May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and celebrate mental health professionals who make an impact within their communities.
Jeremy Johnson, Director of Clinical Services at the SD Human Services Center, has been instrumental in his volunteer role at Servant Hearts Clinic – as a Discharge Planner for patients. Servant Hearts Clinic is a free, faith-based clinic to assist the uninsured or the underinsured in our community. No proof of insurance or income is required. Anyone, including those who have health insurance, is welcome as a patient at Servant Hearts Clinic.
Services provided include medical services (such as urgent care and early disease management), mental health, pastoral care, and social work. There are no appointments as patients are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis. All services are provided at no cost to the patients, including a limited list of prescription medications. Jeremy’s role as Discharge Planner means he is the last person a patient visits with before they leave the clinic, helping ensure the patients’ overall needs are met, including food, clothing, shelter and after care.
Servant Hearts Executive Director, Frani Kieffer, who nominated Johnson for the award, states “Jeremy is always willing to do whatever is needed for Servant Hearts Clinic and the patients. Jeremy has a patient and kind personality that welcomes any and all. Jeremy embodies the values of United Way, especially that we are all ‘united together’. Jeremy unites everyone around him and helps to ensure that everyone feels united in our community.”
We asked Jeremy to share a little more about his volunteer efforts.
My wife Rebecca and I have lived in Yankton since graduating from USD in 2002. Rebecca is a Yankton native and we came to this community because of all of the great opportunities and people.
I began volunteering with the Yankton Area Homeless Shelter (now Pathways Shelter for the Homeless) in 2004. I had a great experience working with their board of directors as they and the staff worked to serve those in need in our community. Tami Mabee contacted me when Servant Hearts Clinic opened to help out as a discharge planner for the clinic.
I continue volunteering because Yankton has such a great community of service and volunteers. I have really enjoyed working with the nurses, doctors, social workers, mental health professionals, and spiritual support providers at Servant Hearts Clinic. The team there does some amazing work. I have also had a fantastic experience with United Way as a Board Member. Seeing the volume and quality of the work done by the folks involved with United Way and their partner agencies is great.
I volunteer with Servant Hearts Clinic- Discharge Planner, United Way of Greater Yankton Board of Directors, President Elect.
Volunteer work is enjoyable because of the connection to community. The people I've met and formed relationships with through volunteering have led to lasting friendships. I also really enjoy being a part of the big work that volunteer supported agencies do in Yankton.
It is hard to pick my best volunteer experience as I have had many. One that sticks out in my mind is working at (and sitting in) the dunk tank at Riverboat Days for the Homeless Shelter as a fundraiser. Another more recent was promoting the United Way's Human Foosball Tournament at the Farmer's Market by the Meridian Bridge on a beautiful morning while Ted and Alice played.
The advice I would give to those thinking about getting out there and volunteering in their communities is to build it in to your life's busy schedule. It is a great way to recharge your spirit when you need it!
For more information on local volunteer opportunities, or to nominate a Volunteer of the Month, visit www.yanktonunitedway.org/volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (605)665-6766.