New Year's resolutions get mixed reviews, right?. Research has shown that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months. While this may not seem a topic directly relevant to the C4H project, each year during this process of making and (sometimes) keeping resolutions I am reminded of a guiding mantra: Be the change you wish to see in the world.
As we step into February, let's continue doing just that. We saw the numbers from the end of year newsletter where we met with over 200 people, made over 700 referrals and 800+ follow-up phone calls and emails. We were able to help people with things such as food insecurity, access to safe, decent housing, and finding a job (and - hopefully - earn a living wage). These are interchangeably the three needs that rise to the top for the people who we meet.
So let's talk about food for a moment. Along with being able to connect clinic patients and library patrons with food pantries in their neighborhoods and the Produce to People program, we will also be piloting an initiative with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to address emergency food needs. Beginning in February the Birmingham Clinic will have emergency food boxes on site. Patients coming to clinic for their medical needs will also be screened for food security, and those who voice having emergency food needs will be provided with one of the boxes along with a plan for securing food beyond what the box provides.
It is through partnerships like this with the clinic and food bank that we are able to be part of a change in our community. And while it is a small effort to begin with, to the individuals and families receiving these boxes there is nothing small about it. For many we hope this helps bridge an emergency while we get them connected with their local pantry for a more short-term sustainable solution, while continuing our work with them to address other areas such as income or benefit concerns, or employment.
While initiatives like this come together by design, sometimes things just work out in a way that's, well, synchronistic maybe. Our partnership with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has been wonderful on so many levels, not the least of which has been an unforeseen relationship we've had the privilege of building with Arlette Martin with PA CareerLink. Arlette is a Special Projects Employment Specialist with CareerLink, and holds hours at CLP Downtown & Business three days per week - witch overlaps when the Fellows are onsite! This has been a mutually beneficial relationship: we have been able to connect job seekers directly with her, and she has been able to connect people with non-employment related social determinant needs with us.
And speaking of the Fellows, beginning the Fall 2018 term Univ. of Pitt students will be able to apply for course credit as part of the Fellowship. C4H recently established an agreement with the Sociology Department where student's attending Pitt can enroll in SOC 1900 and elect to take a one, two, or three credit internship. This is really wonderful news, and hopefully plans with Duquesne Univ. and possibly CMU will follow a similar path!
It's exciting as we step into a new year, and looking forward to having some small role in bridging the gap that gives way to disparities and inequities in our community. What thoughts do you have for being a change you wish to see?