When you think of the Foundation at West River Health Services, you probably think of an organization that wants you to consider giving them a financial gift to help improve our local healthcare services.
By TED UECKER
When you think of the Foundation at West River Health Services, you probably think of an organization that wants you to consider giving them a financial gift to help improve our local healthcare services. You are right. And we are extremely grateful for all of the over $1,000,000 in gifts we have received over the past two years. But we have also started coming through with giving some of your gifts back to our area local communities. In this case, “paying it forward” so to speak, to our local youth.
A recent example of our giving ability is shown through our distribution of net funds from our annual “Fun Run & Walk.” The WRHS Foundation has orchestrated this 4th of July event for 28 straight years. Historically, we have netted from $500 to $2,000 per year from runner/walker registration fees and sponsorships. And we’ve mainly placed these net profits back into West River Health Services and Western Horizons Living Centers – almost exclusively toward health and wellness projects at our Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. In the past two years, we have added a sensational raffle ticket program and more sponsors, netting us almost $3,800 in 2015 and over $5,700 in 2016! Although, we have still placed almost half of these funds toward health and wellness programs at WRHS and WHLC (this year alone, we gave $800 to our Partners In Health Program and $500 each to our Rehab Center, West River Ambulance, Western Horizons Care Center and Western Horizons Assisted Living Center), we have also started giving over half of our net proceeds back to our local community – mainly to kids.
For example, last year and this year, we made $600 and $500 gifts respectively to the Hettinger Food Backpack Program. This program, coordinated through Feeding America out of Fargo, makes sure that any of our area youth who need extra food, receive it for the weekends. Kathy Jahner, Christi Schmitz and Joy Laufer are leading the charge with the Hettinger Food Backpack Program. Every student in the Hettinger Public School system from pre-school through 12th grade, receives an application for their parents to complete at the beginning of the school year. Not returning completed applications to the school has been the main hindrance of more children not receiving these food backpacks in their lockers every Friday. Every part of this program is handled very privately. The main idea is to provide our local children with enough to eat on the weekends. The state has reported that nearly 160 children in Adams County might need such a program, but still only 20-40 applications are received each year.
In keeping with our “Fun Run & Walk” mission of giving funds to health and wellness activities, our committee decided to give $1,500 to the Hettinger Park Board for next summer’s youth baseball and girls softball programs. In addition, WRHS has offered to instruct local youth on sunscreen protection and possibly even acquire sunscreen dispensers for the dugouts. The Hettinger Park Board mentioned they might have a summer program registration meeting at the onset of their summer programs, which might be the perfect time for WRHS sunscreen instruction. WRHS suggested the $1,500 in funds be utilized for hats and visors, or maybe even helmets, for the children. However, if the leaders of the programs believe the funds could be better utilized in a better way, that’s up to them.
In addition, the Foundation gave $500 to the Hettinger Park Board summer swimming program. It was suggested that swim caps with TEAM USA on the side (didn’t you all just see the Olympics?!). Or maybe the funds could be used to help kids who can’t afford swimming lessons or open swimming passes. But, if the leaders of the swimming program believe there might be a better use of the funds, that’s all good. Again, we would like them to consider a prevention orientation with WRHS personnel regarding sunscreen protection for their youth swimmers.
The Fun Run & Walk Committee designated $227 for the ice and water provided for the local Little League Baseball Tournament this past July. On that 100 degree day in July, new WRHS CEO Matt Shahan suggested that we provide the ice and water in huge coolers just outside each of the four dugouts for both days of the tournament. We did just that! The young 10-12 year olds appreciated the cool water, as did their parents.
Lastly, the WRHS Foundation also gave $200 each of the last two years to the new home of the Fun Run & Walk – The Granary. This unbelievable volunteer-led restoration of the old granary building, located down by Mirror Lake Park, has been a huge asset for numerous community events. In the event of inclement weather, we can get our runners and walkers indoors. Plus, it is a terrific place for us to register our participants and keep all of our paperwork out of the weather. Thank you to the Hettinger Park Board and the many volunteers who stepped up and created such a useful, large meeting area for our community.
There’s no doubt that over the last two years, the Foundation at West River Health Services has made a concerted effort to reach out to our area communities. We believe that as our community supports us, we must also support them back
Until next time, onward! Every Patient. Every Day. No Matter What. West River Health Services.
We’re here for you.