Chaminade Alumni Spotlight: Floating Doctors

Chaminade’s own alumni Dr. Benjamin LaBrot and his sister Sky LaBrot founded a nonprofit organization, Floating Doctors, that travels to different countries to deliver medical assistance to poverty stricken communities. They travel on the Southern Wind, a sailboat that the crew members personally designed to carry eight tons of medical supplies. A group of twenty volunteer doctors have traveled more than 6,000 miles on Southern Wind. Dr. Benjamin LaBrot and Sky LaBrot, the founders, both went to Chaminade High school in the 1990s while their mother, Paula LaBrot, also taught at the high school. After continuing their education, they started the organization when they first left the United States in April 2010 and sailed to Haiti. After almost two years of service, the organization has helped many impoverished communities that have little or no access to medical supplies.

The organization as a whole really strives to make health improvements for those in third world nations. They are not only hoping to change the present situation, but ultimately they aspire to help future generations live without the burden of disease. This simple, yet life changing goal has the power to affect so many lives. The organization specifically aims to provide free health care services, donate necessary medical supplies, and improve food and water quality to reduce child mortality rates.

The founder of the organization, Benjamin LaBrot, is an alumnus of the Chaminade community graduating in 1994. Before he attended college, he worked on commercial fishing boats, on the Floating Marine Science Laboratory vessel, and in classrooms at the Los Angeles County Office for Marine education. He completed a B.S. in Marine Biology, a B.S in History, and a Geology Minor from the University of CA, Santa Barbara. He then moved to Ireland to study medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons and helped run a long term facility that provided hospital services. During this internship he traveled to Thailand, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. It was from these experiences that he realized his calling in life to help provide medical services to the less fortunate.

Benjamin LaBrot combined his love for the ocean and his desire to help others through Floating Doctors. He visited the Chaminade Middle School campus on August 24, 2012 to share stories about his experiences with the people and the culture in the third world countries. LaBrot then showed the students videos about the work that his group of volunteers do. Consequently, he started a collection drive at the middle school that sparked interest in both the Chatsworth and West Hills campus.

Floating Doctor’s second in command, Sky LaBrot, is the organization’s executive Director of Operations and Galley Coordinator. Before getting involved with this organization she helped her older brother, the founder of Floating Doctors, Benjamin Labrot help run his marine science field program, Island Interns. She earned a B.S. in Culinary Management from the Art Institute in Santa Monica. After graduating she worked in five star hotels and restaurants, clubs, and other well-known companies. She later found herself involved with Floating Doctors largely because of her brother, but also because her negotiation, management, culinary, and nutritional knowledge have made her the ideal person to help locals eat healthier foods and manage the organization as a whole. She truly looks up to her brother and hopes that Floating Doctors is really making a pivotal difference in the world.

Floating Doctors is currently residing in Panama assisting over 25 indigenous communities that have no access to medical services. Benjamin Labrot said that they hope to create their first clinic in Bocas del Toro, Panama, to help with the medical assistance needed in this country. This is the first step to their five year plan to create clinics throughout Haiti and Honduras. Their work is truly an inspiration to anyone that understands both the level of discipline and patience that each volunteer must possess. Their selfless goals of conducting health research genuinely inspire everyone to serve others. Regardless of what community they are assisting, Floating Doctors is truly an inspiration to everyone in the Chaminade community.