After months of organizing, the first Bay Park Community Hospital auxiliary officially started this month to support activities that link the hospital to the community.
The auxiliary's 30 members are volunteers charged with raising funds for hospital projects - many of them geared specifically toward women - while getting the community involved, said Debbie Paul, president of the group.
"We'll be the voice of the hospital, especially to the community," said Ms. Paul, an Oregon resident.
Several people were involved in hospital fund-raising efforts last year, but the idea of an auxiliary materialized after those individuals went to Catherine Ciha, the Oregon hospital's foundation executive director, for input about starting the group.
The auxiliary organized last year and is ready to create and plan events this year. Members have chosen officers and are ready to begin developing educational programming and networking opportunities with the community, Ms. Paul said.
The other auxiliary officers are:
● Oregon resident Paula Benton, vice president of programming.
● Northwood resident Louise Kachmarik, vice president of public relations and marketing.
● Oregon resident Jane Schaffer, secretary.
● Genoa resident Beth Bowman, treasurer.
Ms. Paul said the group has yet to form committees, but have been discussing upcoming events, which may include a community health fair, educational and health workshops, fund-raising dinners, a springtime women's wellness event, a member-recognition event in the fall, and an annual tree-lighting ceremony, among other yearly activities.
Although it is not a requirement, Ms. Ciha said auxiliary members help in various other capacities throughout the hospital, including performing clerical work or working at the gift shop and front desk.
But before they tackle anything, Ms. Paul said she wants to first develop a membership base.
Because anyone can join the auxiliary - regardless of sex, race, age, or place of residency - she said she wouldn't be surprised if at least 100 people joined.
The group meets once a month on a Tuesday at the hospital to discuss upcoming events and fund-raising efforts. Members could spend as little as an hour a month, or as much as several hours a day working on group activities, Ms. Ciha said.
"It's as much or as little as you choose to be," she said, adding that the $15 in dues members pay each year serves as a sign of commitment and seed money for various projects. "We're just looking for people who like to be involved and have an interest in health."