In March, team members from Family Medicine Twin Rose volunteered their time to support the Plant the Seed of Learning program at the Columbia Outpatient Center.
“The employees here are always looking for ways to give back to the Columbia community,” said Tammy Seifried, manager of Ambulatory Operations. “Plant the Seed of Learning is just one of the ways the team gives back,” she said, adding that the employees volunteer their time to work at the events.
Plant the Seed of Learning is a United Way Community Impact Partnership made up of local organizations, including health care providers and school districts. Together, the partnership is working to ensure children are ready for kindergarten by educating parents on how meaningful play activities can help a child’s brain development.
“Children learn through play,” said Lili Dippner, program coordinator at Community Action Partnership/Lancaster Head Start, which is one of the members of the Plant the Seed of Learning partnership. “By making the play more intentional, children are able to learn the core skills needed before entering kindergarten.”
Plant the Seed of Learning volunteers hold the giveaway bags that families can take with them after the event. LG Health employees Jessy DeJesus, third from left, Megan Harnish, fourth from left, and Tammy Seifried, second from right, all volunteered their time to support the event.
The class in March was the second of a three-part series at Columbia. During the class, children and their parents read stories together and used hand puppets and drawing to develop further skills. At the end of the program the families are given a bag with toys and books to continue the learning at home.
“Each bag includes activities and books that parents can read with their children at home,” said Megan Harnish, an RN from Family Medicine Twin Rose who volunteered her time to work at the event. “Our hope is to make learning fun for parents and children and that’s what each bag is designed to do.”
Dippner added that the bags are funded by United Way dollars. “We wouldn’t be able to provide families with these helpful tools without the help of the United Way,” she said.
In fact, thanks to the United Way, the program has been able to grow – almost doubling in size of participating organizations. “We probably had five to six school districts participating before we became a United Way collective impact project,” said Dippner. “Now we are working with nearly a dozen of the 16 districts in the county.”
But for the team at Twin Rose, it’s all about giving back to the local community and helping children learn.
“I do these activities at home with my kids,” said Jessy DeJesus, a CMA at Family Medicine Twin Rose and another volunteer at the event. “The more fun you can make learning when they are young, the more they will enjoy it in the future when they are at school. It’s really helping to build our future,” she added.