Grant aids jesuit volunteers’ health care work in c.o. – ktvz electricity videos for students

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Beginning in August 2017, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest implemented a new health-focused volunteer community in Central Oregon aimed at meeting the health care needs of disadvantaged individuals in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties.

“The OCF grant has been an essential funding source for the establishment and sustainability of the JV community in Central Oregon,” said JVC Northwest Executive Director Jeanne Haster. “Until this year, our program coordinators for all our JV communities have been based in Portland, with travel to the local JV communities. OCF has enabled us to explore the benefits of a locally based staff person supporting the Jesuit Volunteers in Central Oregon. Now we are able to leverage additional support both locally and from donors who want to invest in this model of community health outreach.”

Program Coordinator Monica Desmond, whose position is funded by the grant, underscored that the support allows JVC Northwest to implement a locally-driven process, ensuring JVs are responding directly to the needs of the Central Oregon community. Desmond oversees the four JVs in Central Oregon, and believes that living in the community she is serving makes a big difference.

Deschutes County Health Services is one of the local partner agencies benefiting from a JV this year. Erin Hoar serves as both the supervisor for JV Olivia Spadola and as Regional Prenatal Care Coordinator for DCHS, helping the pregnant population in Central Oregon engage with services and get care. Hoar was a JV through JVC Northwest in 2000, when she was placed at DCHS before becoming a full-time employee for the department. She graduated from college with a degree in health, education and psychology, and didn’t know where or how to put it to use. She learned about the program when she went to a jobs fair while in college.

While Hoar gets to experience JVC Northwest as a supervisor, Spadola is just beginning her journey after graduating with a degree in nursing from Boston College last spring. Now a registered nurse, she decided to volunteer a year of her time with JVC Northwest.

“It’s a natural option for me. I can give back to underserved communities and become fully immersed in a new community like Bend,” said Spadola. “I was initially drawn to JVC Northwest because of the pillars of their program, including spirituality, simple living and social justice.”

According to Spadola, her position is helping to meet those community needs because of her ability to extend services out into the community and address barriers that aren’t always recognized for clients, things that sometimes inhibit clients from accessing care.

“Monica is an incredible support system for us. I got to Bend and she was already here and well connected in the field of work we were entering. She is personally supportive and professionally supportive. It has been really valuable to have her input,” explained Spadola.

After work each day, Spadola goes to her Bend home, where she lives in community with the three other JVs doing diverse work in health-related positions around Central Oregon. Each JV serves different needs for various groups of unserved and underserved communities in the area. The four volunteers and their organization are passionately committed to their work, and “even when we aren’t at our respective offices, we live and breathe our work, together,” says Spadola.