2016 UNAC/UHCP Community Service

2016 UNAC/UHCP Community Service


Our union, the United Nurses Associations
of California/Union of Health Care Professionals, is committed to doing community service because
for us, it’s personal. Each day we go to work we touch the lives
of those who may be victims of domestic abuse, gang violence, homelessness, or poverty. As health care professionals, there are many
times where we wish we could do more. And so, our members are going out into the
community on their free time and participating in programs that provide education, medical
assistance, and economic empowerment to those in need. Each year, we do about 80 events that are
community service minded. So we go out into the community and we volunteer.
And the nice thing about that is many people think of labor unions as the pickets signs, as the strikes,
and the walkouts. But really the labor movement is about creating
an environment for people to be able to live well, to thrive, because when labor unions win, the entire
sector goes up in terms of pay, benefits, safety. On May 5, our South Bay affiliate celebrated
Cinco de Mayo and Nurses Week by providing medical and educational assistance to the
high risk and recently homeless mothers and children enrolled in the SHIELDS for Family
program in Los Angeles. We asked what we could do to actually have
a true impact. We didn’t really want to just put a band-aid
on a problem, we wanted to support something that actually improved and had a success rate. We took blood pressures, blood sugars, vital
signs. We did eye exams, but one of the bigger things
we did was educate them on the importance of getting health care and preventive care,
vaccines, and we saw probably around 100 people. We also put together care packages as well
but it was going towards this place that already had a successful curing of homelessness, so
it had a huge impact. On May 7, our Woodland Hills affiliate celebrated
Mother’s Day and Nurses Week by hosting a brunch for and by making a substantial donation
of household items to the victims of domestic abuse living in Haven Hills, a women’s shelter
in the hospital’s service area. As someone who grew up in an environment where
my mother was abused by my father, I felt like it was something that we really needed
to do and kind of step up out of our comfort and not do something that’s just patient related. And we did provide I would say anywhere between
30 and 40 mothers a lunch, and also we gave them gift baskets and we brought some toys
for the kids. It was something special for them and even
more, it was something special for us. Having a day like Mother’s Day that a lot
of families take for granted and get to celebrate with their loved ones and making it special
and showing them that you know you are valued as a parent and you are making good positive
parenting choices for your family is really huge and all the clients talk to me about
how much that day meant to them. To have partners come out and volunteer like
the United Nurses Associations of California is so invaluable and it goes such a long way
with our clients and really making them feel like they’ve made a step forward in their
lives. Also on May 7, our Downey affiliate hosted
an educational forum where women’s health experts, including our State Treasurer Jettie
Deden-Castillo, NP, addressed key questions specific to women’s health. On May 14, UNAC/UHCP members and their families
were proud to participate in the 24th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive
in Los Angeles and San Diego. The trucks would show up and we would have
them go park right next to the stairs where we could unload their truck of all this food. We would load it into a basket, we would have
everyone lined up, and it was a total fire line from one person to the next to the next,
piling it into a basket on the top, where we would sort through all of this food, look
for expired food, sort it by type of food, and once it was sorted by type of food, we
would put it into the truck. It was a busy day. We did, we probably loaded up about four – five
trucks easily. Not easily but we loaded up four or five trucks
with tons of food, canned food, dried food, you name it, we did it. On June 22, our physical therapists celebrated
44 years of Title IX, a law that provides women equal rights when it comes to participation
in sports activities. Our members provided an educational booth,
an exercise seminar, and a first aid station for an event hosted by Los Angeles Mayor Eric
Garcetti, First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland, and the Getty House Foundation Board of Directors. On the July 4 holiday weekend, our Panorama
City affiliate hosted an Independence Day barbeque for the clients of LA Family Housing,
an organization that provides assistance to high-risk families and individuals. We provided food, games, prizes, donations
and live music. We were so impressed by our UNAC/UHCP volunteers. They came out with bells and whistles for
this beautiful barbeque and celebration at one of our permanent supportive housing facilities. We got some toiletries from all of our members
here at Panorama City. The nurses and every ancillary staff joined in. It seems as if everything went quite well
because the homeless population was very, very happy and excited that they would be
there. It was amazing to watch the level of care
and the commitment, and the nurturing sort of tenderness that the nurses were able to
show these folks because these were folks who get it, they don’t matter. At least in their eyes, they don’t count And survival is a struggle. So when the nurses
came out and I’ve watched these opportunities and these people they just – they light up. The funny thing is when you give, you receive
so much more because it appeared to me that the nurses that were volunteering just went
home so fulfilled and yet they were providing a service that these folks haven’t had in
God knows how long. On August 17, our Woodland Hills affiliate
collected school supplies for and made donations to Westminster Free Clinics. So we do this every year. We ask our members to donate pencils, crayons,
notebooks, backpacks, and every year around this time, we give them out to the students. All the way from kindergarten to 12th grade
that need it. We have school supplies, we have calculators,
everything that they need to help them move forward. There are hundreds of backpacks here as you
can see. And on August 22, Stacey Stewart,
US President of the United Way worldwide, presented UNAC/UHCP with a philanthropy award
for our union’s commitment to community service. But of course, although we are thrilled to
receive awards for our community service, that isn’t why we do it. We care because That’s who we are. It’s been a really eye opening experience for everybody that was involved
and I’m hoping that we can continue to partner this way and create other opportunities for
your members to participate in giving back to the community. Volunteer now by contacting UNAC/UHCP’s political
department. The time is now.

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