Our Founding Story
I love being asked "where do I see myself or Be the Change (BTC) in 5, 10, 15 years. Even though I do have an answer, I let it be fluid for where ever God takes us as an organization. That is because I would have never imagined all the different ways God has expanded, adapted and grew BTC since I started this organization in 2015!
Below I am going to take you on a journey of where we started, how we evolved and what we have in store! I even added some fun tid-bits for you to learn a little bit more about my quirks & interests at the bottom. I am excited to see where God guides us and I am excited you are interested in joining us in that journey!
Kristine Gregory,Be the Change Founder
How it began...
Summer of 2007 was the summer I forced myself to do things out of my comfort zone so I could learn to push through unfamiliar situations (rather than avoid them). That led me to take a super early rowing class when I was NOT a morning person and didn’t like doing things where I didn’t know anyone. I took dance lessons (I was very uncoordinated), I started doing the opening prayer at church (hated public speaking) and went on a non-medical mission trip with my church even though I hardly knew anyone yet. The van driver for that mission trip introduced me to the world of medical missions and my life has never been the same since.
I began coordinating the Pharmacy of all the medical missions to Mexico, which led to a leadership role in the Honduras Medical Mission, starting a medical mission organization at the University of Texas at Austin (my alma mater), leading two trips to Africa and Panama and volunteering in India with my husband, all the while returning to most of those locations multiple times. I loved being able to see how varying organizations served different locations and cultures in such impactful ways.
It was after my Aunt challenged me by asking why I had been all over the world to serve, but have not yet gone to serve where I was born in the Philippines? The answer: there wasn’t an organization I could find that did.
So I started one.
How we evolved...
Before we even had heard back from the IRS about our 501c3 status, I already had a team signed up and was eager to go serve in the Philippines. A year or two later, one of the guys who had served alongside of me in Mexico and the Philippines stepped up to lead Be the Change’s expansion to Myanmar.
As of 2019, we were able to mobilize over 122 volunteers from the US to our international communities to provide free medical and dental care to 5,000+ patients: 16,000+ free prescriptions and 11,000+ dental sealants. So it is clear to see we were having an impact, but I still found myself bothered by this question I kept asking myself:
“What happens to our patients after we leave?”
Most of the prescriptions that are needed on our medical missions are over the counter and are only taken as needed. Antibiotics are done after 5-14 days typically. So those weren’t the issue.
It was our patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure that worried me.
They needed to take their medications daily. But what if they couldn’t afford it? And beyond medication, it was education that was the most needed. In general, ongoing care was something that I knew we needed to expand to next.
So in 2018, we created the Philippines Continuation of Care Clinic that enrolled qualifying diabetic patients to receive one-on-one going free care from our Clinic Director. They received free ongoing medications, lab monitoring & transportation to lab appointments, education and diabetes testing supplies (test strips, glucometers, lancets, lancing devices). Within just the first few months of regularly seeing our patients, we had the following results:
81% had an average 21 point reduction in systolic blood pressure
71% had an average 1.5 point reduction in A1c
61% had an average 2.1 inch reduction in waistline
57% has an average 5 lb weight lost
20% of patients reaching A1C goal within the first 4 months
12 patients found out for the first time that their kidney function required them to stop taking medications that they would have continued to take otherwise
Then 2020 happened.
Q: Fun Fact?
A: I traveled all 7 continents before I turned 25 and am only 2 continents away from having traveled all 7 again with my husband!
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: A adorable golden-doodle name Haddie that our son calls "Haggie" & rocks a Mohawk quite well!
Q: Favorite piece of advice
A: The 90 Second Rule: It is impossible for our bodies to be upset longer than 90 seconds, so if you still are it is because you restarted the cycle by dwelling on it- so take your 90 seconds and let it go!
Q: Hidden Talent?
A: I know all the words to a TON of 80's RB songs & am not afraid to sing/rap my face off!
Q: Where all have you lived?
A: Born in the Philippines, lived between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia until I was 2, California until I was 5, moved to Austin, TX for college & grew up in Houston, Texas
My Core Values
Rely on God
Jump in & Figure it out as I go
Be comfortable with being uncomfortable
6 days of work, 1 day of rest
Pray 1st & trust God can guide as I go
Not afraid to have hard, yet necessary convos
Lack of peace is a sign to pray
Move forward & pray; things will eventually become clear
Grace, Family, Dependability, Adventure, Determination, Spontaneity
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