Helping at a camp for children who have lost a parent.
Reaching out to children and teens to keep them from smoking … or to encourage them to quit.
These are just a few of the ways Penn Medicine staff go above and beyond to serve our community. Indeed, all in all, they provide thousands of hours of volunteer support to the community. And, now, the Penn Medicine CAREs Foundation Grant Program is helping them give back even more.
This newly created program will award grants up to four times per year to help charitable organizations pay for non-salary expenses. For example, a free clinic staffed by Penn faculty and medical student volunteers might want funding for blood glucose strips for diabetes testing. Nurses who provide health education for young mothers could use the grant to purchase educational materials.
Penn Medicine CAREs recently announced its first round of award winners. These staff members volunteer their time to a wide variety of worthwhile initiatives, from a dance program for patients with Parkinson’s disease to Reiki (a holistic approach to relieve stress and pain) for hospice patients.
One of the winners was Margie Delaney, who used the grant to help the Veterans Group of Powelton Village. This facility provides a place to live -- and support services -- for up to 48 homeless veterans. Margie first connected with the group last fall when the director reached out, asking if she could help supply items to make the house more of a home: blankets, pillows, toiletries. Through the generosity of her coworkers, Margie more than met his simple requests. When she visited the group home, she saw the need to do much more … and she did, thanks to the CAREs Foundation grant. Veteran’s Group residents will soon enjoy their meals on six new kitchen tables, replacing the old wooden ones that are always in need of repair. And Margie is looking for other ways to help. “Once I start something, it’s hard to let go,” she said. “I continue to stay involved.”
Camille Evans, another grant winner, volunteers time to New Choices Career Development, a free service offered by Delaware County Community College which helps single parents and individuals in transition enter -- or return to -- the work force. Camille is one of the human resource professionals who meet with participants at the end of the seven-week program, helping them hone their interviewing skills and answering common HR questions that applicants often have. The Penn Medicine CAREs Foundation grant Camille received will help support New Choices’ childcare component, which lost funding due to government cutbacks.
“I am where I am today because people took the time to help me, were willing to be a mentor to me,” she said. “I love giving back.”
(Pictured above) Camille Evans (second from left) with representatives of New Choices Career Development Program and Delaware County Community College (l. to r.): Susan Rapp, Sandy Gera, Dr. Jerry Parker, and Kathleen Breslin.