Meet groups that help the community at Do Gooders Open House

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published May 3, 2019

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MADISON HEIGHTS — There are many groups in the city of Madison Heights that try to make a difference. At an upcoming event, attendees will be able to meet these do-gooders — and maybe even be inspired to join them.

The first ever Do Gooders Open House will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. May 11 at the Madison Heights Public Library, 240 W. 13 Mile Road. The public is invited to learn more about groups such as the Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce, which is running the event, as well as the Madison Heights Community Coalition, Ascension Health, the Boy Scouts, Forgotten Harvest and the library itself.

Keri Valmassei, the chamber’s executive director, feels that more awareness is needed.

“I’ve been wanting to get these people in the same room for a while now, and get more buy-in to these worthwhile groups from the community,” Valmassei said. “I don’t think many residents know that these organizations exist, so here’s a chance to put them and their good works front and center.”

Ascension Health is the nation’s largest nonprofit, Catholic health care system. Its hospitals were established in the 1960s and provide a range of services, including primary care, emergency care, surgical care, inpatient care, retail pharmacy services, occupational health and more.

“Importantly, our mission is rooted in the ministry of Jesus Christ, and in that regard, we serve all persons with holistic, spiritually centered care, providing special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable,” said Terry Hamilton, president of the Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Madison Heights and Warren. “We serve all persons without regard to ability to pay, and work with our patients to help them qualify for public or private support that may be applicable to their case.”

The Madison Heights location, in particular, has a highly rated ER and urgent care center that’s known for prompt service, Hamilton said. The Madison Heights location performs the most weight loss surgeries of all hospitals in southeast Michigan.

Residents can participate as volunteers at the hospital, or participate on the Patient and Family Advisory Council that advises the hospital on patient perspectives and needs.

“Going to the doctor or to the hospital is worrisome on many fronts,” Hamilton said. “It’s important that the community knows that we are there for them, regardless of their circumstances, when health needs arise.”

MHCC is another group that will be at the event. Started in 2016 and formerly known as the Community Family Coalition, MHCC is a nonprofit dedicated to preventing substance use by youths. It focuses on “protective factors” that reduce the risk or change the way youths respond to it.

For example, MHCC is currently partnering with Madison Heights Youth Assistance to recognize outstanding youths, as well as youths who have overcome hardships, during the annual Youth Recognition Breakfast.

“In recognizing positive behavior, students will hopefully be more inclined to repeat their good behavior,” said Kimberly Heisler, executive director of MHCC.

The coalition has an office at City Hall and often partners with the police and firefighters, including a recent workshop on Narcan training, teaching the public how to use Narcan to treat someone suffering from an overdose. The coalition is also currently working to educate students on the hidden dangers in vaping, as well as marijuana use.

“We’ve learned through surveys that student perception of harm in using marijuana is low, meaning they don’t think using it’s harmful,” Heisler said. “It’s our goal to raise the perception of harm by educating both students and parents.”

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