As I've discuss previously on my blog, I believe that giving back is an essential component of a meaningful and successful life. Identifying the causes that mean the most to us and doing our best to make a contribution opens us up to valuable new experiences and helps us create positive change in the world. Whether your passion is education, community outreach, or accessible health care, there are organizations in almost every community working hard every day and counting on the support of those around them to make a difference.
Alongside my work as a financial advisor, one of my passions is access to affordable, high quality healthcare and mental health services. There are many hard-working members of our communities who do not always possess the means to access vital health services and consultation. The Free Clinic of Simi Valley was founded to make those services accessible in my community, and I am honored to have served as its Treasurer for several rewarding years.
A Little Bit of History
The clinic was founded to satisfy a growing community need in the early 1970s. At that time, Ventura County Public Health provided no access to community services within 45 miles of most of its residents. Yet the population kept booming! The clinic responded by officially opening in 1971 and providing evening medical services twice a week, specifically tailored to teenage health issues and marital counseling.
When the clinic moved to a larger building in 1973, it became officially licensed and opened its doors five days a week. In addition, the counseling branch expanded due to significant demand. Twenty years, and many loyal volunteers later, the clinic expanded its charitable outreach by adding dentistry, legal services, more exam rooms, and a play area for children.
Programs, Outreach, and Accessible Care
Medical care offered at the Free Clinic of Simi Valley is all-inclusive. With an on-site pharmacy and a remarkable staff of volunteer registered care providers, the clinic offers their clients a one stop location for their health and pharmacy needs. However, the clinic doesn’t stop at just offering these services. It also partners with Kaiser Permanente to help provide second and third year medical students a chance to further their studies in clinical medicine. The services of Simi Valley Hospital are called on when particular laboratory tests are required. Volunteer practitioners, physicians, nurses, and physician assistants contribute to providing the means for underinsured and underserved Simi Valley residents to obtain these vital health services.
The clinic's truly extraordinary community outreach doesn’t end at providing medicine and consultation. The 2014 Community Healthy & Fitness Expo featured the Simi Valley clinic’s dentistry practice. The Tooth Fairy 5k/10k run had an amazing turn out, and the community came out in full force to help offer and exhibit healthy dental habits, while supporting a wonderful cause and spreading the message: affordable care, consultation, and representation is incredibly vital to the health of a community!
This year (2015) promises to be one of the clinics most ambitious years yet. This past Saturday, March 7, was “Make a Difference Day.” Local children were served by more than 25 volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants. Exams, cleanings, and various treatments were provided on a day dedicated to providing children and families the very best in dental education and consultation. The clinic strives to create and maintain relationships with community members from childhood into adulthood, supporting health and development at all stages of life.
Recognition of Important Work Done Well
It's been very exciting to see the great work of the Free Clinic of Simi Valley recognized, including being honored among the very top of its field by Great Nonprofits. I was also very pleased when the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics featured the clinic in its findings on uninsured Americans and the necessity of community care. A staggering 30 million Americans are under- or uninsured, highlighting the importance of organizations like this in every community.
My passion for giving back in my community is ignited by the hard work and dedication I witness in the staff and volunteers at work every day in the Free Clinic of Simi Valley. I am so proud to be able to contribute to the work that they do.
What issues are important to you and your community, and how do you give back? Join the conversation by tweeting @Lindsey2Wealth!