With back-to-school fever filling calendars and social media timelines, there’s no question – class is officially in session. And Rosemarie Cervantes, RN, clinical manager of the mother baby unit and interim manager of the Family Birth Center, Huntington Health, was inspired to help. “I was watching the news, and there was a story on how expensive school supplies are, especially backpacks,” said Rosemarie. “I love to give back to the community and get involved how I can and figured a back to-school drive would be a great way to help local kids in need.” Rosemarie rounded up the troops in the Family Birth Center and mother baby unit, including OB physicians, to organize Operation Backpack for underprivileged children in Los Angeles County. Naturally, team members wanted to give more, so they collected school supplies to fill the backpacks – from binders, paper and folders to markers, crayons, pencils and snacks.
In less than a week, they collected more than 60 backpacks, which Stephanie Boyd, PFC, and her two daughters stuffed to the brim with copious amounts of supplies. Attached to each backpack was a handwritten note that wished students a great year ahead. The backpacks were distributed to Crossroads of Southern California, which provides resources to underprivileged youth, and St. Gertrude’s church in Bell Gardens. Both organizations were recommended to Rosemarie by a formal spiritual care colleague Brother Richard Hirbe. This was the first back-to-school drive that Rosemarie organized at Huntington Health, with 167 team members participating. And it’s only the beginning. “I want to make this an ongoing thing – to find different ways for our employees to give back to the community,” shared Rosemarie. “I’m already thinking of holding a donation drive for prom dresses in the spring!”