Baptist Trinity Home Care and Hospice was recently recognized by Memphis City Schools for 30 years of partnership with the Shrine School, a Memphis public school for children with disabilities.
Alice Harrington, Baptist Trinity assistant case manager and longtime champion and volunteer for the program, accepted the award and describes what the partnership means to the colleagues, Shrine School staff and the students.
The relationship between Baptist Trinity and the Shrine School has been a long and wonderful experience. Thirty years ago, the leaders of Baptist Trinity wanted to do something for the community. The Adopt-a-School program was in the early years and they thought this would be a good connection. In those days the youth that attended the school were able to come to Trinity and “work,” putting folders together for the nurses to take out into the homes. The staff and the young people learned from each other but most of all they became friends.
As time rolled on Trinity went with computers and there was no need for folders. But that did not stop the relationship that had now become a family relationship. For years, each department would take a class to do parties, have special Christmas presents for each child, and would be there for the teacher when they needed help to do a project or go on a field trip. The departments gained more than the kids because of the magic word ‘love.’ These children are all physically challenged, but they can make you feel so good being with them because they are happy. No matter how you feel when you go into the school you come out richer because of what the kids give to you.
Lately, Trinity has been playing basketball and they are still trying to win. (The school is undefeated.) Each person that has played or just gone to cheer realize that winning is not the reason they are there; it is having fun with the kids. Trinity has also taken part in the National Day to Read where a chosen book is read in all public schools on one certain day. Attendance in any place, work, school or an organization is important, and Trinity encourages the kids to come to school by awarding a monetary gift and certificate to each student having perfect attendance that semester as well as a trophy at the end of the year. They have awarded trophies to as many as six one year and several children have had perfect attendance for over five years straight. Also, those that have earned for that grading period perfect attendance, academic achievement and/or citizenship improvement receive ribbons to recognize them.
Every year at the start of school Trinity has a school supply drive for paper products, cleaning supplies and sweat pants. Trinity helps with the Halloween and Valentine treats for every child as well as pizza for the high school Valentine dance. The staff is always honored with a nice luncheon in the spring.
Walking the halls of this very special school is a treat and humbling experience. We all are not perfect and often complain about life, but these children and their wonderful staff will make you feel so good when you leave. Shrine School is not a school, it is a family, and Baptist Trinity has been honored to be a part of it.