School of Nursing gives back to local community with 100 acts of caring
In the photo above, School of Nursing students and faculty weed the garden at Norton Neighborhoods during the 100 Acts of Caring program.
This past year has been a busy one for the School of Nursing. Started in 1905 as the first school at what is known today as Loma Linda University, the School of Nursing has been celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Centennial events for the School this past year have included a calendar, a book, and focusing on getting information out about the School, but the School of Nursing centennial planning committee wanted to do something special to give back to the community.
It was out of this desire to help others that the idea of 100 Acts of Caring was developed.
“The centennial planning committee wanted a venue and theme from which we could reach out to the community with acts of service as part of commemorating our centennial year,” says Marcia Dunbar, MS, RN, assistant professor
At the entrance to the Norton Neighborhoods residence is the sign signifying the 100 Acts of Caring. In the background, School of Nursing students help repaint a table.
of nursing and chair of the School of Nursing centennial planning committee.
As the committee considered the possibilities, it became clear that there are many needs within a few miles of the School.
The committee partnered with Ronald D. Graybill, PhD, director of the community outreach department, Loma Linda University Medical Center.
A theme of 100 Acts of Caring was adopted as a reflection of a desire to perform 100 acts of service within the week of October 24 to October 30.
Dr. Graybill located sites where all the students and faculty could spend four to eight hours volunteering. He searched especially for venues in the Norton Neighborhoods, which is both a geographic area and an initiative of Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Dr. Graybill then posted a calendar of opportunities including sites such as the San Bernardino County Food Bank, the Anderson School (for developmentally challenged students), and Curtis Middle School. Cassie Olson, School of Nursing student association community service coordinator, also lined up opportunities at Ronald McDonald House.
Many nursing students helped with the Medical Center’s family health fair, offering free immunizations on Sunday, October 30. Literally hundreds of School of Nursing students and faculty participated and served at the various venues.
One of the most diverse sites, and one where scores of nursing students served, was “The Gardens.” The Gardens is the most intensive “hands-on” initiative of the LLUMC community outreach department. It offers after-school programs in the Norton Neighborhoods, specifically at a residence and 1-acre site the Medical Center rents on Norman Road in San Bernardino.
The site is just downstream from the Tippecanoe Avenue bridge across the Santa Ana River, and from the front yard, one can easily see the towers of the Medical Center. There Dr. Graybill and his team offer programs four afternoons per week for the children and youth from the surrounding neighborhoods who walk to the site.
In other words, the community outreach department focuses its local outreach efforts on the areas of San Bernardino and Highland that lie south of Baseline Street and east of Waterman Street—around the former Norton Air Force Base.
The community outreach department reports annually to the State of California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development on all of the
hospital’s community benefit programs, which reach neighborhoods near and far. Whenever possible however, the community outreach department encourages both University and Medical Center outreach efforts to work in the Norton Neighborhoods in order to build community capacity and collaboration with other hospitals as well as with public and private non-profit agencies.
“In the three and a half years we’ve been engaged at The Gardens,” says Dr. Graybill, “we have served nearly 350 children and youth.
“Some have attended two and three times a week throughout that entire time. More than 250 students from Loma Linda University, including nearly 100 pediatric residents, have volunteered at the program.”
More information on Norton Neighborhoods programs can be found at , where a “Volunteer Opportunities” link explains when and how local students and residents can continue to volunteer there.