Community Connections Stories
Over 30 years ago, Silver Cross saw a need for advanced emergency care in our community. At the time, funeral cars were being used as ambulances to bring patients to the hospital. Equipped with only a first aid kit, it was virtually impossible to perform even the most basic of lifesaving techniques—CPR. There were no paramedics. Just family doctors who tried their best to get to the scene of the accident before it was too late. In 1974, Silver Cross founded the Will-Grundy Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System becoming the only Illinois Department of Public Health designated EMS resource hospital for the area.
Today, Silver Cross continues to train over 1,200 paramedics and first responders from 29 fire departments and ambulance services in partnership with Joliet Junior College and area emergency medical personnel. Covering more than 2,000 square miles, the Will Grundy EMS System is one of the largest EMS Systems in the state.
As a not-for-profit health care provider, Silver Cross Hospital is committed to taking care of those in need of healthcare. In the last year alone, Silver Cross provided nearly $24 million in charity care and other community benefit including paramedic training. To learn more about how Silver Cross gives back to the community, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).
Silver Cross Hospital Supports Lincoln-Way Student Intern Program
Three mornings a week, 18 Lincoln-Way East High School students set aside their text books and came to Silver Cross Hospital for real-life lessons. The free program offers a valuable experience and great opportunity for seniors enrolled in human anatomy and physiology class allowing them real insight into medical careers.
During the fall semester the students learned from college textbooks in a classroom. In the spring semester, they took part in a real health care setting. Under the supervision of their classroom instructor and hospital managers, the students rotated through 18 areas including surgery, nursing and diagnostic imaging.
Because the students desire some sort of health care career but may not fully understand how diverse the medical field really is, they spend one day to two weeks in each department.
“This program provides a very unique opportunity for our students to obtain vocational experience and knowledge in the medical field, whereby they are provided the tools to make more educated decisions regarding their future career paths at an early age,” said Scott Fletcher, Dean of Students and teacher for the Human Anatomy & Physiology class at Lincoln-East High School. “It also gives students applying to college a competitive edge.”
In order to be considered for the Anatomy Physiology Medical class, students must undergo a rigorous selection process weighing their qualifications to other candidates. Students must meet criteria including a combination of excellent grades, interest in the healthcare field as a career, complete an application process, acquire teacher recommendations, exhibit a discipline for a dedicated work ethic and participate in an interview process.
"As high school students, this internship allows us to have an experience we wouldn't be able to get in the classroom and helps us get a broad and realistic perspective of working in the medical world," said Lauren Ebeling, a senior at Lincoln-Way East High School. “Interning here has confirmed my passion for a career in healthcare.” Lauren will continue to pursue a healthcare career this fall at Notre Dame University.
For ten years, the program has provided students with a window to their future. Many former interns have even come back after graduation to work at Silver Cross in many areas including admitting, respiratory therapy, nutrition services and the emergency department.
Over the past five years, Silver Cross has worked closely with the City of Joliet, Will County and State officials to enhance the quality of life on the eastside of Joliet. Our combined efforts have resulted in a much needed stoplight at Briggs & Copperfield Streets; streetlights on both Copperfield & Walnut Streets, the widening of Walnut St. to include more curbs and sidewalks and, soon a picturesque park at the corner of Walnut St. & Route 30.
This park, which Silver Cross has already donated the land for, will be the home of a new life-size sculpture entitle Medical Professionals: Masters of Healing. Created by the Friends of Community Public Art, the sculpture pays tribute to Joliet's dedicated medical professionals and signifies the strong ties that Silver Cross has with the Joliet community and its neighboring towns.
Currently located in the hospital's Francis Pavilion Lobby entrance, the sculpture will be installed later this year in the new park on top of a medically inspired hand-cut ceramic mosaic that will be the permanent home for this impressive sculpture.
In addition to the park, Silver Cross is also working with many of our elected officials to repair roads, curbs and the sewer system that will help continue to make the eastside of Joliet a great place to live and work.
Back to School Fair
For the past 18 years, Silver Cross Hospital has partnered with Catholic Charities Daybreak Center in coordinating the annual Back to School Fair to help children prepare for the start of the school year. The fairs involves 46 health and human service agencies including Silver Cross that provide free service to over 3,000 low-income families living in Will County. Silver Cross employees have volunteered their time and talents at University of St. Francis to immunize children and provide school physicals, asthma screenings, Tuberculosis (TB) tests and lead screenings. In addition, children entering kindergarten through 12th grade received backpacks filled with school supplies.
Drunk Driving Education
For over five years, local High School students witnessed the dangers of drunk driving at the “Road to Reality” program at Lockport East High School in April. With the help of live actors, the impact of drunk driving unfolded before the students’ eyes as they witnessed a series of live scenes depicting students drinking at a party, a motor vehicle crash, a simulated hospital Emergency Department, and ultimately an appearance before a judge.
Students and parents were invited to the program as part of a continued effort to educate area youth on the risks of drinking and driving.
Silver Cross employees volunteered to enact a real Emergency Department experience, simulating care to both the drunk driver and other victims involved in the accident.
Silver Cross Raises over $31,000 for United Way
Silver Cross Hospital raised over $31,000 exceeding its goal of $30,000 to help the United Way of Will County reach its goal of $3.9 million. The Annual United Way Campaign, which kicked-off in mid-March, solicits donations from hospital employees by celebrating the spirit of giving for those in need.
The hospital’s theme for the campaign this year was "Live United-Give United." It captures the commitment that the employees have shown to the community for those that are less fortunate. Hospital employees were asked to participate in the United Way of Will County Annual Campaign by making a pledge through a payroll-deduction program and participating in a split-the-pot raffle.
“The participation and enthusiasm of our employees has been amazing,” says John Guidotti, United Way Chairperson and Director of Internal Audit and Compliance at Silver Cross. “Through their generosity, one in every four Will County residents will benefit from the services provided by the 46 United Way agencies in the county.”
In addition, a new Teddy Bear collection was held where hospital employees donated over 134 teddy bears to support the children involved in the Will County Children's Advocacy Center. These teddy bears will be given to children who are victims of a crime or assault. The Center, which provides counseling and prevention education, allows victims to choose a new teddy bear to aid in healing.
United Way of Will County was formed in 1976 to assure the broadest possible participation for raising funds and meeting the needs of the people in the area. There are currently 46 agencies in the United Way of Will County’s membership.
About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last six consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and eight satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction has begun to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in 2012 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).