Passion and dedication is what two students needed to journey 1,400 miles from home, determined to improve health conditions in another country.
Milca Nuñez and Chris Bush traveled to the Dominican Republic in early September to begin their field experience for the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University.
As of 2013, the Dominican Republic had a population of 10 million, with 40 percent living below the poverty line, according to The World Bank. Receiving medical care is a challenge most Dominicans face; there are an estimated two physicians per 1,000 persons.
The Dominican Republic also has a higher number of adolescent pregnancies than any other country in Latin America, and according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the infant mortality rate is 23 per 1,000 births.
Editor's note: Juan Chiu died Feb. 21 at the age of 78.
Sometimes men who played soccer for Juan Chui as kids tell him how he inspired them.
Coach Chiu, who once served as a soccer coach at Milligan College, also coached youth soccer in Johnson City, Tennessee, for 35 years.
“I think that one of my favorite parts of coaching is seeing former players, and they remember playing soccer for me,” said Chiu, who has seen his players become successful in professions such as law, acting and business.
Tucked away in the back of Mountain View Elementary School's library is a man who is passionate about his job and the work he does for Johnson City Schools.
Fernando De Sousa-Pereira is the Spanish interpreter for all 11 schools in Johnson City, Tennessee. Anyone who greets De Sousa will immediately be met with a firm handshake and a smile.
If a teacher cannot communicate with a child's parents because of a language barrier, De Sousa is called to the school. He is the link between parents and teachers. De Sousa devotes a lot of time and effort into his job.
He works with parents to ensure their child succeeds in school. He wants parents to understand the school system and how it works, which means filling out the load of paperwork students need at the beginning of each school year. He attends parent-teacher conferences if he needs to translate.
A woman stands before a crowd of fellow North Carolinians, prepared to deliver a speech on a topic of great importance to her.
Carolina Siliceo Perez told how, as a college student, she stood in line to register for classes after the other students, paid out-of-state tuition without having access to financial aid and feared being pulled over every time she drove a car. She experienced these things because she is an illegal immigrant.
The scene was "Moral Monday," an event in Asheville, North Carolina, sponsored by the NAACP to address topics of social reform. Siliceo came to share reasons why she believes the U.S. needs immigration reform.
Attorney Solange Adams McDaniel helps immigrants become residents of the U.S., while helping them feel safe again.
McDaniel has a personal perspective on immigration. Had her father not been a citizen of the United States, her coming to the U.S. from Venezuela as a child could have been a much harder process. She is passionate about helping others in situations that could have been her own.
"I meet with clients most of the day, unless I have court in the morning,” said McDaniel, who works in Johnson City, Tennessee. “Mostly what I do is consultations, where I meet with people and determine whether or not they qualify for some type of immigration benefit that can allow them to get a permanent resident card or a visa. I also help defend them if they are already in immigration court proceedings.”