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‘Leave the world a better place’

Published on Thursday December 14, 2023
Julie Flores

Centra Southside Community Hospital Chaplain Julie Flores shares advice for the holiday season, why she wants to help others feel empowered to make an impact and why she gives through the Centra Foundation.  

“Seek ways that you can make a difference and leave the world a better place” is something of a personal motto for Spiritual Care Manager Julie Flores, chaplain at Centra Southside Community Hospital. It is also advice that she shares with others during the busy holiday season.

The idea took root when she was growing up in South America as a child of missionary parents. It is one she has carried with her throughout her career. 

In addition to serving as a chaplain for Centra and volunteering in the community, she makes gifts through the Centra Foundation and is an Ambassador for the Centra Family Campaign, the annual employee giving campaign. 

“I know that it is an investment in the wellness of my community,” she said. “I am helping patients, helping my fellow Caregivers who experience times of acute, unexpected need and ensuring that our community has outstanding care.” 

Below, Julie shares her thoughts on giving back and why she wants to help others feel empowered to make an impact.

 

Who introduced you to the idea of giving? 

I was raised by compassionate parents who taught me to be attentive to ways that I could be a part of relieving suffering in the world. Helping others was a way of life for our family.
 

Why do you give through the Centra Foundation? 

In my young adulthood, former Director of Pastoral Care Randal Walton introduced me to giving through the Centra Foundation. He and his wife Sandy were enthusiastic supporters of the Foundation. Randal routinely updated our staff on the impact the Foundation was making and encouraged us to participate in Centra’s mission through financial giving. 

Contributing through the Foundation has now become a deeply ingrained value of my own as I have witnessed the impact on patient care, the community and assistance to fellow Caregivers. When I give through the Foundation, I know that it is an investment in the wellness of my community. I am helping patients, helping my fellow Caregivers who experience times of acute, unexpected need and ensuring that our community has outstanding care. 

I am not an independently wealthy person and, many times, feel inadequate to meet the overwhelming needs I see around me. Last year over 925 Centra Caregivers participated in giving more than $360,000 through the Centra Family Campaign. It gives me great joy to know that through my giving I am able to come alongside other ordinary people to make a tremendous impact on healthcare in our region. Together we are able to do great things. 


Do you remember when you made your first gift and what it supported? Your most recent? 

In the early 2000s, Centra embarked on a capital campaign to raise money for the construction of the Centra Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center and the East Tower at LGH. Like today, there was much excitement about the future of our health system as we anticipated how the growth would improve healthcare in our community. I was delighted to give to a project where I knew that my small donation would touch countless lives for generations into the future. 

As the East Tower was being built, Centra Caregivers were invited to sign a steel beam that would be lifted with a crane and become part of the support structure of the new building. As I wrote my blessing, I remember having a sense of pride that I was part of that chapter in the history of Centra and that my gift, in combination with so many others, would make an enduring impact by ensuring access to excellent healthcare in our region. That was early in my employment at Centra, and the first time that I gave through the Foundation. When the capital campaign ended, I continued to give each year. My most recent gift was an annual pledge to the Greatest Need Fund.
 

You are also an Ambassador for the Centra Family Campaign. Why did you want to serve in this way? 

Burnout or compassion fatigue can become a very real part of work in healthcare as we feel inadequate to meet so much need around us. Caregivers can become discouraged when faced with constant needs, which are the product of circumstances that we are not able to resolve within our job role. I first donated through the Foundation after someone shared with me how contributing through the Foundation allows larger resources to be able to meet patient and Caregiver needs. I serve as an Ambassador to spread the vision so others can feel empowered by contributing to alleviate some of the hardships that we witness.

Do you have a favorite quote about giving?

Kathy Calvin, former president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, says, “Giving is not about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” 

What is one piece of advice that you share with others during the holiday season?  

It is very easy to feel overburdened when looking at all of the needs around us. Seek ways that you can make a difference and leave the world a better place. 

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