April 21, 2023

National Volunteer Week: Cheers to Our Volunteers!

Happy #NationalVolunteerWeek!

Though CommunityHealth celebrates Volunteer Appreciation Month throughout April, we like to go big during this week from the 16th to 22th.

As the week comes to a close, we wanted to give you an overview of all the ways we have commemorated our favorite month of the year.

Around the Clinic

The Volunteer Services team put up decorations in the lounge at the beginning of April, but this week we extended the fun to the rest of the clinic!

Doors to the pharmacy, lab, and dental office got some love, as well as the back clinic area.

Make sure to check the table in the lounge for a gift from us: CommunityHealth 30th Anniversary magnets!

Social Media

If you aren’t already in the CommunityHealth Volunteers Facebook group, you’re missing out!

We’ve been highlighting quotes from our volunteers about what makes their service witth CommunityHealth rewarding, as well as their advice for new volunteers.

We’ve also posted some great statistics about patient satisfaction and thank you messages from the staff you all see and work with every day.

We wanted to shine a spotlight on some of our wonderful volunteers who agreed to let us use their words throughout the month:

“I love the vision and mission of CommunityHealth. What’s most rewarding to me is being able to be a part of the solution to our affordable health care crisis. People should not have to choose to go without care because of their economic status and not being able to afford health insurance. CH is a great resource to help guide patients in the right direction while providing them quality care.”

Vanessa Eyieta

Lab Shift Leader

“The most rewarding aspect of CommunityHealth has been the intersection of the incredible community with the ability to foster my cultural heritage. CommunityHealth has become a family that I am so very proud to identify myself with, and belonging to such a group while being able to promote intergenerational transmission of cultural knowledge and practices has made this experience truly and exceptionally one of a kind.”

Jessica Sejo

Medical Student

The most rewarding part of CommunityHealth is being able to break language barriers or concerns for the patients and physicians. As a child of immigrant parents, I know the difficulty and intimidation of not being familiar with a language and I love providing that relief to patients, so they get the best care that they deserve.”

Isabelle Olejniczak

Polish Medical Interpreter

Announcing Volunteer Program Updates

At our Volunteer Appreciation Event today, we announced some major volunteer program updates…

In-person events are making their long-awaited return this year! We will be having a CommunityHealth Block Party in August, and we hope to see all of you there for the first event of the All In series.

We’ll be hosting virtual State of the Clinic updates periodically! State of the Clinic will give you all clinic updates and the chance to ask questions.

CommunityHealth’s first TikTok account will launch on May 1st! Make sure to follow us at @CommunityHealthChicago. And if you have any resources/information you would like to share, such as easy yoga poses to practice during lunch break, please reach out to our Development and Communications Coordinator at OMetsa@CommunityHealth.org.

Volunteers can introduce new responsibilities into their workflow! At our Onward House and Enlace clinics, triage volunteers will now be working as clinical assistants, performing all the functions of triage while also taking blood and collecting samples for lab work. For interpreters, we will be rolling out the interpreter availability tracker to improve equitability of calls received during remote shifts. Join us at IEC for more information.

This summer, we will begin rolling out video interpreting! Video interpreting will improve the volunteer experience as well as the patient and provider’s quality of care. Interpreters, register for the next Interpreter Engagement Club meeting for more details.

State Funding Updates

For the first time ever, CommunityHealth has received funding through the State of Illinois. The 2023 State Budget included $9 million, which was sent to the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to distribute. CommunityHealth was awarded $1.2 million, which we are putting to work in a variety of ways:

  • Dental clinic overhaul – replacing old and worn-out equipment from 2009!
  • Increased accessibility for patients – including 3 new hi-lo tables at West Town, which brings us to 5/15 rooms now equipped.
  • New point-of-care ultrasound machine – replacing our old, end-of-life model.
  • Lab volunteers – new microscope and passthrough for urine samples.
  • Triage volunteers – digital scales have arrived.
  • Condoms – a vital need for which funding sources had dried up in recent years. This new funding gave us the ability to buy them out of our own budget.
  • And much more to come!

It is very rare for CommunityHealth to be able to purchase brand new equipment. Often, we receive donations of refurbished items or we receive it from other medical offices that are closing. It’s very exciting to see what we can do with such a large funding boost… and we want to make sure we have all of your ideas for the next time we are making big-budget improvements.

Please, if you notice that we are missing something that would make your role here easier or improve patient experience, let the clinic staff or Volunteer Services team know. We keep track of your suggestions and take them into account when deciding what upgrades to make.

Happy National Volunteer Week to the health care providers and clinic support volunteers that make Quality Health Care for All possible!