SPHS Awarded Grant from Commonwealth Corps

SPRINGFIELD — Twelve volunteers with Commonwealth Corps will join the ranks of the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS), thanks to a $131,000 grant from the Mass. Service Alliance in partnership with Commonwealth Corps. Under the program, volunteers will work with non-profit organizations to provide direct services for unmet community needs and recruit new volunteers to encourage continuation of such services.

The Mercy Healthy Communities Corps Team will be in place for one year and will serve in various programs and departments throughout SPHS. In addition to recruiting new volunteers for the Volunteer Services department at Mercy Medical Center, the new corps members will assist with Project Homeless Connect and Dress for Success through the Healthcare for the Homeless department, provide health care education and support at MercyCare-Forest Park and Providence Prenatal Center of Holyoke, and offer mentoring services to children at Brightside for Families and Children.

They will also provide health care career information to students at local high schools in the area, in an effort to address the region’s shortage of doctors, nurses, and other skilled health care professionals. Corps members will receive a living stipend and completion bonus (part-time members: $5,000 stipend and $1,000 bonus; full-time members: $10,000 stipend and $2,000 bonus).

Colleen Condon, director of Volunteer Services at Mercy Medical Center, filed the application for the grant and maintains that the variety of services offered at SPHS improved the chances for approval of the funding. “We are able to work with schools, the homeless, low-income women, and teen mothers, as well as children and teenagers at Brightside for Families and Children,” Condon said. “We touch so many parts of the community where there is such a large need for services, and I think that was very appealing to state officials.”

SPHS is the only health system among the 36 public and non-profit organizations to receive a Commonwealth Corps grant. To learn more about the program or to become a corps member, call Condon at (413) 748-9078.