According to Cindy, people often stroll into the Gift Shop as a way to relieve their anxiety while waiting for a loved one. “Candy is comfort food, and that’s our best seller!” she laughs. Once a computer specialist at a bank, she stretches outside of her comfort zone to work with people in the store. Cindy is familiar with courage. Many years ago, she was a victim of domestic violence, caught in an abusive marriage. Abuse is the exercise of power and control over another person and it is not only physical. Withholding money or restricting friendships or time with family is a means to control. Continued criticism or belittling comments assault the psyche. In short, leaving domestic violence can feel like crawling out of an avalanche. “Once I found my way out,” Cindy explains, “I felt more alive than I ever had. I learned I could do a lot more than I had been told I could do!” Indeed. She sought help, got a job, bought her own home and made a new life for herself and her son. A life we’re happy she shares with us.
Cindy volunteers in the Gift Shop at St. Mark’s
*If you feel afraid or helpless, call the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition at (800) 897-LINK (5465). For shelter call the YWCA at (802) 537-8600.
St. Mark’s Hospital Chaplain Saundra Shanti wanted to connect patients to their caregivers and employees to each other. That’s why she created the Healing Hands portrait series, featuring black and white photographs and stories of St. Mark’s employees at all levels.
“Our patients and families who go in and out know that this is a nurse, and this is a housekeeper, but they don’t know them as people,” Saundra said. “I wanted to humanize our healthcare community to one another and to our families and patients.”
Each photo is accompanied by a story; some biographical, others are anecdotes of experiences that led employees to become caregivers and healthcare professionals. Twelve portraits are currently displayed throughout the hospital, but a total of 36 photos will be rotated throughout the exhibit for the next two months.
By highlighting personal, inspiring and real stories about the staff who will be caring for patients during what can often be an emotional time, the exhibit builds a sense of community. Patients and families will be able to view caregivers as real people with real stories whom they can relate to and connect with, making the hospital experience more personal.
“When we humanize each other, we care more for one another,” Saundra said. “I wanted our employees to be recognized as valuable human beings apart from their professional titles. I wanted to cultivate interaction and respect across our departments and services.”