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Partner Profile: St. Patrick’s Center

About Episode 56

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The non-profit, non-denominational St. Patrick’s Center in Wilmington, Delaware, has served that community for over half a century. They provide emergency food, meals, respite for the homeless, clothing, transportation, and recreational activities for people in need on the city’s east side. Our guest host, Che Parker, met up with Joe Yacyshyn, St. Patrick’s Center’s Board Chair, as Nemours Children’s associates were conducting a clothing drive to benefit the organization’s clients. They talked about the work of the St. Patrick’s Center and the strong bond between this non-profit and Nemours Children’s Health.

Guest:
Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center, Wilmington, Delaware

Guest Host: Che Parker
Producer: Carol Vassar


EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Welcome to Well Beyond Medicine: The Nemours Children’s Health Podcast. Each week we’ll explore anything and everything related to the 80% of child health impacts that occur outside the doctor’s office. I’m your host, Carol Vassar. And now that you are here, let’s go.

It’s a Thursday bonus episode of the Nemours Well Beyond Medicine podcast, and this one is a partner profile. The nonprofit non-denominational St. Patrick’s Center in Wilmington, Delaware, has been serving that community for over half a century. They provide emergency food, meals, respite for the homeless, clothing, transportation, and recreational activities for people in need on the city’s East Side. Our guest host, Che Parker, met up with Joe Yacyshyn, St. Patrick’s Center’s Board Chair, as Nemours Associates were conducting a clothing drive to benefit the organization’s clients. They talked about the work of the St. Patrick’s Center and the strong bond between this nonprofit and Nemours Children’s Health.

Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center:

St. Patrick’s Center in Wilmington has been in existence for 52 years. We’re domiciled in a church, but we are non-denominational. You don’t have to be Irish. You don’t have to be Catholic. You just got to show up. And what we’re seeing now, we started out as a senior center. Most of our clients don’t drive, so they’re on foot. They kind of walk in. What we’ve seen with COVID is just numbers going right off the chart. We have grandparents raising grandchildren and so Nemours has been very gracious, and we’re the ones who are doing a clothing drive downstairs to pick children’s clothing. The other thing we do is we do food drives. We do homeless. We have a lot of homeless people. And so we’re one of the few facilities in the city that still allow them to take a shower. We’ll give them a laundry voucher to go do their clothes. And we’re always looking for single packs in plastic jars because these people live literally on the street.

They show up every morning. We give them a hot meal. We give them clothes. We’re probably the first stop after you get released from prison. So we’re there. We have single moms and battered moms showing up with kids. And we don’t ask a lot of questions. We’re going to ask you for your zip code only because we track where our people come from. But the point is there’s a lot more of them. We’re trying to do all we can. And what we can’t do, what we’ll do is we’ll provide a connection service. For example, if somebody shows up and they say, “Del Marva’s going to cut off my power. What should I do?” What we’ll do is we’ll align you with a community partner, who in this case is West Side, and they are the individuals who know how to help you with your Del Marva bill. So we provide services directly and indirectly and that keeps our costs low.

Che Parker, guest host:

Is there a program or an issue in the community that you wish people knew more about?

Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center:

Yeah, and that would be the emerging tremendous growth in need. COVID funding has gone away. A lot of corporate funders, they’re all getting inundated there. Inflation is up. Even us, I mean, last week we had to go, and we had to make a decision. We had to decide do we want to buy butter or do we want to buy eggs? We bought eggs. But yet that’s the world we live in. And, like I said, we don’t have a lot of questions, and so you’re just trying to help people out the way they can. We provide transportation. People to get medical services, they need a ride. Last year, Nemours was very gracious in that they provided COVID shots for our seniors. But if you’re a senior and you get the flu, flu could be fatal. So, it’s a matter of connecting the dots with partners. And like I said, most of our people are on foot, so we provide transportation to do it, and we’re fortunate to be able to do what we do because of the support from partners in the community.

Che Parker, guest host:

So when you hear a term like well beyond medicine, what does that mean to you?

Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center:

Well, it means Nemours is holistic. You take care of more than the child and the situation. You provide holistic care for the entire family, not only the day of the visit, but ongoing. I mean, it’s a lifetime partnership. We live in a better community because of Nemours.

Che Parker, guest host:

Last thing I wanted to ask you. You’re a volunteer here at the hospital.

Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center:

Yeah.

Che Parker, guest host:

Why? Why do you contribute your time here?

Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center:

Well, I raised two children in North Wilmington. We were never in Nemours. I was on the Ronald McDonald House Board. Tom Ferry, your former president, was the Treasurer. And he informed me that I was going to be the Assistant Treasurer and follow him. And from that, the relationship with Nemours just grew into it. And once you get in this place, it’s really pretty infectious. You’re a better person when you’re volunteering at Nemours. You really are. And it’s all unconditional, and everybody wants to be here. All the employees want to be here. It’s great. It’s infectious. So it’s great.

Che Parker, guest host:

Absolutely. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share or that you’d like people to know more about?

Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center:

No. We exist because of the generosity of people in the community, and we just want to thank them. We never do it enough. We’re there. If you’ve got a question, just send it to us. The website has a Contact Us thing. Try and help us out. Right now, canned goods, non-perishable items, clothing, and things like that are just trying to help us get through the winter.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Joe Yacyshyn is the Board Chair for the St. Patrick’s Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Thanks to Che Parker for stepping into the host role for this bonus episode. You can find all episodes of the Nemours Well Beyond Medicine Podcast at nemourswellbeyond.org. That’s nemourswellbeyond.org.

Thanks for joining us for this bonus episode. Our next full podcast episode explores an innovative way to address the shortage of healthcare workers by training high school students for careers in healthcare. I’m Carol Vassar, and until then, remember, we can change children’s health for good, well beyond medicine.

MUSIC:

Let’s go, oh, oh. Well Beyond Medicine.

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Meet Today's Guests

Che Parker, Communications Program Manager, Nemours Children’s Health

Host
Che Parker serves as Communications Program Manager at Nemours Children's Health helping share the unique stories, policy and advocacy work, and innovative practices that are supporting Nemours Children's vision to create the healthiest generations of children.

Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Board Chair, St. Patrick’s Center, Wilmington, Delaware

Guest
Joseph L. Yacyshyn serves as board chair for St. Patrick's Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Yacyshyn focuses on addressing poverty and restoring hope by encouraging donations for the homeless. He also spends his time graciously volunteering at Nemours Children’s Health.

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