This was where her love for humanity and concern for global health was born. These experiences left a deep impression upon her and Hilbert’s resolved to do everything she could to make the upcoming generation not lack basic medical care.
In 2011, Hilbert was selected as the Oklahoma delegate by Parenting magazine for their Mom Congress in Washington DC and was named a Champion of Change in Education by the White House. By the end of her first year, she was invited to attend a Summit for Shot@Life that was conducted by the United Nations Foundation. The summit was the point that took her back to her passion for global healthcare. The summit focused on children that die due to the lack of basic health care and she had experiences of witnessing these first hand. One in five children around the world do not have access to the vaccines that are needed to survive. Their mission was to provide basic vaccination to children around the world and it greatly resonated with her. After connecting with Shot@Life, she realized that this was something she wanted to support and became very passionate about helping to ensure that she would not see another mother lose her child due to something that can be prevented so easily. Upon returning to Oklahoma, Hilbert conducted several fundraising events for Shot@Life. She became a leader and mentor to champions from three states.
Shot@Life is a wonderful place to connect with, train, and give champions opportunities to speak at different events both locally and nationally. Because of Shot@Life, Hilbert learned to write to congressmen, to reach out to newspapers, and to make use of social media to support their causes. It has taught her the necessary skills that are necessary to advocate for vaccinations on a global scale.
During her interview, Hilbert was questioned about the development and start of the International Cultures for Education PTA. Hilbert replied, “The Multicultural Fair started 11 years ago and has become a community festival in partnership with many of our city leaders, businesses, and the Broken Arrow Visitors Bureau. This program is a free event for the entire community and is an opportunity for minority parents to become teachers and share their stories and cultures. This started as a PTA activity in the elementary school where I worked. The first year, we had only 12 countries represented and then 15 the next year and it quickly grew to become a community program that represents more than 30 countries and cultures every year! It became a hit. What started as a small event at an elementary school grew into the Multicultural Diversity Festival that is now held at the Tulsa Technology Center.”
According to Hilbert, the biggest issue in child health in the US and Mexico is the ignorance surrounding educational programs. The system has problems in reaching out to everyone and there are many that do not believe in vaccinations. Shot@Life aims to eradicate issues like these so that people are better informed about the necessity of vaccinations.
On a personal note, Hilbert is an avid reader and two of her favorite books are ‘Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder and “When God Winks at You” by Squire Rushnell.
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