Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
In this episode, we talk with Mark Wolfert, founding executive, and Joy Wu and Sandy Schuffler, doTERRA Wellness Advocates, about the way the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation responds to disasters and works to support communities around the world.
doTERRA: Welcome back to Essential Oil Solutions with doTERRA. Today, we're excited to bring you the first of a series of special episodes highlighting the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation®. As part of the foundation's 10-year anniversary celebration, we are bringing you stories of how the oils and the Healing Hands Foundation have helped to change the lives of people all across the world.
Throughout this special series you will hear stories from doTERRA’s executives, Wellness Advocates, and individuals that have been directly impacted by things like natural disasters, human trafficking, dire financial situations, and more. Today's episode, will be focusing on the Healing Hands Foundation's Disaster Relief Program.
The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation was founded in 2010 because the doTERRA founding executives had a vision of bringing healing and hope to the world through providing global communities with the tools needed to become self-reliant, empowering individuals, and changing lives. Recently, Mark Wolfert, one of the founding executives, discussed the formation of the Healing Hands Foundation as well as its focus on disaster relief.
Mark Wolfert: As I think back on those early days, we just felt inspired. We knew what we wanted doTERRA to be. It included, as much as anything else, this element of giving, lifting, helping, serving, empowering others. And the essential oils do that to some extent, and that's the beginning. And that's a great foundation, but that's not the only part of it. So what we then had to do, we thought, “We have got to find likeminded people.”
doTERRA: The doTERRA executives went looking for a way to fulfill their mission of giving. And they found an organization called Mentors International.
Mark: There's a great story that I don't think many people have heard. In that first year or two, we were doing well. We were growing, but every penny was being put back into the business. And one day Greg invited some people from Mentors International. Mark Petersen, who was the CEO of Mentors International—which does micro-lending to small family businesses. He invited Mark to come over and make his pitch why doTERRA could and should be a sponsor or a benefactor to donate to this loan fund that mentors used.
And Greg came into a meeting afterwards with the partners and proposed this to us. We were on board. This is exactly where we wanted to be, who we wanted to be, and we wanted doTERRA to be known more for its social impact as well as essential oils. So on the side we were already doing some things, and we really wanted to start with this. There was only one problem: we didn't have any money. We were putting everything back into the business, into inventory, into growth.
And so, it was a matter of saying, “Do we really want to do this? How important is it?” And it took a leap of faith. We said, “We are going to do this.” We made a commitment. We wanted to do this, and this is who we wanted to be as we started this company.
doTERRA: Not only does the Healing Hands Foundation continue to work with Mentors International, but they've expanded to partner with other organizations as well, working on many different projects with communities throughout the world. In addition to working with their partner organizations, the Healing Hands Foundation encourages Wellness Advocates to find ways that they can serve in their community with help from Healing Hands.
Mark: There came a point, a few years in, where we thought there has to be more. And so, we offered our Wellness Advocates the opportunity to receive matching funds from the Healing Hands Foundation for their own passions, their own humanitarian work that they wanted to be involved with. And perhaps doTERRA Healing Hands doesn't always offer the specific opportunity that a Wellness Advocate is looking for. And so, we said, “Well, do your own. We'll support you.” And oh my goodness, that is the day that this whole Healing Hands vision took the next step.
doTERRA: Once the Healing Hands Foundation had set up a way to partner with Wellness Advocates, they started to look for resources they could provide when disaster struck.
Mark: You know, whether we're talking about fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, there is so much need out there. When we saw how eager our Wellness Advocates were to help, before we even heard about something on the news, we had a Wellness Advocate who was there living it, telling us, “Here's what's going on.”
Well it didn't take very long at all before we realized, “Wait a minute. Let's unleash the power of our Wellness Advocates to help solve these problems.” It was just simply a matter of devising a tool that they could use and what it turned out to be as of course these emergency relief kits that they could then purchase and donate to Healing Hands, and these could be sent to these areas where people are in need.
doTERRA: One such disaster occurred in Hawaii a couple of years ago. On May 2, 2018, the Halemaʻumaʻu Summit Craters Lava Lake—a persistent pool of bubbling lava inside the crater—began to drain. And cracks started to appear in the rift zone. The next day, the first fissure of many appeared in the Leilani Estates subdivision, and lava began to flow.
Joy Wu and Sandy Schuffler shared with us their experiences during this time.
Joy Wu: And on May 3rd of 2018, the lava began flowing and the volcano just—eventually there were about 24 fissures that erupted with lava coming out.
Sandy Schuffler: And there was a huge earthquake and this massive explosion. And then lower Puna panicked, and I saw firsthand how dramatic people's lives were being affected. It was like a normal day, and you drive for 30 minutes, and you enter into a situation that looks like a war zone.
Joy: I mean, an entire subdivision was just swallowed up by the lava flow, and that's a hard thing. You know, if you're standing in your home and you literally can see lava moving and inching towards you—you know it's going to consume your home. That's a that's a really hard thing to experience.
Mark: And we all remember seeing on the news these graphic pictures of the lava coming down from the volcano, going across the roads and into the communities and almost cutting off the island, north and south from each other. Right?
doTERRA: This prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents. Over the course of this disaster, the volcano would produce 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of lava, which transformed the landscape and ultimately destroyed 700 homes. doTERRA Wellness Advocates living in the area of this disaster were searching for ways that they could help their neighbors who had been affected.
Joy: After a few days of flow, we began to think, “Well, okay. What can we do?”
Sandy: Immediately I felt I had to do something to help as much as I could. I reached out to Healing Hands and explained the dramatic situation that my friends here on the island were experiencing.
Joy: I called in to doTERRA. It was a Tuesday morning. You know, they were already aware at Healing Hands of what had begun to happen and they said, “Okay what do you guys need? And how much do you need?” We called in on a Tuesday morning, and by Thursday afternoon, we received probably about $10,000 worth of oils.
Sandy: They sent out hygiene kits. They sent out roller bottles of Breathe, of Lavender, and of On Guard.
doTERRA: Because of the donations they received from the Healing Hands Foundation, Wellness Advocates living in Hawaii were able to have powerful experiences with individuals affected by this disaster.
Sandy: It seems day by day more Wellness Advocates were jumping on board, wanting to help all of those in crisis.
Joy: We had about 60 people spontaneously give up their Mother's Day celebration plans with their own families and said, “Let's head over to the shelter together and put on a Mother's Day celebration for the evacuees. And let's gift them with these oils, and let's share with them how to use it.”
It was fantastic. There were a dozen Wellness Advocates who came to set up their massage tables, and their desire was to give every mama in that shelter a mother's massage using the oils. The masseuses came and they were inviting the moms. And they said, “Hey, we'd love to give you a massage, and we'd love to do the AromaTouch technique with you. Would you come?” And one by one, the mamas would come.
And pretty soon the dozen tables were just full the whole entire day. All these women, they are all waiting for their turns at getting a massage. And afterwards, I was talking with the masseuses, and I said, “How did it go?”
And they were like, “Joy, I don't know that a single mom got off the table not in tears.” And they just said that the stress that they were dealing with and just the loss of everything—they were able to just let it go. And so, the moms just—it was like it was the first time they could actually release their emotions because they've been trying to stay strong for their children, stay strong for their families. And so that day was an opportunity to pour into their cups, overflow their own cups, and they let a lot of the tension go on the table. It was a few hours of brightness and celebration in the midst of tragedy.
doTERRA: Sandy was able to get permission to retell the story of a close friend who was directly impacted by the disaster.
Sandy: In early June 2018, lava from Kīlauea Volcano eruption covered my five acres in Kapoho. It's emotional for me, sorry. It destroyed our home of 40 years and all our personal belongings. We evacuated in early May. Moving my medically fragile disabled son and all his gear required lots of help and great effort. At first, we sheltered with a friend, but fumes from the eruption followed the surrounding air. We bought our purifiers and our hosts covered all the screens and openings. My son was having respiratory difficulty and needed oxygen 24 hours a day.
doTERRA: Day after day, the volcano continued to spew ash and smoke into the air, causing the air quality to get worse and worse, which made Janus realize that she and her family were still too close to the eruption.
Sandy: As the eruption continued, air quality got worse, forcing us to seek shelter further from the eruption. The stress and heartbreak was extreme. We found a temporary, handicap-accessible vacation rental with basic amenities and household supplies we needed. So we packed up the hospital bed, wheelchairs, truckloads of medical gear and moved. Soon after our friend came to see, she gave us some doTERRA essential oils and showed us how to use them.
The oils were very helpful for stress reduction and brought us much needed comfort. We eventually were able to move into a permanent home. The oils continue to provide us with many benefits now as we face new challenges. We are so fortunate to have these tools for our well-being. Many mahalos.
doTERRA: Through the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, they were able to find the support they needed to help the people in crisis. The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation strives to make a positive and sustainable change in the world, and we know that comes through touching the life and empowering each individual that we're able to and we are constantly looking for new ways to reach out and make an impact.
Mark: You know at one point we thought it’d be nice to have on hand an inventory of 5,000 of these kits, grew to 10,000, grew to 15,000, 20,000, and beyond. And then we would get other relief organizations here locally and elsewhere who learned about these kits and asked if from time to time do we have 5,000 kits that we could send them. And that's very helpful because they have shipment and delivery channels that we don't always have access to. So we partner with them as well, and so, we just see more of the same.
We want to increase our footprint in terms of the help that we can provide and because of that, because of that history, because of that track record, because of the energy and vision of our Wellness Advocates, I have no reason to believe it'll do nothing but continue to grow and continue to help and lift and empower people around the world.
You know, I would invite everyone who's listening to us to first do one thing: go to doterrahealinghands.org and just spend five minutes, ten minutes, just a short period of time looking at some of the projects and the people that doTERRA Healing Hands and its Wellness Advocates have helped.
doTERRA: Thanks for joining us and congratulations on living a healthier lifestyle with essential oils. If you liked what you heard today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. Also, if you want to try any of the products you learned about, go to doterra.com or find a Wellness Advocate near you to place an order today.