The history of local Providence volunteer programs
In 1995, Providence Newberg Hospital – now Providence Newberg Medical Center (PNMC) –launched “Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers,” a community outreach program. Providence and its partners, the Newberg Ministerial Association and George Fox University, developed a collection of volunteer programs which came to be known as “Faith in Action” (FiA). Since then, the program has provided more than 100,000 hours of free volunteer services to older adults, children who experience special health needs and the families who care for them.
The goal of Faith in Action is to enable these special citizens to thrive in their own homes and local communities – thus deferring placement in institutions like assisted care facilities. To fulfill this goal, FiA matches families with specially trained, screened volunteers who spend time in the recipient’s home to help like a caring relative would – if one lived nearby.
The program is funded by grants, contracts, coalition members, fundraising events, appreciative recipients, in-kind gifts, PNMC and Providence Newberg Health Foundation.
Living the Providence Mission
PNMC’s leadership quickly recognized the work of FiA closely paralleled Providence’s own mission: “As people of Providence, we reveal God’s love for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, through our compassionate service.” Through the generosity and foresight of Providence Newberg, FiA steadily grew to serve the communities surrounding PNMC and the Sherwood Clinic.
Historically, Faith in Action’s vision and subsequent expansions were funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropic organization dedicated to public health. Faith in Action used the RWJF model and criteria to coordinate volunteer caregivers and develop research-based programs such as “Strong for Life” and “Family Friends” to help meet identified health needs in the communities it served.
A new strategic alliance
In 2014, Providence Newberg Medical Center’s Volunteer Services and Faith in Action programs joined together to coordinate all volunteers serving through Providence Newberg. The leaders drafted a revised charter and member covenant and adopted a new name, “Community Connections”, to reflect the full scope of this new partnership.
Community Connections now operates the Faith in Action coalition and several volunteer programs, which fall into four key categories:
1. Medical center volunteers
2. Aging services and family caregivers
3. Children and family services
4. Health and fitness programs
Every three years, Providence identifies community needs through an assessment and planning process. Then, the efforts of Community Connections and the Faith in Action coalition are expanded and aligned with these updated needs to build greater capacity to care for the community’s most vulnerable neighbors within the focus areas above.
Celebrating 20 years of service to Newberg
In 2015, the Faith in Action coalition celebrates 20 years of volunteer service to area residents. We are committed to build on our valued relationships with local faith communities, business and industry and service agencies to create a caring and collective impact on local health by utilizing the talent of faithful volunteers. As always, our goal is to serve even more people in need.
Community Connections recruits, screens and trains people – from all walks of life – who wish to live out their personal faith and values through volunteerism. For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Community Connections at 503-537-1549.