As CityHeart expands our volunteer base we also expand the combined skills, knowledge and expertise of our ministry.
We are pleased to have welcomed our parish nurse as a CityHeart volunteer a few months ago and we are keeping an open mind on how her skills might impact the ministry. We have discussed the possibility of health screenings at CityHeart, but getting to know the daily operations and the people we serve is a critical first step in process. In the short term, individual visitors are benefiting from her presence and skill as the following example demonstrates the invaluable gift of time and sharing of resources.
Ryan came to CityHeart on a recent Monday morning and asked if we could help with a prescription. CityHeart can and will help to purchase a prescription or offer to help with co-pay if needed. But this situation would prove to be a great learning experience for our newer volunteer who is training to be a Resource Specialist. We begin by verifying if the client can be served by an existing local program. We know of at least two possible resource options for people who are homeless and/or un-insured needing health and pharmaceutical care in Dayton.
In listening to Ryan’s story, we learned he was just released from Miami Valley Hospital and has a blood clot, and was given a written prescription for a blood thinner. He quietly stated that he is homeless and has no money to pay for the medicine. He indicated he is staying at the Gateway homeless shelter.
First we asked if he had ever used the Samaritan Homeless Clinic and Ryan replied that he can’t go there because he doesn’t have a case manager. This was an incorrect assumption, but Ryan was confused, possibly developmentally delayed, and is not fully aware of his options. It is uncanny how so many people like Ryan who are confused or mentally ill – who have difficulty knowing what to do or where to turn for help – find their way to CityHeart tucked away in the basement of Christ Church. We believe it’s a God thing!
So we explained that the Samaritan clinic provides ongoing treatment for homeless persons and can usually prepare their prescriptions on-site, with transportation from the shelter provided. We also suggested that he could possibly have the prescription filled at the Reach-Out Pharmacy that offers both a clinic and prescription assistance for low-income and un-insured persons. Ryan agreed that we could make some contacts on his behalf.
Our health-minded volunteer confidently jumped into action and began checking the resource information we have on-hand in our office. Next she verified information on the respective clinic websites in attempting to determine the best course of action for Ryan. After making some phone calls, she confirmed that his prescription was unfortunately not on the formulary at Reach-Out Pharmacy. A new and different prescription would need to be written for them to serve Ryan. Since he came from the ER this did not seem like the best option.
In speaking with the people at Samaritan Homeless Clinic, the CityHeart volunteer found they were very interested in serving Ryan and asked if he could come in that afternoon. We verified he did not need a case manager to receive services. The CityHeart volunteer then carefully explained to Ryan what she had found out and he agreed to go. She gave him directions and a bus token to get to the clinic. She explained that a transport van makes two round-trips daily between the Gateway shelter and the homeless clinic. Samaritan would be able to fill his prescription and provide follow-up care as necessary. Ryan would get a ride back to the shelter in the late afternoon. Ryan was very appreciative for our help, happy to have a plan, and grateful that someone who took the time to care.
By capably and compassionately responding to Ryan’s immediate need, this new volunteer learned first-hand some of the resources that are available in the community. This type of on-the-job “training” that a Resource Specialist volunteer receives at CityHeart occurs on a daily basis. The situations may be different but the same lesson applies. We simply learn by doing and then we share what we have learned with those who need our help.
If you have compassion for others, a willingness to learn, and the aptitude to search potential resources, you too can become a CityHeart Resource Specialist! Step out in faith and use your talents to serve others through CityHeart.
For more information on volunteering as a Resource Specialist or greeting visitors as hospitality and Intake Specialist, please email CityHeart Director, Kris Sexton at: firstname.lastname@example.org