In a recent column I referenced the phrase “doctors save lives but the Kiwanis Family House saves families”. To me, these few simple words capture the essence of what the Kiwanis Family House is all about; they bring our Mission Statement and Vision Statement into focus and translate the role served by Kiwanis Family House into action.
Guests of the Kiwanis Family House don’t have to worry about daily necessities such as having a safe place to stay, access to kitchen and laundry facilities as needed, and being close to the hospital facility. This frees them to focus on their medical needs or the treatment of a family member. Theses services are critical to serving the families staying at the facility but they are only a portion of what is provided by the Kiwanis Family House.
In addition to providing the tangible essential things mentioned above, the Kiwanis Family House provides a place to gain relief and rest from the stress and apprehension associated with personally receiving, or seeing a loved one receive, life-saving medical treatment. The respite which the facility offers would not be possible without the efforts of the caring and empathetic staff working at the facility. In addition to the Executive Director and Operations Manager, the facility currently has five permanent staff and six or seven part-time employees who work various hours weekly. Without exception and on a consistent basis every one of the staff take the time to talk, or in many cases just listen, to guests as they share their stories. It is not uncommon for guests to “hang-out” in the front lobby area during the evening to talk with the employee staffing the registration desk rather than stay in their room, often alone, and watch television. Having someone to converse with provides the guest a few minutes of normalcy in a time of uncertainty and is an intangible benefit which the Kiwanis Family House provides. This culture of caring and spirit of lovingkindness occurs daily. The empathy and dedication displayed by staff at the facility is a testimony to the outstanding people, at all levels, who work at the facility and is in addition to their normal assigned duties and areas of responsibility.
Another resource available to guests served by the Kiwanis Family house is provided by Reverend Ron Beams. Ron serves as the volunteer chaplain for the facility. In this capacity for the past three and a half years, he normally visits with guests twice a week at the facility plus he is on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week as may be needed. It goes without saying that the service he offers is a very valuable resource for guests. Prior to moving to the Sacramento area from Southern California, Ron served as a chaplain for the City of Hope and East Lawn Mortuary. A long time Kiwanian as a member of the Kiwanis club of Glendale, Ron is now a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Sacramento.
Past President of Kiwanis International Dr. John Button and others in the medical community have stated that when one member in a family is ill, the whole family is ill and the whole family needs to be cared for. Doing so speeds the healing process by reducing the “stress response” connected to an injury or illness. The Kiwanis Family House is making an important contribution in this area and thanks to the ongoing efforts of our employees and with your ongoing support, will continue to do so.