On the Anniversary of George Floyd’s Death
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
Yesterday marked a year since the murder of George Floyd under the knees of police brutality.
His death brought on a reckoning and imperative to practice critical and crucial conversations on the historical and continued racist harm experienced by the black community and an intense examination of our current systems, norms, and bias that perpetuate racism and inequities.
As part of a national collective of community health centers, our mission is our community. At Share Our Selves we are committed to equality, systemic change, compassionate and empathetic leadership. Through these principles we will continue to work against inequality, systemic injustices, racism, and abuse of power.
We leave our imagination of a world without racism into living what that anti-racist world would be like. It begins with you, me, all of us. We must because of George Floyd and many others before and after him. Black Live Matter. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.
Chief Executive Officer
While the pandemic continues to affect all of us, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are excited to share with you that SOS is working with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) on securing COVID-19 vaccine inventory and best plans for the administration of the vaccine.
Our team is in the process of creating a safe dispersal plan for the inventory we receive in dedicated locations that maintain our low-COVID environment protocols. We are mapping out the best strategy for the administration of the vaccine with regards to eligibility, a patient-first emphasis, and a demographic focus on vulnerability in step with state and county guidelines. We will provide more information on how to schedule your vaccination appointment as soon as information is made available.
Obviously, you may have many questions. It goes without saying that the initial rollout of the vaccine nationwide has been less than smooth and the allotment of doses SOS receives is out of our control. We are navigating all obstacles in this unprecedented endeavor as we are in constant communication with OCHCA and other agencies to provide as clear a process as possible to our community with a focus on strategic and rapid dispersal of the doses we receive.
We recommend visiting OCHCA’s Vaccine Distribution page for detailed information on vaccination in Orange County.
This news brings great hope to our community, but we all must exhibit patience as news, inventory, and planning will be evolving day by day. We thank you for your diligence in continuing to wear masks, stay home, and practice social distancing. We look forward to keeping you up to date with the best information we have.
Chief Executive Officer
Reflections on the Violent Riot at our US Capitol and Our Commitment to Systemic Change
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It was deeply saddening yet not shocking witnessing, along with our entire country, the violence last week at our US capitol. At Share Our Selves, we believe in the right to free speech and to peaceful protest. And at the same time, we strongly condemn the violence committed and hate speech perpetuated in the name of our democracy.
That today we recognize and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is not lost on me. Dr. King took a moral position against injustice, armed with nonviolence to fight racism and white supremacy. We continue his legacy by standing against systemic injustices in the work we do as a community health center.
Share Our Selves was founded on the principles of service to fellow neighbors providing the most basic human needs. We stood up against racism and discrimination as we served migrants and people experiencing homelessness. We advocate for systemic change to ensure health equity for our communities and those we serve. Our work extends beyond our clinic four walls in our local, statewide, and national health care partnerships and collaboratives.
As one of our core values of JUSTICE, we have an ongoing commitment to advocate for change in those structures and systems that unjustly affect the vulnerable and disadvantaged. We will continue to build on this commitment in our long-term planning and partnerships because it is the right thing to do.
Chief Executive Officer
As the holidays approach and the year is winding down, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Amidst all the struggle, loss, and heartache of the past year, we’ve been amazed at the solidarity and resiliency our community has shown when facing such unprecedented times. From continuing to provide quality Whole Person Care and addressing COVID-19 on the front lines to most recently completing a socially distant SOS Adopt A Family Program for the 51st time, it has been encouraging to see, and humbling to receive, your support.
While the New Year brings many uncertainties, I believe it also brings hope. My personal hope is that you are able to celebrate the holidays with those you love even if it might look and feel very different this year. But whether in person, by phone, or even via Zoom, it is important to seize the opportunity to share in the joy of the holidays together. For right now, it’s a time to take a deep breath, a step back, and enjoy the season.
Thank you again from all of us at SOS, and happy holidays!
Chief Executive Officer
If you are interested, there is still time to make an impact before the end of the year.
As we recently held a socially distanced version of our SOS First In Family College Readiness Program, we were delighted to support a number of new high school grads who are the first in their families to be heading to college. We asked participants to submit their personal stories as applications for potential scholarships that were generously provided by an SOS donor. Here is one such story.
“For as long as I can remember, my mom has always stressed the importance of education and how it will take me far in life. Unable to afford an education at a young age, my mother was forced to give up on the idea of receiving further education. As an immigrant from Vietnam, my mom would sometimes tell me how willing she is to attend a school and study, but unfortunately, she is incapable of doing so. Busy from morning till evening, with only one day off and running a family to the best of her abilities, work steals her time. Both my immigrant parents came to America with the thought of starting anew and renewing their hope, but were unfortunately left to have low-paying jobs and little to no new opportunities. Because my parents are living with little chances to improve their life, I want to be the person to improve their lives and my own life.
Along with my mom, who is my number one supporter, my teachers, counselor, mentors, and other important figures in my life have expressed to me that I’ll go on to accomplish great things in the future. I used to doubt my achievements and viewed them as the results of actions that I simply took to satisfy my own needs. But then, I began to realize that I do have great potential and I want to continue proving their statements right. Constantly on the outlook for improvements and investing my time and efforts for a better future, I motivate myself by reminding myself how I already have more than enough and that countless opportunities are out there waiting for me.
Upon entering college, I plan to major in Business Administration with hopes of entering into the financial management field. To get anywhere near my goals and dreams, attending college would naturally be my next step. All of this used to seem distant and out of reach, but through endless support and my undying desire to succeed, college is now more close than ever and I want to make the best of it. Inching toward a better future, I want to prove to myself and those around me that you can go far, no matter where you begin. And so, fueled by passion and purpose, I will make my goals become my achievements.”Read More
Whether learning remotely or in a classroom, children must be equipped with the tools necessary to actively engage in learning. To that end, we were determined to ensure our annual SOS Back To School program would be able to exist this year.
On Saturday, August 15th, a handful of SOS staff and volunteers held our first-ever socially distanced Back To School Backpack Distribution. Rather than having parents and students line up to receive their backpacks, we created a drive-thru pick up line with SOS staff and leadership delivering backpacks full of essential school supplies directly into the trunks of family vehicles Altogether, we were able to provide 455 children backpacks.
Our volunteers were joined by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris who had been assisting the program for a few weeks leading up to the backpack distribution to ensure sufficient supplies were gathered and backpacks were assembled.
We could not be more grateful for our community supporters for making this important annual event possible. In addition to Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris, we could not have done this without the amazing support from Tilly’s, Marriott Southwest Sales, St. Christopher, Mater Dei, and our amazing donors. The collaborative efforts of our community made it a true success!Read More
Local leaders stand with SOS in bettering community access to care
On August 10, the focus of National Health Center Week was “Health Care for the Homeless Day”. It was most fitting that we celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new SOS Health Mobile Unit. As part of the celebration, SOS was accompanied by Congressman Harley Rouda, Costa Mesa City Mayor, Katrina Foley, and Liz McNabb from Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris’ office.
This mobile health center is initially providing medical and behavioral health services at several homeless shelters in Orange County. As one of 295 health centers across the nation that is a designated Health Care for the Homeless organization, we know that individuals that are homeless disproportionately experience poor health outcomes, higher incidents of mental health challenges, and higher mortality rates. SOS’ goal by bringing care to where homeless individuals are sheltered is to improve their overall health, and in partnership, work with other agencies to ultimately end homelessness.
The ceremony was an opportunity to share in the collaborative effort between organizations like SOS and local leaders who share in the mission of SOS. “When you think about health, you need to think outside of the four walls of a clinic,” states SOS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jay W. Lee. “For some, you can help with a prescription pad, but for many, you need to partner with community leaders for solutions.”
Those in attendance had the honor of hearing from our elected officials. “Community providers like Share Our Selves are on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis, working 24/7 to keep Orange County healthy,” said Congressman Rouda. “Their new mobile unit is an incredible step to ensure OC’s most vulnerable can access health services during COVID-19 and beyond.”
After the ribbon-cutting, representatives joined SOS Social Services staff and volunteers in the SOS Food Pantry to assist in the packing of bags for the day. Share Our Selves CEO, Christy Ward, expressed her gratitude for their participation. “We know that our elected officials are all incredibly busy with all of the work that they are doing to support our communities and the individuals that live and work in them, and we were grateful for their participation and support of the opening of this new mobile clinic.”Read More
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 18, 2020
Dr. Edwin K. Kwon joins Share Our Selves (SOS) as Medical Director Community Health Center Costa Mesa, Main Campus site
“Dr. Kwon brings with him deep experience working with vulnerable populations. Coupled with his affable nature and obvious love for humanity, I am confident he will be an outstanding addition to our leadership team and I look forward to the impact he will make for our patients and the Costa Mesa community,” comments Dr. Jay W. Lee, Chief Medical Officer at Share Our Selves.
Dr. Kwon arrives to Share Our Selves from Portland Oregon. His previous experiences include serving as Vice President of Clinical Operations and Strategy and Medical Director at CRM Physicians, Family Medicine Physician at Riverside Medical Clinic, and at Heal. Dr. Kwon received his MD from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine School of Business. He is board-certified in Family Medicine and completed his post-graduate training at UCLA Family Medicine Residency Program. He is an active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Oregon Medical Association, and AMDA: The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.
“I am most excited about joining an incredible team at SOS. I am humbled by the countless team members who have dedicated their lives to serving their neighbors for decades—they are the warm heart and soul of this organization.” Dr. Kwon shares, “My hope is to follow their example and amplify our collective efforts to serve our community.”
For media inquiries, contact Imelda Buncab, Community Engagement Manager email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 949-270-2188.
For more information about Share Our Selves, visit www.shareourselves.org.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2020
Share Our Selves to Launch National Health Center Week 2020
Congressman Harley Rouda and City of Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley joins Share Our Selves to recognize and celebrate the important work of local health centers
Costa Mesa, CA – August 9th to 15th, 2020 is National Health Center Week (NHCW), an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of community health centers across the nation. Share Our Selves will launch the week with the Share Our Selves Community Health Mobile Unit ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour. Congressman Harley Rouda and City of Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley will join the celebration to recognize community health centers.
In 2019, community health centers served over 29 million patients, improving health and advancing health equity in the United States. In the same year, Share Our Selves served 15,241 patients that live and work in Orange County.
Share Our Selves has been serving the Orange County community for 50 years providing care and assistance to those in need and act as advocates for systemic change.
“During these very challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic that we are living in, now more than ever, it is critical for community health centers, like Share Our Selves, to be doing everything we can in the community to provide needed and critical services to individuals that are in need of direct health services as well as access to food, financial or other types of critical resources,” according to Christy Ward, CEO of Share Our Selves. “This is what our organization has focused on for the last 50 years, and what we will continue to focus on in the coming 50 years plus. National Health Center Week is a wonderful time to celebrate our work, as well as thank our patients, community partners, donors, and staff, particularly during this year as we celebrate our 50-year milestone.”
For more information on Share Our Selves National Health Center Week launch event and media inquiries, contact Imelda Buncab, Community Engagement Manager. Email: email@example.com. Phone: 949-270-2188.
For more information about Share Our Selves, please visit www.shareourselves.org.