Latest Community Life News
Sep 23, 2021
TribLIVE's Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox. Forbes Road Career and Technology Center in Monroeville was one of five schools to recently receive a donation from Community LIFE in an effort to facilitate teenage engagement in the healthcare field. Supplies donated to the school included stress balls, hand sanitizer, colored pencils, loose leaf paper and binders, and other school essentials. In addition to Forbes Road CTC, donations were made to the Mon Valley Career & Technology Center, Bedford County Technical Center, Somerset County Technology Center and Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center. “I was thinking they were showing up with two boxes and they asked if I had a cart,” said Megan H. Tomley, student services coordinator at Forbes Road CTC. “There were so many school supplies I had to get a cart. So, I was like, ‘Oh my, this is pretty amazing.’” The idea of a donation from Community LIFE, an organization which aims to help older adults stay healthy and at home with seven Health and Wellness Centers in four counties, was part of a program to help alleviate stress placed on healthcare workers during the pandemic. The program, PULSE, has been used for approximately a year to provide staff with self-care opportunities. PULSE, standing for taking care of yourself physically, nutritionally, socially, spiritually and emotionally, led to the idea that donations help those who give in addition to those who receive, Community LIFE behavioral health coordinator Lisa Jenkins said. The donation was initially meant to supply elementary schools. But Jenkins, who is Tomley’s sister, considered stories she had heard of high school students at Forbes Road CTC. “Pairing that with the fact that we could be making a difference, not only for the students, but for the healthcare profession, it seemed like a perfect fit,” Jenkins said. “The way that we billed it to our staff, we called it PROJECT IMPACT. … Said, ‘Impact the students of today. Impact the healthcare of tomorrow. Impact your health for a lifetime.’” Community LIFE began contacting seven different schools Aug. 20. The schools were chosen based on their location relative to Community LIFE’s eight adult day centers and two administrative locations. The five that responded received supplies. “The students, they were so excited,” Tomley said. “We had so many school supplies, we were actually able to, in addition to supplying our health science classes, we also extended that. That was the idea from Community LIFE. We also extended it for our emergency response service students. So, actually, three programs were able to benefit because we have so much.” Nora Lynn Spiri, human resources director at Community LIFE, said the donations could provide an avenue to connect further with the schools. “I am getting feedback from the schools and being contacted to help facilitate perhaps opportunities for their students to do on-site career days or maybe even, someday, recruitment projects,” Spiri said. “It’s a total full-circle community engagement project. We exceeded our expectations.” Community LIFE would like to continue donations in the future, Jenkins said. “One thing that this has done has really opened a door to hopefully building some relationship between Community LIFE and these schools,” Jenkins said. “Many of these teachers that I talked to had never heard of Community LIFE. … So, my hope is we were able to make a connection. “From talking with our HR director, there is a hope that we are able to cultivate a relationship and continue, whether that’s through continued donations or other opportunities for the students to connect with our staff and vice versa.” Wes Crosby is a Trib Total Media contributing writer. Support Local Journalism and help us continue covering the stories that matter to you and your community.