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October 25, 2018

For Immediate Release:

Hospital Volunteer Programs Recognized for Commitment to Communities

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.—The Healthcare Association of New York State congratulates the three recipients of its 2018 Auxiliary and Volunteer Award: Claxton Hepburn Medical Center Auxiliary for its “Sock it to Me” program, John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital Auxiliary for its “Stone’s Buddies” program, and Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild for its “Treasures Consignment Boutique and Thrift Shop.” The awards were presented at HANYS’ 52nd Annual Conference for Healthcare Auxiliaries and Volunteer Leaders in Saratoga Springs.

“New York State’s auxiliaries are tremendous assets to our hospitals, providing countless hours of volunteerism, population outreach and advocacy,” said HANYS President Bea Grause. “HANYS appreciates the hard work of all our member auxiliaries and volunteers and their ongoing commitment to the health of all New Yorkers.”

HANYS established the Auxiliary of the Year Award to recognize numerous ways that auxiliaries help strengthen New York State’s healthcare system. This year, the award was presented to three auxiliaries that demonstrated outstanding achievement in community outreach, collaboration, partnerships, advocacy, fundraising and new initiatives within their communities.

Community Outreach Category Winner

“Sock it to Me” — Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Auxiliary, Ogdensburg

The Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Auxiliary introduced a new outreach project called “Sock-it-to-Me” to the Ogdensburg community in fall 2015 to ensure that all area families, especially children, had warm feet in the winter months. During its first year, the goal to collect 1,000 pairs of assorted socks within 30 days was exceeded, with well over 1,300 pairs of socks collected. The socks were sorted and distributed to several local agencies, including local elementary schools.

The Auxiliary placed decorated drop boxes and poster boards at a few different locations around the city, including local banks, and the main lobby and cafeteria at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. The Auxiliary worked with a local Girl Scout troop and collected socks at Wal-Mart and Kinney Drugs with the children. The Auxiliary also worked with other agencies such as the Salvation Army, Headstart, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s emergency department and the Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center.

Everyone benefits from this initiative; including the Medical Center, volunteers, the Girl Scouts, the schools, and of course the children who otherwise would not have socks to wear to school in the winter months. Several articles about this program have been published.

Hospital Services Category Winner

“Stone’s Buddies” — John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, Buffalo

Stone’s Buddies is a unique hospital service offered to the chronically ill pediatric patients at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. Founded in 2005 in memory of former patient and inspiration Stone Filipovich, the program provides a network of resources, support, friendship, and fun to the pediatric patients who regularly use the facilities, or as they are lovingly called, “frequent fliers.”

Stone Filipovich battled a highly aggressive brain tumor for most of his life. In spite of all his treatments and pain, his charismatic attitude and smile never faltered. The goal of Stone’s Buddies is to ensure that patients have a reason to smile by connecting them with others in similar circumstances, teaching them and their families coping strategies, and providing bridges between the families and those in the community who want to help.

These goals are achieved through three main avenues: monthly gatherings, community events, and family support services. At least once a month, the facility plans a Stone’s Buddies event or outing. Whether it be a pizza party in the New Era Pavilion, or a group trip to Fantasy Island, the hospital works to give children and their families an “escape” from stress. The program also offers family support services as a way to help ease stress and work through the emotional and social issues that accompany chronic conditions.

Stone’s Buddies brings a source of smiles for patients and families who continually have every reason not to smile. Stone’s Buddies creates a happier and healthier environment in the hospital for families. This program ensures that members have a way to build friendships and have fun, despite their chronic conditions.

Fundraising Category Winner

“Treasures Consignment Boutique and Thrift Shop” — Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild

The Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild operates Treasures Consignment Boutique and Thrift Shop as a service to Saratoga Hospital. Implicit in every transaction at Treasures is the goal of service to the Saratoga Hospital community. This service takes the form of financial pledges, years and hours offered by volunteers, support for community agencies and those they serve through the voucher system and daily acts of compassionate customer service.

Supplying recycled clothes, shoes, hats, and coats to inpatients, outpatients, community health center clients or any of the 35 agencies with whom Treasures cooperates is impactful in a personal way that cannot always be quantified. Successfully bringing a smile to the face of a destitute customer needing clothing or housewares is rewarding and an honor, often witnessed solely by the volunteer who helped that guest. Donating the clothing of a lost loved one to Treasures is part of a healing process, the tears of that grieving donor seen solely by a compassionate volunteer. What can be counted is inspiring. For instance, through its voucher system, Treasures served more than 600 clients in 2017 by giving out recycled merchandise valued at $92,000. This voucher system donation amount and number of clients served increase every year, with the 2018 valuation projected to be $102,000.

The Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild raises $160,000 annually through Treasures alone. Treasures profits, when combined with those of the Guild-run Hospital Gift Shoppe and other Guild fundraisers, resulted in the donation of more than $3 million to Saratoga Hospital.

In addition, clients of more than 35 agencies in the greater Saratoga Hospital region are recipients of donated goods from Treasures. Treasures helps nurture and foster the growing hospital community through its nimble, proactive and responsive retail fundraising initiatives.

The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) is the only statewide hospital and continuing care association in New York State, representing non-profit and public hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and other healthcare organizations.