That’s What Friends are For: Friends of Memorial Volunteers Provide Education, Outreach

Coakley-Lisa-FriendsFriends of Memorial is a volunteer group that has supported Memorial Medical Center in its mission to improve the health of the people and the communities it serves for more than 35 years. To support the work of the hospital, Friends helps Memorial take its services into the community through outreach programs, continuing education, health promotions and disease prevention.

Lisa Coakley has been on the Friends of Memorial board for 19 years. In her years with Friends, she has helped with the group’s popular Babysitting Clinic, composed its quarterly newsletter, been treasurer (a few times), been a director-at-large, served as vice president of education and membership, and volunteered in a variety of roles for the annual Festival of Trees event as co-chair of design, president and chair of the Holiday Market.

“My husband works in the Radiology department and so I initially had that connection to the hospital. I stayed with it because Memorial is a great organization and does a lot for the community,” Lisa said.

In addition to her work at Memorial, Lisa, who has four daughters and one grandson, is very involved with other organizations in the community. She said she has remained involved with Friends of Memorial for so many years because she believes it is important for healthcare organizations to reach out to the community, and she has a passion for education.

“Friends has changed a lot over the years – and we adapt to the community’s health needs as they arise,” she said. “We are part of Memorial’s mission and have an obligation to improve the health of our neighbors and friends in this community.”

ScrubsLisa used the SCRUBS program, which provides middle school students hands-on experience with various health professions, as an example of how Friends developed a program in response to an identified need at Memorial. The group had already held a program in which children received a hospital tour, but it became apparent that additional education was needed to help give young people exposure to the medical field as a career option.

Friends specifically designed SCRUBS to introduce students to the spectrum of career opportunities healthcare offers. The program has enjoyed great success for several years.

“Friends is responsive; Memorial expresses a need and we meet it,” Lisa said. And as a result of the talent and time of people like Lisa Coakley, Friends of Memorial can make a real difference in the health and well-being of our neighbors and community.

Friends of Memorial always welcomes new members. If you would like to join or want more information about the events Friends sponsors, call 217-788-3352. Coming up soon is our popular babysitting clinic, open to children age 11 and older, from 8:45 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 6. Visit Memorial’s online calendar of events or call 217-788-3333 to register.