CHI’s 50th birthday year is all about full circle moments. Fifty years ago, an immigrant farmworker and activist Doris Ison had a vision to provide affordable, quality care to all. With the support of donors and the community, Community Health of South Florida, Inc. has been able to achieve this vision, expanding its services and changing people’s lives along the way.
This was especially true during CHI’s virtual White Coat Ceremony on June 23. One incoming resident, Dr. Yeily Hernandez-Mato, had been in a terrible car accident as a homeless 18-year-old. When she was released from the hospital four months later, Hernandez and her mother had nowhere to go. With no money or insurance for care, they went to CHI, where the doctors took care of them, allowing Hernandez to make a full recovery. From that day on, Hernandez vowed to walk in her doctors’ footsteps, a dream that was fulfilled when she finally donned on her white coat. She now has the opportunity to pay it forward to the new generation of CHI patients.
Hernandez’s story is a testament to the power of donations. Every donation to Community Health of South Florida not only helps the organization deliver health care to South Florida but, more importantly, it empowers the community to achieve their dreams and goals.
To listen to Hernandez’s full story on NBC 6 here.
In order to be responsive to the needs caused by the pandemic, the Foundation created the COVID-19 Relief Fund, giving it the opportunity to expand its geographic limitations and include more neighbors than its annual program. For this, it needed a partner that was rooted in the community, so the Foundation reached out to CHI. The result: a $42,848 grant for COVID-19 vaccinations in south Miami-Dade and Monroe counties with a focus on vulnerable populations.
“CHI was the ideal partner for what we wanted to achieve with this particular vaccination grant. The many locations in the Keys and Homestead are perfectly aligned with our interest areas, and CHI is well-positioned to reach those most in need as a trusted messenger,” said Yurianna Mikolay, Executive Director of Ocean Reef Community Foundation. “While we were also funding larger mass vaccination efforts, CHI helped us to complement the big events by reaching those who couldn’t access them for a variety of reasons.”
CHI and Ocean Reef Community Foundation made COVID-19 vaccines available through a series of small to medium-scale vaccination events at Marathon, Tavernier, Florida City, Homestead, Naranja, Goulds, and Perrine. It is also collaborated with other organizations to ensure key neighborhoods are vaccinated. Ultimately, the project allowed CHI to administer 2,258 vaccines to individuals in need.
“The driving force behind this effort was our desire to help remove barriers and get as many people as possible vaccinated, leaving no one behind. No one is really safe until everyone is safe,” said Mikolay. “CHI helped provide the opportunity to many who would not have had it without this grant. We couldn’t ask for a better partner and we’re grateful for CHI’s expertise and reach.”
The success of our 50th birthday celebrations continues to lift us up and drive CHI forward. We held our first Donor Recognition Event, where we inducted more than 80 donors into CHI’s Giving Societies with cumulative giving between $1,000 to over $300,000. Thank you to our inductees for believing in CHI. If you missed our event, you can watch it by visiting www.chsiouthffl.org/givingsocieties.
The event was made extra special with the announcement of a $50,000 gift from Direct Relief. Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization active in all 50 states and in 80 countries, dedicated to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. In the past, Direct Relief has been instrumental in helping CHI acquire our Medical Mobile Van and PPE for our medical teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, their $50,000 grant will help CHI continue providing quality care to the South Florida community. We are very grateful to the Direct Relief team for their support.
With less than $1 million away from our goal, our Children’s Crisis Center capital campaign is nearing the finish line – but not before we enjoy a few more festivities! Join us on our special birthday year for a variety of exciting events and fundraising initiatives. On September 25, we’re hosting our Golden Legacy 50th Anniversary Gala, complete with dancing, food, and incredible milestones. On October 7, we invite you to bring your ‘A’ game to our annual Glen Rice Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Biltmore Hotel Golf Course. All proceeds will go toward helping children with severe mental illness via our Children’s Crisis Center. To sponsor or buy your tickets to these events, visit chisouthfl.org/gala or chisouthfl.org/golf.
If you can’t make our events, there are plenty of other ways to give. Participate in CHI’s Happy Birthday Campaign, where every gift received this year, no matter the amount, is recognized on our Birthday Wall at Doris Ison Health Center and on our website. You can also design your own brick with a special message that will be laid at the entrance of the Children’s Crisis Center to welcome all who come for care. To donate, please visit our website at chisouthfl.org/give.
By Dr. Stanley Sack, Pediatrician at the Marathon Health Center
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) appointed a Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) team member to its national board. Eunice Hines, Director of Migrant Health and Outreach Services, said she is excited to serve in this capacity.
Hines has been with CHI since 2007, ensuring the migrant and homeless community receives adequate health and social services.
“As part of the NHCHC board, I will work to improve homeless health care through training assistance, sharing best practices, and uplifting the voices of people experiencing homelessness.”
Hines has facilitated numerous efforts at CHI to assist the homeless community in South Florida.
Hines oversees CHI’s Mobile Medical Van and outreach team designated to provide greater access to care in the community. The van visits local homeless camps every week to provide primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health services, and other resources.
“The mobile medical van has reached people experiencing homelessness who have not been to the doctor in years,” said Hines. “Some were diagnosed and treated for chronic illnesses.”
Despite the trying times, CHI was also able to offer COVID-19 testing in homeless encampments within the community and is expecting to do the same with the vaccine distribution.
“We are always looking for different ways to help our community,” said Hines. “We even provided care packs filled with personal supplies.”
If health centers are the chemistry for strong communities, then patients are the elements that keep them bonded together. Community Health of South Florida (CHI) understands that without the patients, it would not be the organization it is today. To show appreciation, CHI wants to celebrate patients and staff during National Health Center Week (NHCW).
“National Health Center Week (NHCW) is an annual celebration that raises awareness about the mission and accomplishments of community health centers across the nation. It is an opportunity for the organization to celebrate the commitment and work of our staff, the support of our community partners, and the loyalty of our patients,” says Carol Blackwell-Curry, CHI Director of Volunteer Services and Event Coordination.
CHI’s National Health Center Week will be filled with special events for the community. Each day is focused on service and gratitude. During NHCW, August 8-14, CHI will reach all parts of the community, including public housing, agricultural workers, and the homeless population. CHI will also thank patients for 50 years of loyalty on their very own Patient Appreciation day. On Saturday, August 14th, CHI will host a family-friendly drive-in movie night that is open to the public. Upon entry, each car will be given movie snack bags and backpacks with school supplies.
CHI also plans to show appreciation to its devoted and compassionate staff. The care team works cooperatively all year to provide high-quality health care, improve health outcomes, and narrow health disparities.
“We thank all of you for trusting us with your healthcare needs for 50 years,” said Blake Hall, CHI President. “We also thank our staff for the hard work and dedication that you put in day in and day out providing quality care to South Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.”
NHCW activities build on CHI’s past while celebrating and getting ready for its future.
Health in Public Housing Day
8/9 – CHI delivers school supplies to the community.
Agricultural Worker Day
8/10 – CHI visits Centro Campesino Farmworkers Center to deliver Care Packs with school supplies to families.
Patient Appreciation Day
8/11 – CHI thanks its patients for 50 years of loyalty.
Stakeholder Appreciation Day
8/12 – CHI delivers plaques to Miami-Dade and Monroe police and community partners.
Healthcare for the Homeless Day & Staff Appreciation Day
8/13 – CHI delivers backpacks with supplies to the homeless and honors its amazing staff.
Children & Youth Day
8/13 – CHI hosts Drive-In Movie Night from 7PM to 10PM.
Another special event that CHI has in store is School Physical Day. CHI will provide affordable school and sports physicals as well as free vaccinations on Saturday, August 21st, so students can get back to school healthy and safe. Events like this help to eliminate barriers to care.
School Physicals $35 | Sports Physicals with EKG $50 and without EKG $35