The Providence Wellness Center, credited with creating a sense of neighborhood in the Los Angeles port community of Wilmington, this weekend received Providence Health & Services’ Mission Leadership Award.
The center, established with numerous community partners to address the health needs of this underserved community, was among 13 outreach programs nominated from throughout the five western states served by Providence.
Opened in late 2014, the wellness center is the heart of an emerging community of affordable family housing, an effort to build a safe and sustainable neighborhood.
Providence staff and community volunteers offer a range services at the center, including a diabetes self-management program, guidance in health insurance enrollment, guitar classes, Aztec dance classes, summer camps for children, parent support groups, grief support groups, home visit services to families of newborns and physical activity programs for all ages. These programs encourage children and adults to learn about and practice wellness skills that promote healthy living.
“This project required the creativity, hard work and commitment of many people, and the success is tremendous,” said Sister Nancy Jurecki, OP, chief mission integration officer for Providence Southern California. “The Wellness Center exemplifies our core strategy – Creating Healthier Communities, Together – by working with our community partners to identify community needs and collaborate to create solutions.”
Jim Tehan, regional director of community partnerships, led development of the program, one of numerous community benefit programs initiated to help vulnerable populations, including low-income families, the elderly and children in under-served areas.
“For 160 years, Providence has lived the tradition established by the Sisters of Providence – compassionate outreach to the poor and vulnerable,” Tehan said. “We’re honored to be recognized by our organization, but the real reward is in seeing the enthusiasm of families in this renewed community. We have 16 partner organizations and an outstanding team of volunteers, and we share this moment with each of them.”
Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers in Torrance and San Pedro have been active in community improvement in Wilmington since 1994 when an analysis showed residents suffered from the worst health outcomes among the communities served by the two hospitals. Wilmington, which neighbors more affluent coastal communities, is a working class town and Providence and its community partners are committed to helping neighbors connect to develop civic pride and engagement.
Here is a link to a brief video about the center: Watch video