The Inpatient Rehab unit of Southern Ohio Medical Center is taking service beyond the doors of the hospital and into the community.
“For the past two years, we’ve been actively supporting and participating in a variety of service projects throughout our local area,” Belinda Diles, program director of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “We started helping as a way to achieve personal performance goals, but that quickly evolved into something much larger and more important.”
Staff members annually participate in, and donate toward, various local projects. Over the past year, the unit has been involved in 11 charitable programs including coat drives for homeless shelters, food pantries, filling Christmas wish lists for under-privileged children and walking in the annual SOMC Hike for Hospice.
Every year, each Inpatient Rehab staff member chooses a local project that is related to his or her individual interests, such as education or youth involvement, Diles explained. The department then participates in the program on a group level.
“We always pick projects that make a difference in the lives of our community members and allow all of us to participate in some way or another,” Michelle Lumpkins, occupational therapist at SOMC, said. “We try to choose things that we know will directly impact others while giving us a chance to step outside of our everyday job duties.”
The most recent program the department participated in was a “Back to School” project, created to help area students. Staff members chose 14 students from surrounding local schools and gave them each a backpack filled with all the school supplies they would need for the new school year.
“Everyday we’re given the opportunity to help patients inside our hospital, but it’s also important that we venture into our community to try to help everyone else,” Lumpkins said. “We do everything we can to give to others and hopefully we’ll be able to continue devoting our time and help to the community for years to come.”