COMMUNITY: This is a word used very commonly, especially in the smaller towns across our country. What does it really mean? I am sure that there are as many definitions as there are people in this room. Some of my thoughts are;
• Community is a group of people working together towards a common goal who have similar beliefs and wish to help each other.
• Community is a group of people with diverse characteristics linked by social ties, which shares common perspectives and engages in joint action.
• Community is a group of people who are friends or neighbours that lean on each other and are there for each other in times of need.
April celebrates volunteer recognition week in Canada and Temiskaming Hospital is pleased to have this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the volunteers who make the operation of our hospital possible. Whether your volunteering is in fundraising, the gift shop, day medicine, physiotherapy, hair styling, the clinics, OR, ER, the activity room or other areas, each contribution is significant for it is what makes a community a community. Temiskaming is truly a community and is blessed with many individuals who wish to make this area a better place to live, help each other in times of need and are willing to work collaboratively towards a common goal.
Temiskaming Hospital benefits from close to 100 volunteers and your dedication to our patients and to the operating of the hospital is duly noted and gratefully appreciated. I only learned, after joining the Board, that the MOHLTC does not fund the purchase of equipment but expects the hospital to pay for it through local fundraising. This year the Auxiliary donated close to $34,000 dollars to our Care Close to Home Campaign allowing the provision of equipment that is essential to the care of patients in our community. Wheelchairs, vital signs monitor, bassinets for obstetrics, gynecology stretcher, a narcotic vault and an Airvo-High Flow oxygen therapy equipment are a few of the pieces made available through the Auxiliary donation. Of course, the Care Close to Home Campaign is ongoing with the ambitious goal of 6.5 million dollars. It is about half way towards its goal, I believe, and will allow us to replace this year some dated equipment essential to patient care such as two new digital x-ray suites. It does not matter how big or small any contribution is for, at the end of the day, it all adds up and results in the whole being bigger than the sum of the parts. Truly a community rallying in times of need.
In addition, the bursaries awarded to our local graduates continuing their studies in health care is both visionary and effective in recruiting and retaining practitioners for our community.
I think that you are hearing my message for this year, community. It is a common thread through all the activities mentioned before and I would like to close with a few other comments on community and volunteering.
• Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively to address issues affecting the community or group.
• Volunteering has been shown to increase one’s self esteem, decrease stress, develop new skills and ease depression.
• The more we give the happier we feel and, by giving through volunteering, we increase our self-confidence concurrently doing good for others and the collective (community). This all results in a sense of accomplishment.
Your spirit of volunteerism and your sense of community is duly recognized. Every effort you have put towards the functioning of the hospital has been of great significance in delivering quality patient centered care close to home. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to offer you, the volunteers, a much appreciated thank you.