For many people who work at GLSS helping others—especially those in need—is simply part of their DNA. But willingly doing so in the midst of a global pandemic says something special about GLSS staff. "I have been at GLSS for almost a year now, and during that time, I have witnessed so many acts of caring and compassion among our staff," said Kathryn C. Burns, MHA, Chief Executive Officer. "As I have said before, it continually reaffirms for me my decision to join this incredible organization."
During the past year, GLSS staff have delivered Meals on Wheels, organized toy drives, brought food to local shelters, distributed Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, gave out Grab & Go meals and bags of groceries, and so much more. So it came as no surprise to learn recently that many GLSS staff are assisting the City of Lynn with its vaccination efforts.
“Throughout the pandemic, consumer, clinical, and protective services staff have gone above and beyond to stay connected with our consumers, and, at this critical time, everyone is doing their part to help people get vaccinated,” said Holly Jarrell-Marcinelli, Director of Consumer Services. “Both our nursing and supportive housing staff have jumped in to support vaccine clinic operations in the city of Lynn.
On several recent Fridays, Rosemary Durant, RN, GLSS’ Nurse Manager, has assisted in preparing vaccines for administration at the Lynn Tech Fieldhouse site on Neptune Boulevard. "There were many volunteers from both the community and the Lynn Community Health Center directing consumers and answering questions," she stated. "The Lynn Fire Department was out in full force and was a big help." The following week, Rosemary was joined by GLSS Home Care nurse Carolyn Coan-Andrews, RN.
Rosemary noted that the entire process from registration to vaccination seemed organized and ran smoothly. The City of Lynn anticipated administering 520 vaccines that day; however, due to the Governor's decision to allow companions and caregivers under 75 to also be vaccinated, the total vaccines administered was probably closer to 600. The City plans to add evening hours with the goal of vaccinating 1,000 people per day.
This past Monday, Paula Gonzalez, RN, and Nurse Supervisor Michelle Syed, RN, volunteered for what was the busiest clinic yet, with over 750 people being vaccinated. "It is really our honor and privilege to be able to do this," Michelle said.
Staff who work at Supportive Housing Sites in Lynn also worked with the City’s Board of Health and Housing Authority to offer vaccination clinics. Maloney Properties, which manages St. Theresa House and St. Mary’s Plaza, partnered with CVS to vaccinate approximately 90 residents, administering both shots over the course of four clinics with assistance from Program Manager Maureen Teal and SCO GSSC Grecia Paradis. Working with the Lynn Board of Health and Simon Properties, Resident Services Coordinator (RSC) Iliana Arzola organized a clinic at Silsbee Tower Apartments, where approximately 60 elders received the first vaccine. (The second dose is scheduled for March.) Eligible residents of neighboring Lynn Housing Authority properties were invited to attend, and RSC Acie Johnson and Home Care Case Manager Mariana Zorin provided support. “I am so grateful to Simon Properties for opening its doors to the residents of nearby McGee House and Olive Street,” Maureen stated. “Residents at those sites were delighted to be included.”
GLSS staff are helping in all sorts of interesting ways. Liz Bulkley, Moeun Him, and Joey Sawyer-Shaw are currently working on a series of educational videos about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines in conjunction with the Lynn Community Health Center. Throughout the pandemic, the Media Team has been creating videos to assist in educating staff, consumers, and the general public about COVID-19 and developing programming like Kelly’s Corner and GLSS TV to reduce stress and isolation.
“This year has really shined a spotlight on the dedication, commitment, and caring of our staff under the most difficult circumstances,” Kathy Burns said. “All these highly visible efforts really showcase to the wider community the character and compassion of our agency.”