Health and Human Services Day
March 6, 2015
Photos by Mary Kate McKenna, LFC Class of 2015
I have to admit that I went into Health and Human Services day expecting it to be pretty uninformative. Many of us have volunteered at the Frederick Rescue Mission before and another service project didn’t exactly sound like something new. I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the day which turned out to be much better than I thought it would be.
The day started out with a brief presentation by Josh Pederson of United Way about the role of nonprofits in our community. Every time I hear Josh speak I am impressed. He really seems to understand how a successful nonprofit should work. He explained that while many organizations take pride in a low overhead cost, that might not necessarily be a good thing. A zero percent overhead cost might mean that you are missing some important pieces, like a lawyer or an accountant.
We moved on to a panel discussion with some key players in the Frederick health community. I learned a little bit more about what the Department of Health does and I learned a great new term; NORC. “Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities” are popping up in Frederick, and healthcare providers are constantly looking for ways to better communicate with them.
We took part in a diversity activity and some seated yoga. I certainly saw the benefit of both of these activities, but I have to say they just weren’t for me. The next part of the day was my favorite part. We took a very brief tour of the hospital including peds, HBO and the cath lab. Throughout this experience, I have most enjoyed the parts of our leadership days that were completely new to me. I have only been in the hospital two or three times and had only seen a very small part of the facility. It was really interesting to see something so important that is right in my back yard that I had not paid much attention to before.
We headed to the Frederick Rescue Mission to participate in service projects and eat lunch. My group sorted clothing donations. I was happy to learn that all donations are reused or recycled in some way, nothing is ever just thrown in the trash. People can come and shop for free clothing once every 30 days, they only need to bring an ID. Some of our classmates served lunch, so we headed inside to try the food they were handling. They had a nice variety of items for people to eat. My only complaint here was that there were almost no healthy options at all. It was disappointing that the free meals we provide to our community encourage such terrible eating habits. As the day went on we learned about some of the nonprofits in our community. It seems like there is a big focus on poverty here. We also participated in a poverty simulation. I had done the simulation before and had learned that it is very difficult to get by on just the money you are given to start with. This time I started to steal money and goods from other people so that my family could survive. In the end, we still got evicted from our home. I guess that is the lesson, it is a real struggle to get by on just minimum wage with a family in Frederick.
I walked away from this day feeling like I had some good new information to think about. I just wish the weather had been a little bit warmer!
NOTE: A video slideshow of the day’s events can be found at this link:http://bit.ly/1Jkpo9d