Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Podiatrist Adelina Stateva, DPM, demonstrates the spirit of volunteerism in her involvement with GAP Community, a non-profit philanthropic organization with global outreach. GAP Community is committed to providing tools to empower the disadvantaged people in our world to actualize their hopes and dreams. Through leadership training, international projects, and financial contributions, it is the goal of GAP Community to help people realize that, in any situation, circumstance, or struggle, faith, hope, and love can prevail.
Dr. Stateva first traveled with GAP to Kayamandi, South Africa in 2007 on an international project to better the living conditions of the locals. The area is tragically known to be one of the rape capitals of the world, and its communities are deeply affected by violence, poverty, and HIV. The goal of the trip was to provide youth leadership training, and to help determine the best use of the organization’s financial contributions.
GAP Community’s training exercises are geared towards helping participants set practical goals that will lead them to achieve their dreams. Upon reflecting on her first trip, Dr. Stateva recalled her amazement at the hope and fortitude exuded by the children in the area. Even growing up in an environment plagued by frequent tragedy, the children in Dr. Stateva’s leadership training classes expressed enthusiasm for their futures. Dr. Stateva also worked closely with her fellow GAP volunteers to fund a housing project renovation for HIV sufferers in Kayamandi.
Dr. Stateva explains, “There really are few experiences in my life that have been more inspiring than the work I have done in South Africa with GAP Community. I’m very grateful for the kids I got to know during my time there. The active learning style we use is designed to give children the confidence and insight necessary to overcome limiting beliefs and difficult circumstances that prevent them from achieving their goals and dreams. I thought the kids in Kayamandi would be discouraged by their rough environments and exposure to atrocities at such a young age. Instead I found them energetic and spirited with high hopes for their lives ahead of them. Everyday in leadership training, they were engaged and excited to learn.
“All GAP members are responsible for raising their own funds for the international project trips, and for the South Africa trip in 2007 we collectively raised a healthy surplus that we wanted to share with the local community in Kayamandi. We found a home for people living with HIV that lacked ample space and facilities. The occupants had to share tiny rooms, and the single bathroom was outdoors a ways away from the main housing building. Using the restroom at night meant risking being attacked or raped.
“As a group, we decided to use our funds to expand the housing project and to install indoor plumbing. When I returned with GAP Community again in 2011 we were rewarded with the sight of the completed renovations. The residents are now living in a much safer environment while they recover from illnesses, and the facility we built can accommodate many more people than it could before.”
In addition to the housing renovations and leadership training, Dr. Stateva cites other successes that have come about thanks to GAP Community’s trips to Kayamandi. In recent years, conversations about HIV amongst communities in Kayamandi have become more common, and more privileged South Africans have begun to contribute more of their time and resources towards mending the HIV problem. In the aftermath of the apartheid era, separation and prejudices remain commonplace in South Africa, but groups like GAP that strive to spread HIV awareness have helped lessen the stigma and bring people closer together.
Dr. Stateva was born and raised in Bulgaria and she moved to the United States when she was 15 years old. Upon completion of high school in Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Stateva attended Connecticut College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry. In 2002 she graduated from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. Shortly thereafter she began residency at Palo Alto, VA where she also taught at Stanford University and continued residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. She moved to California in 2005 to begin her practice in Santa Rosa, and she joined NCMA in March 2014.
Dr. Stateva and her husband, a professional chef in Santa Rosa, dedicate time to go on mission trips with GAP Community when they can. The couple has had one daughter since their last trip to South Africa. Dr. Stateva remains engaged with GAP locally, helping with fundraisers and informing people of the great volunteer opportunities the organization offers. Visit gapcommunity.com for more information on GAP Community, and visit ncmahealth.com to learn more about Dr. Stateva and NCMA.