It’s no secret that LifeBridge Health employees give back every single day. Sometimes, we’re carefully describing how a patient can continue their treatment plan at home; sometimes we’re working to support health care providers by promoting their services to the public. Whether we’re keeping the networks humming or our patients’ bellies full, we’re all here to serve. Giving back can be a real passion, and, for many LifeBridge Health staffers, it’s a passion that follows us out of the office and remains long after our scrubs have been tossed in the wash.
The ways we give back to our communities are just as varied as the roles we serve at LifeBridge Health. Northwest Hospital Oncology registered nurse Mariciel Sacay makes time for her kids’ school activities, and Janet Caputo, an addictions counselor, helps out the less fortunate by volunteering for the Cockeysville Food Pantry. Robert Bain, a project coordinator for Clinical Engineering, helps build a holiday model train garden at a firehouse in Ellicott City; last year, it drew 15,000 visitors and raised $8,000 for the Howard County Fire Company.
For LifeBridge mother-daughter duo, Q.I. coordinator Carol Valentine and ER unit clerk Robyn DeLauder, volunteering is a family affair. They are regulars at the Ronald McDonald House. “Robyn and I go to the house each month and set up tables for guests to make some greeting cards,” explains Carol. “It gives the parents some needed R&R when the only decision they have to make is, ‘What color do you want to make your card?’ I have always loved helping others and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House.”
There are so many tried-and-true charitable organizations that need the time and resources of dedicated volunteers; then again, there are also only so many hours in the day. But, with a little research, you can find ways to work for the causes close to your heart. You may even be surprised by the opportunities you’ll find. Therapeutic recreational manager Jamilah Bashir volunteers through Meals on Wheels, but not in a way you would expect.
“Through the Meals on Wheels program there is another program called the Kibble Connection,” says Jamilah. “I deliver cat and dog food to families that receive meals through the Meals on Wheels program. I absolutely love it because I love animals and I love helping others less fortunate than myself.” According to the Maryland SPCA website, the Kibble Connection is “a unique partnership among the Maryland SPCA, Community Support Services for the Deaf and Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland … Kibble Connection helps ensure that Meals on Wheels clients and their pets maintain good nutrition.”
It’s no secret that doing good makes you feel good. LiveWell@LifeBridge acknowledges these benefits by awarding 25 points for volunteering. Studies conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (which is the federal organization that facilitates President Obama’s national call-to-service initiative, United We Serve) show that the boost to our mood helps our overall health: “Over the past two decades we have also seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits … those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.” Our lifelong passions can make our lives longer.
Medical editor Tzipora Sofare has taught Hebrew to adults for more than 30 years. “Sharing this knowledge is a passion because Hebrew is such an incredibly logical, structured and beautiful language,” she notes. “Some want to learn so that they can understand the words that they use to pray; others want to learn so that they can read an important piece of literature in the language in which it was originally written. I love to be able to give students the power to accomplish their goals.”
One of the best things you get back when you give your time is a sense of community. According to Vice President Barbara Epke, a group of around 30 LifeBridge women, called the LifeBridge WINGs, comes together to put together a monthly dinner for My Sister’s Place Women’s Shelter. Through its connection to the United Way, the group also keeps active with other humanitarian endeavors throughout the year.
Whether you decide to pitch in and help clean the Chesapeake Bay or to deliver a meal (and some cheer) to a lonely senior, you’re touching lives in a lasting way. And whether you’re on or off the clock, that’s a mighty fine feeling.
To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premiere health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.