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At Providence, the Global and Domestic Engagement team, part of the Community Partnerships division, creates volunteer opportunities for caregivers outside of the typical healthcare environment.
The Action Hub launched in June 2021 as an online platform that keeps Providence caregivers engaged with the community, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fall campaign offers several service programs for caregivers: cleaning up the environment, writing to those more isolated during the pandemic, and collecting hygiene kit supplies.
At Providence, our desire to serve our community goes beyond caring for patients in the clinic or hospital. Through our Community Partnerships division, we work directly within our communities through strategic partnerships and impact driven efforts. Within this work, the Global and Domestic Engagement (GDE) team partners at the local and international level to foster pathways for caregiver service opportunities to pair passion with action.
As a part of our continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GDE has launched the Action Hub and an integrated fall campaign to engage caregivers in instrumental community service.
The Action Hub promotes volunteer opportunities for caregivers
The Action Hub was launched in June 2021. It’s an online community engagement platform for caregivers at Providence.
“The Action Hub provides caregivers with additional opportunities to serve beyond the bedside,” says Melissa Tiberio, Manager of Domestic Engagement, who leads Providence’s domestic volunteer initiatives and convenes cross-regional stakeholders to empower caregivers through the Hub. “Active community engagement plays a key role in better understanding the unique needs and interests of our communities.”
“When caregivers visit the platform, they can learn not only about service opportunities, but also Providence’s philanthropic efforts, advocacy efforts, what we’re doing around environmental stewardship and the community-based efforts of our caregiver resource groups,” says Tiberio. “The Action Hub encompasses a broad mix of our community engagement programming and partnerships.”
Anyone with a Providence account can access the Action Hub. Currently, the Action Hub features a fall service campaign which is encouraging caregivers to participate in several key programs, such as Love the Earth Immersions, Messages of Hope, and Hygiene Kits.
Love the Earth Immersions commits to environmental stewardship
The Love the Earth Immersions program builds on GDE’s commitment to cultivating in-depth volunteer opportunities that engage caregivers in education and community service. In this case, outdoor immersions were a springboard for caregivers to volunteer and to learn about Providence’s WEACT framework and commitment to becoming carbon negative by 2030. The first Love the Earth immersion event happened in October 2021 in the Seattle area as part of Green Issaquah. Eleven caregivers from different systemwide departments (including a physician, nurses, and IT analysts) partnered with Forterra, an environmental nonprofit organization based in the Puget Sound, to remove invasive plants from a local park.
“We could immediately see the impact of our efforts when we stood next to the English Ivy that was removed during our time in the park,” says Tiberio, who co-led the immersion alongside Daneen Calvin, Chief Mission Officer for Population Health.
The service activity also included orientation, community education and group reflection.
“This was really meaningful,” says participant Taisha (Tai) Doo, a physician resident in geriatrics at Swedish. “It was like volunteering to do something good, learning more about our Mission with other caregivers I’d never met before and experiencing a retreat all at the same time.”
Future events are planned:
- November 2021 in Portland, Oregon, with Friends of Trees
- February 2022 in Napa California
- Others throughout 2022
Laura Rodriguez, GDE Manager of Medical Care Initiatives at Providence, led the kick-off of immersions this fall. “This work directly relates to our Mission,” Rodriguez said. “It’s important to connect our caregivers with our earth and the communities we work with and serve. It creates unity and an understanding of the needs our earth and communities face every day.”
Messages of Hope responds to people in isolation
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence developed the Messages of Hope campaign. Through the Messages of Hope initiative, caregivers can share messages of hope, joy, encouragement, and holiday cheer with residents and clients from more than a dozen local community organizations, including Providence’s own Home and Community Care facilities.
“We know that elderly care sites were hit especially hard, and the isolation they already may have experienced was exacerbated, so being able to send residents a message of encouragement felt like the least we could do,” said Kate Jorgensen, GDE Program Manager.
The goal is to involve 5,000 caregivers. If they each write ten letters, it will be a total of 50,000 letters to community members. Caregivers also have an opportunity to join one-hour virtual sessions with other caregivers.
“At these virtual events, we offer a reflection and share a little about the community partner we’re writing to and the residents who will be receiving the letters,” explains Tiberio. “Then we host a 20-minute session where participants can begin to write their letters. We play some music; we have a rotating slideshow with sample conversation starters or poems they might include in their letters. We hope the virtual events get people started and builds excitement about the initiative.”
Caregivers also are encouraged to lead their own virtual service events with their team. Leaders receive a toolkit and other support.
Messages of Hope is one of the programs listed in the Action Hub. It’s available 24/7 and provides a safe, socially distanced way for caregivers to serve. At the same time, it supports more isolated community members during this challenging time. Individuals interested in writing messages of hope are encouraged to reach out to their local residential care centers to see if cards that express hope and encouragement would be beneficial for their residents.
Hygiene Kits respond to people in need
Another newer opportunity provides an easy way for caregivers to serve individuals experiencing homelessness. Caregivers are asked to purchase materials for hygiene kits or host a supply drive. Then they assemble and donate the kits locally.
“There has been a huge increase in homelessness because of COVID,” says Rodriguez, who leads the hygiene kits campaign. “Organizations who serve the homeless need hygiene kits on a daily basis. They help maintain a sense of normality and are the first step in the prevention of spreading disease. Hygiene kits provide hope for those who are suffering.”
Organizations that serve the homeless desperately need these essential supplies to provide to people during outreach efforts and when they are moving into temporary shelters.
Caregivers are assembling hygiene kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, wipes, hand sanitizer, deodorant, soap, shampoo, and handwritten notes. Community members interested in making hygiene kits can reach out to their local nonprofit organization serving individuals experiencing homelessness.
Caregivers in the community
At Providence, we work with our community. Together, we increase our impact in creating health for a better world.
“One of my favorite parts about working for Providence is the connection we do have with the community,” says Tiberio. “We focus on ensuring we’re meeting community needs both inside and outside our hospital walls.”
Love the Earth Immersions, Messages of Hope, and hygiene kits are just a few examples of how Providence caregivers are contributing to community impact. With the Action Hub, it’s easier than ever for caregivers at Providence to give back, volunteer, advocate, and take action within our communities.
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To learn more about what we’re doing to help our caregivers and other community partners, check out our Annual Report to our Communities.
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