News

Employee Giving: Eva Peroulas

 

For Eva Peroulas, assisting others is second nature. Working in labor and delivery for over 20 years at SCH, Eva has helped hundreds of new mothers and their families through good times and challenging situations. Eva has also been an enthusiastic supporter of Employee Giving for over 10 years. When asked why she gives, her generous spirit shines through, “It makes me happy to know that I can help others both in my professional and personal life. I admire and respect what the Foundation does for our patients and our community through the hospital’s programming.”

Eva sees first-hand, the impact of her donations on patients throughout the hospital. Last year, for example, her donation supported the Newborn Safe Sleep Initiative in the Family Birthing Center. As Eva explains, “I have witnessed the tears of a new mother who lost a daughter to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Because of the Foundation, we are now able to keep babies safe by providing safe sleep sacks to their mothers. Something so simple that can prevent tragedy yet something that not every new mother can afford to buy.”

With a similar desire to help her patients, Eva has also supported victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking through SCH’s Violence Prevention Program.  Knowing that domestic violence has become an enormous public health concern, and that 4-8% of all pregnant women are suffering domestic abuse during their pregnancy, Eva felt compelled to support the work of our staff to assist these survivors of abuse. This year, Eva’s donation is helping SCH enhance the Healing Garden with a proposed area for quiet reflection and mourning for new parents.

Eva demonstrates such a passionate commitment to her patients and the hospital’s mission, that she is a current member of the President’s Society for years. The President’s Society is comprised of donors whose annual support of $1,000 or more help us provide the safest, highest quality of care for our diverse community. Membership in the President’s Society offers special benefits including access to the latest hospital news, invitations to special events (such as the President Society Dinner on Sept 4, 2019) and the knowledge that you are providing hope and healing for all our patients regardless of their ability to pay.

There are a variety of ways in which to donate; from direct donations of cash or credit cards, to payroll deductions, and PTO hours.  For Eva, helping others is empowering; as she explains, “Having the power to improve the lives of others reinforces my own personal values and fulfills my moral duties and ethical beliefs.”  To learn more about making a donation or becoming a Present Society Member please contact foundation@swedishcovenant.org or (773) 293-5121

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SCHNAA Reunion Attracts Record Turnout

 

In celebration of all our nurse alumnae, with a special honor to the 50th anniversary of the school’s last graduating class (1969), a lovely luncheon was held at nearby St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and hosted by the SCH Foundation.  The Winona building, which is located adjacent to the church parking lot, was originally the nursing dormitory building.  Many of the nurse alumnae were delighted to finally enter the church after 50+ years, as most of them looked out at it daily from their dorm windows to view weddings and celebrations.

This final reunion was organized by the SCHNAA Board: Joan Bickner (’65), Sharon Eager (’63), Carol Olson (’61) and Susan Tanner (’68). Together, these women created an afternoon of friendship, fellowship, memories and entertainment. As Susan Tanner (’68) explains, “The Annual Luncheon has been an important event for our nurse alumnae. It marks a special time when we were young students; learning together, living together and sharing thousands of unique experiences and memories that could have only happened at Swedish Covenant Hospital.” Over 110 nurses and their spouses attended, creating one of those most well-attended reunions in recent memory and a wonderful send-off to the all-class annual gatherings.

During Nurse’s Week this past May, three nursing students were selected to receive the SCH Nurse Alumnae Association Scholarship Award. This year, SCHNAA Scholarships were presented to Kimberly Rosales, Olivia Mott and Aisha Abdallah.  In addition, the Virginia Ohlon Scholarship was awarded to Christina Venegas, a SCH nurse since 2012 and an MSN student. The scholarship was created by her fellow alumnae to honor her legacy of learning, teaching and caring.

To celebrate their 50th, the SCH nursing class of 1969, made a gift to Swedish Covenant, symbolizing their gratitude for the wonderful education they received and memories they shared.  They chose to support the hospital’s NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) carts initiative. These carts provide purposeful activities for elderly patients with cognitive impairments such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or delirium. The NICHE carts will greatly expand the choice of activities the nursing staff is able to offer patients, making it easier for them to care for this population.

We are grateful for the generosity of the nursing class of 1969 and our entire SCH Nursing Alumnae Association. Their dedication and commitment to the field nursing and service to others has been an inspiration, and their generosity through class gifts, scholarships and legacy gifts has changed lives of future nurses and patients for years to come. To view photos from the 2019 Reunion, please click here.

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The VNA Foundation Gives Hope to Victims of Human Trafficking

 

Imagine having such extreme dental issues that you are up all night in pain and can no longer smile in public. Then imagine that you have no insurance or money to pay for a visit to the dentist—where would you turn? The SCH Dental Clinic, established by the hospital’s Foundation in 2017 to help uninsured and low income patients who came to the Emergency Room looking for dental relief, will now cover the cost of dental care for survivors of interpersonal violence and human trafficking. Thanks to recent funding from The VNA Foundation, the Dental Clinic will be able to help more victims of human trafficking in our community. . This funding will complement grant support from the U.S. Department of Justice and Chicago Dental Society Foundation, as well as other donations from individual and corporate partners.

While dental care is often regarded as a low priority in the medical care of these individuals, to the survivor, it is essential for regaining their self-worth. The Dental Clinic’s Manager, Marilyn Richmond, echoes the importance of dental care in the lives on these patients,

“They come in with toothaches, facial swelling, infections and facial trauma. Most have not had their teeth cleaned in years and have many cavities. We want to get them back on the path to good oral health. After treatment, these patients are very appreciative, they are smiling and grateful.”

Dental care is critical for these survivors, yet seeing a doctor, let alone a dentist who is very close to the survivor’s face, can be triggering, over-whelming and fear-inducing. This is why it’s so important that dentists and their staff be trained on how to appropriately engage with survivors to make them feel comfortable and safe. The Clinic’s Dentist, Dr. John Laftsidis, and his office staff have all been trained on providing trauma-informed care to these patients so that they feel at ease with office visits and medical procedures. As Marilyn notes, “These patients come from difficult situations with a lot of trauma. They may be fearful of someone touching their face. With the specialized training that we’ve received, we begin to break down this wall with kindness and understanding.”

Dr. Laftsidis’ dental care is not only improving the overall health of these patients, but is also aiding their emotional and physiological well-being.  As Marilyn recounts, one patient came in with stained front teeth, many deep cavities and never smiled– she was in constant pain. After several office visits she now smiles. She is not only pain-free, but delighted with her new smile and her new life. As the Dental Clinic staff has witnessed, providing dental care to these survivors is life-changing for the patient.

Regaining a person’s oral health increases their self-worth, their ability to engage with others and provides renewed confidence in interviewing for employment.  As Marilyn notes, “We change people’s lives by allowing them to smile again. Once they get on a path to better oral health, their whole personality changes. I’ve seen it over and over again.” While dental care may seem like a small fraction of care in the grand scheme of treatment, it can serve as the gateway for many opportunities as survivors work towards a better life.

This life-changing program is made possible by donations to SCH Foundation. Every dollar makes a difference. For more information about donating to Swedish Covenant Health, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or foundation@swedishcovenant.org

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