CoxHealth recognizes causes monthly through its Charity of the Month program, and in May, the area of focus is homelessness. Several CoxHealth employees recently went to Eden Village, a community of tiny homes for disabled, homeless individuals and volunteered. Here are some of their thoughts:
Terry Westrip, RN, Surgical Services
My daughter is very involved with Eden Village and one day she took me on a tour. When I saw the amazing work they were doing, I was very impressed and also very touched. I asked what needs they had and I was able to go purchase some things the residents needed. Along with my daughter, I also helped sponsor a home. I was able the help furnish a home for a person that had been unsheltered for 32 years. On a cold Sunday afternoon, he moved in to his new house and when he saw his forever home, he was so thankful. I urge anyone who is looking for somewhere to make a difference in someone's life to go meet the team at Eden Village. You will be blessed.
Rachel Jenkins, RN, CARE
I had to choose a homeless outreach program for my BSN, and spent a day with Traci Brown, RN. She takes care of the residents at Eden Village acting as a case worker, helping with medications, taking the residents to their doctor appointments and just helping as an extended family member to the residents. My brother volunteers there twice a month and has sponsored a resident. As a volunteer my brother works on the vegetable garden, and helps with entertainment and sings for them.
My brother is the one who suggested that I go there. It was an amazing experience! I got to meet many of the residents and their pets (they are allowed to have pets). One man was so excited we were there to visit; he invited me into his home and showed me all the quilts someone had made him. The residents were all precious!
Every resident there is grateful to have a chance to improve their situation. Traci was telling me that some of the residents still treat the home that they were given as a temporary situation, because they are always afraid it will be taken away, despite continuous reassurance that the home is permanent for as long as they need it.
They created a mausoleum on the property. Traci said the most asked question became, "What happens to my body when I die. No one will claim me." So they created a forever home – that touched my heart!
I think this is one of the best programs this city has implemented. They are 100% community funded. Each tiny home is built by community volunteers and costs approximately $30,000. Traci said they purchased the land to build 50 new homes in the next few years! I will be volunteering there again this summer!
Adam Curl, Wellness Team Coordinator
I have volunteered with Eden Village in the past. Volunteer workdays are every month on the third Saturday. You can come and go as needed. I just show up and ask wherever they need me to go and do. They really try to match you with your skillset. It takes a lot of little things to get the place up and going.
It's a fairly new organization that was started by a doctor. It's amazing to go and have conversation with the residents. It really makes you realize how blessed we are to have jobs, homes, cars, families. I really like how the organization is designed to get the individual back on their feet.