Skip to main content
News & Media


Community, Connection, and Compassion for Two Consecutive Years (Guest Post by Leslie Martinez)

The Range of Motion Project has introduced me to a level of community and connection I had not previously encountered. When I discovered a non-profit aligning with my passion for O&P, improved access to prosthetic care, and focusing on a marginalized community I deeply identified with, I was eager to contribute and raise the necessary funds to serve as a growing health professional.

In 2023, I had the privilege of serving with ROMP Guatemala before graduating from Northwestern University. In a last-minute effort to recruit more volunteers, I reached out in our school group chat to encourage others to join us in aiding individuals in regaining mobility and enhancing their quality of life. Our group of 7 created a close-knit and meaningful environment, delivering 15 prostheses and transforming the lives of 15 individuals. The experience provided valuable insights, showcasing the dedication of Latin American communities in fighting for mobility. The impact was profound, teaching us about resilience and determination. Learning also about ourselves, our limits, challenges in fabrication with limited resources as well as limited componentry. A wide-eyed perspective on the prosthetic care available in the U.S. Though, it was empowering for the recipients gaining access to prosthetic care, the staff witnessing the success of their efforts in a new building location, and for me personally, seeing myself reflected in Health Professionals like Katy, a Latina Prosthetist. The connections made with fellow volunteers, learning, bonding, and immersing in the vibrant Guatemalan culture, left a lasting impression. The heartfelt interactions with patients, hearing their aspirations and witnessing their resilience, were unforgettable. As we bid farewell to Guatemala, tears flowed – a mix of joy for the impact we made and sadness to part ways. I will never forget the faces of the patients who spoke about their goals, all-encompassing standing to wait for transportation - if not walking to - their workplace, or to acquire the means necessary to provide for their families. Building relationships with both patients and volunteers deepened my commitment to the cause. I knew I wasn’t done with the Range of Motion Project yet. 

The decision to return for another mission was fueled by a desire to give back to the same communities in need. A great want to serve others as a result of acknowledging the prevalent statistics that are only to increase. Not to mention the opportunity for professional development to enhance my skills and knowledge, despite the challenges of securing time off, finances, and balancing personal commitments - a common reason why individuals state they may not be able to apply for such experience. Support from ROMP's fundraising initiatives and the generosity of sponsors were crucial. Fortunately, with ROMP's coordination of GoFundMe-type pages and opportunity for business tax deductible donations, there is increased opportunity for funding success and making trips accessible to students/residents/etc. A last-minute funding setback was overcome with the support of my fiancé, who understood the depth of my dedication to the cause. After (not much) deliberation, he encouraged me to dip into our self-funded wedding savings to cover the travel costs needed to make it happen. You see, sometimes we are faced with decisions. What’s a life worth living, if not for each other? 

The question I was asked immediately following the conclusion of ROMP Ecuador: “Which one was better?” Well I’ll tell you this, if you go through life without experiencing the magic of either, heck - without experiencing both, you’re missing out. It was a goal of mine to make this trip happen before I even ended the first. The mission of ROMP was evident despite the location, despite the staff, the practitioners, and the volunteers the second time around. It all felt connected. The only thing I will say of course, is that in Ecuador we did, “Get down.” I will never forget the faces of the patients who regained mobility and DANCED like no one was watching with the biggest smiles.

Arriving in Quito for the ROMP mission in Ecuador felt like coming home, despite being in a new Latin American country. The experience not only enriched my technical competencies but also broadened my cultural understanding and empathy, essential in healthcare settings. It is only one of the various benefits to volunteering with ROMP.  The natural beauty of Quito and the warm reception from the locals added to the rewarding experience of providing prosthetic care to those in need. The clinic days in Ecuador were filled with familiar routines, laughter, ahi, and the joy of witnessing patients regain mobility and dance with newfound freedom. This time, much much more laughter with nearly triple the volunteer group size resulting in 25 prostheses being delivered. It was so beautiful to get to know other individuals interested in the same. cause, the same profession, the same willingness to learn and do more to make change HAPPEN. People from different parts of the U.S. merging together for the same purpose, same mission. It is a good example of the great things that can happen when people come together. Now we are connected in deep rooted memories, not just thumbprints on a tree. It is noted that a good practitioner has good hand skills, quick intuition, and ability to think on their feet regardless of the resources around them. Volunteering for ROMP poses an additional challenge to its practitioners visiting from the states - working with limited resources and utilizing increased hand skills. Additionally, it places importance on empathy and ultimately perspective on the impact we can all  make.

The collaborative effort of ROMP staff, volunteers, and practitioners showcased the mission's impact, transcending geographical boundaries and language barriers. The shared goal of restoring mobility and improving lives underscored the importance of addressing disparities in prosthetic care worldwide. Privileged does not begin to cover the opportunity and ability to have served for the Range of Motion Project back-to-back. A new goal could only be, to offer whatever my hands and heart can do the next time around. Perhaps in 2026? Thank you, Range of Motion Project, for not only giving individuals the opportunity to regain mobility, as it is not a luxury but a right. Mostly, thank you for providing a sense of community and belonging to many, including myself. 

Our Impact Since 2005

  • Years Breaking Barriers


  • Prosthetic Devices Delivered


  • Patient Visits