Health and Human Services Day
October 9, 2013
By: Zach Berg
And so it begins…8:00 am the so called “Dirty Thirty” LPBC Class of 2014 boarded the bus for the first time for the arduous journey from the Mollie Wilmot Center to the Hanley Center (I think it took longer to load and unload than to travel the 0.5 mile trip).
Hanley Center – We were informed by our first co-hostess, Eugenia Miller that we would be learning how PBC providers care for our community from cradle to almost grave (100 + years). Jennifer Harrington, Director of Alumni Affairs for Hanley Center welcomed us and provided us with breakfast which included much needed coffee for many of us. And now it is time for…JEOPARDY with our host – Perry Borman of the Palm Beach County Food Bank. We learned facts such as: By 2010 figures, 21% of PBC residents were uninsured; and that there are at least 2,000 homeless children in the PBC School System. By my count, none of the 3 teams had a positive point total, but Team #3 won the battle with a grand total of -60 points. Congratulations Team #3 – I guess this is what it would feel like to win the Olympic Gold Medal for Darts.
*****We walk up the “hill” to St. Mary’s****************
St. Mary’s - Don Chester (LPBC Class of 1986) welcomed us and we then received an interesting presentation from David Carbone, CEO of St. Mary’s. Among other things we learned: St. Mary’s is celebrating its 75th year (1938); it is the only hospital form Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando with a 24 hour Pediatric ER; Consumer Reports listed it as the 2nd Safest Hospital in Florida and the SAFEST hospital in South Florida; it is the only hospital in the US designated as a “GE Showsite” for its leading Stroke Center.
ELVIS ENTERS THE BUILDING…to share his experience of having his life saved at the hospital’s Stroke Center. We then took a tour of the hospital to include the Trauma Center, Stoke Center and NICU. This was especially emotional for me (and I assume for Claudia as well) because our children spent significant time there and we can personally attest to the miracles they perform in the NICU.
****Indecision Ensues – walk down the “hill” or take the bus to Quantum House***** we take the bus*******crisis averted and we remain ON TIME
Quantum House – Our Second co-hostess and Executive Director of Quantum House, Robi Jurney welcomed us and gave us a brief description of the facility – which feeds and houses over 500 families per year while their loved ones are in the hospital. There are currently 10 rooms with a campaign to build 20 more (as I found out the hard way…30 is ENOUGH). We toured the facility’s boarding rooms, outdoor area, kitchen, game room and business center for guests – 1st class all the way. And of course, who could forget the aptly named Angel – he hand is father are guests of the Quantum house and are from California. You can see in his face that his struggles are more manageable with the assistance and support Quantum is able to provide.
Krystal Kenison of the Parent Child Center brought with her Jermanisha Evans to detail her success since entering the program – she has gone literally from the juvenile detention centers to the path of graduation from PBSC. Dena Foman (LPBC 2013) shared a personal story which has led her to champion the cause of awareness and the need for additional services for mental health afflictions. On behalf of the LPBC Class of 2014 I would like to thank her for sharing this most difficult story with us and we wish her child success in overcoming his ongoing battles. Lastly we heard from Deanna Warren of Genesis Community Health and their success in being able to treat those without means. They are expanding into Delray Medical Center and their good work will now assist more people.
*****Lunch, group meetings, yada yada yada****bus to Alzheimer’s Community Care******We are now EARLY
Alzheimer’s Care Center – We were welcomed by Mary Barnes, President and CEO. We learned about the Center and that they serve not only Palm Beach, but Martin and St. Lucie counties from Rob Sommer; Karen Gilbert gave us a tour of the Care and Service Center – don’t call it Day Care. Mary explained to us about the generosity of the Baxter Family and their dedication to serving and supporting those with Alzheimer’s and dementia with dignity.
*****Back on the bus to Mollie Wilmot Center*****Fatigue is setting in***but thanks to Palm Healthcare we are recharged with healthy snacks and cold bottled water****hovering between early and on-time.
Palm Healthcare/Mollie Wilmot – Our final co-hostess, Melanie Otero, Vice President of Philanthropy for Palm Healthcare closed out our day with a welcome to the Mollie Wilmot Center – and us longtime residents definitely remember the tale of the Mercedez tanker which was “parked” on her beach for a number of months in the 80’s. At the center, we were given our final 3 tours of the day and I think they saved the best for last. The simulators which Brian Fuller runs are unbelievable. The whole time I was amazed that I kept hearing heavy breathing (at first I thought I was out of breath from walking up a flight of stairs) from the mannequin which sounded so realistic. A great way to train our first responders – rather they get it wrong on them and right on us. On to the diabetes center where they are literally changing lives with the work they are doing and the comprehensive medical care they are giving. From diagnosis, to social work to diet – lives are totally and positively impacted. Lastly was the CMS stop – I don’t know the words to describe how amazed I was that we can actually care for a child from birth through age 21. Not only that, but give them the support – mentally, physically, medically that they need to survive. CMS uses every resource within and from without to ensure our needy are being served in a first class manner. Victoria is an unbelievable example of how we can, with a little effort and support from the community at large, make dreams come true!!!
Thanks to all of our speakers, hosts and volunteers who made our day educational and enjoyable. Special thanks to Eugenia, Robi and Melanie who put in so much time and effort planning every minute of the day (and for getting Jersey Mike’s).
*****out to our cars ON TIME!!!!! Great job Dirty Thirty*******