Patient First Community News

Community Relations News

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See what Patient First is doing in the community.

This week's school partner spotlight focuses on Fort Garrison Elementary. Located near our Lutherville center in Baltimore County, Patient First has had a long history of supporting the school, its 283 students, and the community at large. This school year, we are proud to help provide Fort Garrison with the funding for communications and learning support equipment for their autism programs, as well as a Ballroom Dancing and Family Night for 4th and 5th graders! We thank Principal Dr. Hope Baier, and PTA President Rachel Mogilevsky for their hard work, and allowing us to work with them.

What started as an Eagle Scout project and construction of flower boxes at Uwchlan Hills Elementary School in Downingtown, PA has grown into something much larger. Through a monetary gift from Patient First, this project continues to bloom and grow, with harvests produced throughout the year benefitting the school's "Helping Hands" families as well as the Chester County Food Bank.

Each season 40 to 50 students in first, second and third grades participate in "Garden Club" where they hear gardening stories, assist with planting, weeding, watering and cutting flowers for bouquets. They also help with weighing and bagging veggies the garden produces at harvest time.

School principal Robert Giering along with two faculty advisors, Ms. Kate Cool (second grade teacher), and Ms. Alicia Reiner (first grade teacher) lead the project from school staff. School families and parent volunteers also help the program continue to thrive. Two parents have been particularly instrumental with this project - Heather Landgarden and Ali Bruenderman. They are the "garden experts" and have worked side by side with school staff every step of the way.

Planting begins in April each year and continues in June and August, with crops planted during the appropriate season. Harvesting begins in spring and continues into November. Patient First's donation has helped the Garden Club purchase hoses, gloves and tools for the children as well as added soil and compost, additional native plants and flowers and even umbrellas and cabling for vining vegetables.

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Schools lay at the heart of the community as the constant link that tie people together. Each year Patient First donates to multiple schools in the Mid-Atlantic region to help support the needs of its students.  This year Maude Trevette Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia decided to focus their donation on the purchase of ukeleles.  Music instruction is a great way to help regulate emotions and focus on social and emotional development.  It also creates community, a sense of achievement, and is a great way to build self-confidence.  We hope that these musical instruments allow the kids a comfortable form of self-expression, while creating enjoyable interactions amongst their peers.

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Every year, Patient First selects two elementary schools near each of its 77 centers as a community partner in an effort to further support the health and growth of neighborhood it serves. Our partnership begins with a donation to the school to fund projects or programs that directly benefit the students of each of our partner schools, but it doesn't end there. We continue to engage with the faculty, students and parents at each of these schools through community events like back-to-school nights, family resource nights, health and wellness fairs, school fun runs, and even fall and spring festivals.

This week, we are showcasing Nitrauer Elementary as our Partner School of the Week. Located just minutes from our Lancaster center, Nitrauer has been a committed partner with Patient First for several years. This year, Patient First will be helping Nitrauer Elementary fund student assemblies, and a program of lunches recognizing good student behavior, culminating in a recognition of outstanding students for each quarter.

Patient First thanks principal Smita Weakland, as well as the faculty, staff and students at Nitrauer Elementary for being such great partners, and we look forward to supporting their work throughout the year!

Making our way downtown on the streets of Richmond, Virginia for the 39th annual Dominion Energy Christmas Parade-- what better way to get you in the holiday spirit than a community coming together to spread a little Christmas cheer!

Patient First was excited to be one of 93 parade participants involved this year.  Our wonderful staff came out to volunteer their time and assist with carrying  the giant Abby Cadabby balloon.  Abby is a fairy in training from Sesame Street that was 35 feet long.  This required a bit of determination and a lot of teamwork, especially with an unfavorable forecast. Rain was predicted to begin right before the start of the parade and continue until early afternoon.  With fingers crossed and high hopes for sunshine, the weather did exactly what it said it would.  Parade goers lined the streets with tents, ponchos and umbrellas, cheering us on as we made a splash down the over two mile parade route. Despite the rain, we were still able to have a fun, and memorable experience.  We cannot wait to see what's in store for year 40!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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This year marked our second year of participation in Bethlehem's Christkindlmarkt, and once again it did not disappoint. We were there for Opening Weekend for a full day of fun from morning until evening, and although temperatures didn't rise above mid 20-degrees during the day, it was well worth every hour we were on site. We had a blast and although it was chilly outside, our enthusiasm and the crowd's enthusiasm never chilled. The event runs weekends through December 18, 2022.

We enjoyed a fantastic outdoor location near huge tents that showcased traditional artisans and vendors, food, St. Nicholas and even a German ornament manufacturer. It was so exciting for us to be part of an event that is embedded in the Lehigh Valley, and named one of the top holiday markets in the world by Travel + Leisure, and one of the top holiday markets in North America in USA TODAY'S 10 Best Readers' Choice competition, as well as OprahDaily.com. The event is known for its unique holiday shopping experience featuring thousands of unique handmade gifts. As you might imagine, a visit to the fun events puts everyone in the holiday spirit. We are already looking forward to returning in 2023!

The warm temperatures may have belied the name, but hundreds of people came to Conestoga Pines Park in Lancaster PA to celebrate the return of the Fall Happy Harvest Festival. After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year marked the first time the Lancaster Rec was able to reestablish this celebration since 2019. The day-long event was divided into two parts-- the first part centered around food and a beer garden, while a second late afternoon/early evening event focused on a more family-centric atmosphere. That latter portion featured events like craft making, s'more roasting, pumpkin chunkin', and a comedy magic show featuring "Papa Tater."

This was the first year that Patient First participated in this tradition. Our table was set up inside the barn, where we oversaw the craft tables for kids building fall-themed centerpieces of their homes. While the kids created, parents could come to our table and speak with us, while taking home our promotional items. Over the last few events, an increasing number of families have expressed interest in having us become their primary care physicians, and this event continued that trend.

As with many events returning from the pandemic, attendance reports were down from past years. This year saw an estimated 300 families come out for the second half of the festival. Despite the low numbers we had many productive conversations, and we look forward to seeing attendance rise as we participate in future years.

Nuckols Farm Elementary School was excited to bring back their annual Fall Festival for the 2022-2023 school year.  This was a fun event for the families to enjoy.  From rock climbing to cake walks, a silent auction and bounce houses, there were so many activities for the kids and kids at heart..  Many families dropped by the Patient First table to pick up some goodies, and our very own physician assistant from the Midlothian center was in attendance with her daughter.

As a community partner, Patient First was delighted to attend this event to promote health and wellness.   We all enjoyed ourselves and look forward to joining the Nuckols Farm community next year!

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Each year the amazing Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA hosts its annual "Boo at the Zoo" event in October, and this year was no exception. We were able to join the fun on site on Saturday, October 29 and it was a sensational day. Mother Nature was beyond kind to us, and everyone who came out to enjoy this fun day. We loved the temperature in the mid 60's and the bright sunshine we had all day.

Organizers encouraged participants to bring out their little ghouls and ghosts for this annual Halloween event as the entire Zoo gets transformed for a "kooky, spooky Halloween celebration." And that they did. This family-oriented event attracted hundreds of children and their families. It was such fun to see all the fun and unique costumes that came by to visit with us. Many of the moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas were also in costume, which made things extra fun.

If you haven't visited this beautiful little zoo, we encourage you to do so. The zoo's mission is to foster an appreciation for wildlife and the environment that will inspire active participation in conservation. It has been around for a long time -- since 1924, to be exact. Our hats off to the Norristown Zoological Society, which owns and operates this gem of a family-friendly destination embedded within the community. More than 100 species from around the world call Elmwood Park Zoo their home. This includes giraffes, zebras, bald and golden eagles, jaguars, red pandas, and so much more. It is definitely worth a visit.

Our staff had so much fun interacting with all the people who visited our tent, and we are already planning for our return to participate in this event once again in 2023.

On Friday, October 21st, and Saturday, October 22nd, the campground at Codurus State Park was filled with werewolves, witches, ghouls, and all varieties of ghastly and ghostly creatures for the 2nd annual Codurus Trail of Treats. A tradition that actually began 15 years ago, this event returned in its rebranded form in the wake of the pandemic. Campers and businesses pull out all the stops, while event organizers open up the park to 6,000 ticket holders who wended their way through the grounds, filling up on Halloween fun.

This was our first time participating in this event, and it was certainly an event to remember! A non-stop wave of families streamed past our table and tent, which was not just decked out in some creepy Halloween decor, but also featured a life-sized version of the classic game "Operation," as we invited kids to play the game to win yo-yo's, planes, and hot/cold packs. In addition, every person who came by received one of our Halloween safety blinkers, which were not only a big hit with parents and kids alike, but they also looked really cool when they all were lit up in the buckets as we distributed them! Our staff got a kick out of the wide array of Halloween costumes, ranging from the cute to the terrifying.

With the park being about 25 miles from our East York center, families were familiar with our center and services. Many said they wished we would open a location closer to Hanover to serve their needs. All were grateful, however, for the work we do, and that we came out to talk with them.

This was truly a unique event that was fun for the whole family, and based on both staff and participant reaction, we look forward to participating again next year!

Be sure to scroll through all the pictures, by clicking on the arrows at the side of each photo.