Dedicated volunteers in our community feed the hungry, maintain parks, advocate for family-centered care and much more.
On April 27, exceptional individuals who make a difference were honored at Christiana Care’s Champions of Service Awards reception at the John H. Ammon Medical Educational Center.
“All of are you extraordinary volunteers who have done amazing things in supporting our community,” said Mike Eppehimer, senior vice president of Christiana Care’s service line operations.
The Community Hero award went to Amanda Sleeper, Ph.D., who began her volunteer work following a less-than-ideal Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) experience with her second child. She hoped volunteering would help other NICU parents have a more positive experience.
Sleeper is program chair of the Women and Children’s Advisory Council and serves on the Christiana Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council, the NICU Cuddlers and on various NICU committees focused on patient- and family-centered care and quality improvement.
She and the NICU clinical team earned a Press Ganey Success Story Award in 2014 for improvements in patient satisfaction.
“Community is the key word in our presentation tonight,” said Drewry Nash Fennell, Esq., chief officer of strategic communication and development. “The Christiana Care Community Hero Awards honor ordinary individuals who do extraordinary things to selflessly benefit their community at large.”
In introducing the Jefferson Awards, Christopher Cowan, vice president of Human Resources operations, recognized Patricia Curtin, M.D., who last year was the national winner of the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service. Honored for her humanitarian work in Haiti, the geriatrician was the first Christiana Care employee to earn the national honor.
“The Jefferson Awards are inspiring and recognize employees who donate countless hours to the community,” Cowan said.
This year, four nominees received local Jefferson Awards:
Patricia Miller, PA-C, is co-founder of the nonprofit Kids Runway for Research, raising more than $80,000 for childhood cancer research at the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. More than 60 children now model clothes in the Runway for Research fashion show. Miller will represent Christiana Care in the upcoming national Jefferson Awards celebration.
Jennifer Henry, MSHI, BSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A, leads the Humble Helping Hands Initiative, which provides hot, home-prepared meals, winter coats and school supplies at area shelters and food kitchens.
Andres Moreira, MHA, has donated more than 2,500 hours to Greenwich Emergency Medical Services (GEMS), a not-for-profit organization that is the sole provider of emergency services to his home town of Greenwich, Connecticut, implementing a bilingual CPR and first-aid program. He is currently serving as senior adviser for the Explorer Post program at Christiana Care and oversees the logistics and operations.
Mary Stephens, M.D., MPH, volunteers with the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware. The mission of this nonprofit is to promote public awareness, education and support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. The association provides educational and social programming throughout the year, serving people of all ages with Down syndrome and their families, from the prenatal period and beyond.
It’s never too early to start serving others, said Margot Waitz, D.O., director of Osteopathic Education and Adolescent Medicine, introducing the award for Young Person Role Model.
“They recognize early the importance of living beyond themselves and sharing their gifts of time, effort and ingenuity with others,” Dr. Waitz said.
The winner, Ariana Gaston, volunteers with the Student Conservation Association, removing litter and maintaining trails at national parks. One of Ariana’s senior projects was working with elementary students to make “blessing bags” of personal hygiene products, socks and more. The bags are distributed to local shelters, as well as to Christiana Care’s forensic nursing team to support victims of sexual assault.
The awardees were selected by a volunteer panel of judges. In all, 22 volunteers were nominated. Also honored were Young Person Role Model nominees Janelly Abreu, Michael Flanagan, Meredith Friedland and Varsha Kripalu, Community Hero nominees Beth Emmons, Walter “Sonny” Graham, Tawanda Harbison, Dave Hasse, Nancy Hasse, Barbara Hayes, Gail Heath, Laura Robelen and Barbara Tevebaugh, and Jefferson Awards nominees Jonathan Berrios, Danielle Brown, MSW, and Natalie Dyke.