MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Gretchen Menzies, a community resident and founder of Essential Mom, and owner of Little Joe’s Books and the Reading Room in Katonah, has worked for over 10 years to create resources for parents through many different channels in the community.
As a member of the NWH Foundation Board, Menzies leads the volunteer efforts with the Speaker Series and Family Volunteer Events. As part of her work, she collaborates with the Hospital foundation to come up with relevant topics, educational events, and family wellness and volunteer events.
"When you are a parent in this community, the hospital factors into your daily life embarrassingly more often than you care to discuss," said Menzies. "Many of our children were born there, but you wind up there for colicky nights, ear infections, stitches, broken bones and more, so the hospital becomes a nexus for bringing community together."
Menzies and the Board not only seek opportunities to fundraise, but also to ‘friend-raise’. And that can mean bringing people to the hospital to educate the community about the programs, physicians, services, and care that the hospital provides.
"Although fundraising events are key, I wanted to find a way to bring people in to the hospital in a way that really resonates with their lives, with their parenting needs, and in general with their health, when they are not in an emergency setting." said Menzies. "It has been wonderful to see people really learn about the hospital as a community resource, not just as a place to go in crisis."
When it comes to selecting topics, the Board picks issues based on what they know is relevant to the community. Hot button discussions in the news, new technologies, new health requirements and fears, and relevant topics to both parents and their children fill out the roster each year and are always up to date and timely. As a result, community members leave feeling educated, and often more at ease after hearing from the experts – they feel confident and able to handle injuries, fears, or real life health scenarios.
During this Centennial year, NWH will host a series of educational lectures which will run throughout the year. Topics include tips for staying healthy, promoting daily wellness and injury prevention, and the history and celebration of NWH/medicine in and around Mount Kisco from the 1900s to today, and more.