Westlake teen creates outlet for positivity
Avery Junkins witnessed family struggling with stress from work and feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic. She is currently working on earning her Gold Award, the highest award you can earn in Girl Scouts. She wanted to make a difference in the community and create a sustainable way to get messages to both patients and caregivers, so over the last year and a half she developed a solution which she calls “The Positivity Postbox.”
The Positivity Postbox is inside the lobbies of both University Hospitals St. John Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital. It is a collection box for people in the community to submit anything for caregivers or patients. The contents are distributed to those who need them. Examples may include handwritten notes of appreciation, encouraging letters, small crafts, inspiring quotes, painted rocks, or tokens of appreciation.
The goal of this project is to bring hope and positivity to others. The purpose of this project is to connect the community with the hospital. By supporting people and sharing kindness, we improve the mental health, well-being, and thus healing and overall health of others.
Research has shown that when patients have supporters encouraging them, they heal and recover faster. Caregivers who feel appreciated and feel their work is impactful have increased job satisfaction and higher retention rates. Avery says,
"I think the Positivity Postbox could really make a big impact on our community for people both working and receiving treatment at the hospital," Avery said. "This project gives the community the chance to help others and share kindness."
Anyone can contribute and you can be creative. Show love and sincerity. Everyone can tell a story about how COVID has impacted them personally, or how someone they know has suffered with a loss or known a caregiver struggling. You have the opportunity to make an impact.
To participate, simply make a submission, designate it for caregivers or a patient, and deliver it to the Positivity Postbox at either location. Hospital staff and volunteers within the medical facilities will be emptying and distributing the submissions to caregivers or patients as designated as they are received.
To learn more or if you have a question, contact Penny Evans, the Volunteer Service Director at UH St. John Medical Center, at Penny.Evans@UHhospitals.org, or MaryBeth Thoburn at Fairview Hospital at firstname.lastname@example.org.