How gratitude and giving add perspective

December 20, 2017 | by Mary Lou Mastro

The mental health community has long known that one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to help other people.

When you’re obsessing about your own struggles and problems, it helps to get out of your own head and do something nice for someone else.

If you start each day by thinking about all the things you have to be grateful for, you’ll see that, especially in the U.S., it’s a pretty long list.

Making a gratitude list puts things in perspective.

One of the things I love about our community at Edward-Elmhurst Health is how we make time to help others—and each other.

For years, various departments at Edward-Elmhurst Health “adopt” other employee families who are struggling. The families are selected by our human resources department and remain anonymous, while other employees donate gift cards the families can use for holiday shopping or meals.

Coming together as a department to help a family in need certainly brings joy to that family, but the act of giving brings joy to us too.

We also make sure we reach out to the world around us. We have a soft spot for kids—our employees heap toys into the bins for Toys for Tots during the holidays.

Every year we also recognize an employee at each campus who is particularly invested in community service. The Community Contribution Award is given to an employee who makes a significant contribution as a volunteer in his or her community. Along with the award, Edward-Elmhurst donates $500 to each winner’s organization.

The winner of the 2017 Elmhurst Community Service Award is one of our registered nurses on 5 Medical, Angela Monaco, RN. Angela has been with Elmhurst for almost two years. Angela was honored for her volunteer work at an organization called Phil’s Friends, a Christian non-profit organization founded by two-time cancer survivor and Elmhurst native Phil Zielke. Angela, a former cancer survivor herself, has volunteered with Phil’s Friends for over five years and now serves on their Board.

The winner of the 2017 Edward Community Service Award is one of our clinical art therapists in Rehab Services, Melissa Hedlund Nelson. Melissa has been with Edward for a little over a year. Melissa was honored for her volunteer work at an organization called The Light of The Heart: A Community Art Therapy Project. This organization is a non-for-profit in Aurora, and the first organization of its kind in the nation. Its purpose is to provide art therapy, counseling and visual arts programming for children, adolescents, adults and allied professionals in the quad-county Aurora area, regardless of income level, reaching those who have limited or no access to mental healthcare. Melissa co-founded this program six years ago and also oversees programming as a volunteer.

Last, but definitely not least, our employees raise so much money for our hospital foundations. They donate money to the Edward Foundation and the Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Foundation through employee giving campaigns and in other ways – as charity runners in the Healthy Driven Half Marathon and 5K, for example.

Giving back is worth the time and effort. How do you like to help others?


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