Feeling the Power of Giving
KP's Georgina Garcia Has Deep Connections to the Community
Georgina Garcia is the executive director for the Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. She oversees the daily operations of the organization’s 305-bed West Los Angeles hospital and its 2,500 hospital and health plan employees. She explains why volunteering in the community is so important to her.
My passion for volunteerism and interest in nursing intersected when I was 14, working as a "candy striper" on Saturday mornings at a local hospital. I loved every minute of it. Since then, volunteerism has become an integral part of my work and personal life. It has taken on many different forms over the years and has shaped who I am - as an individual, a mother and as a professional.
I have taught conversational English to native Spanish speakers in my community; volunteered at community clinics and at numerous health fairs and events; worked in the school library at my son’s school assisting children with research and cataloguing; and one of my favorite traditions to this day is volunteering as a family during the holiday season.
Every year around Thanksgiving I find a few volunteer opportunities that we can participate in as a family. We then discuss our experiences (or adventures, as they often are) in volunteering at our Christmas Eve gathering. I also plan on becoming trained as an adult literacy coach in the near future, as I am passionate about reading.
As a volunteer, I am particularly sensitive to and interested in improving the health care needs of our most vulnerable populations, many of whom reside in our service area at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles.
I have experienced first-hand what it is to live in an underserved and low-income community, to be uninsured, and not know where to turn if something happens to you. I went through that in my young life when my family first immigrated to this country from Cuba. I understand what it is to live with that uncertainty, and it can be very unsettling.
My experiences serve as a constant reminder of why it’s so important that we take time out of our busy lives for those who need it most. It’s what drives me to do the meaningful work that we do every day, and seeing the direct impact of our efforts is not only rewarding, but it’s paramount to the Kaiser Permanente mission.
I have become very involved in developing a new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, located in the heart of South Los Angeles. This hospital has deep roots in this community, having served as a 461-bed general acute care hospital for 35 years until it lost its accreditation in 2007 and ultimately closed.
It has been a wonderful and meaningful experience to share our best practices, leverage our healthcare expertise and knowledge to significantly enhance its maternity services.
Opportunities to give back are everywhere, and the more we take advantage of these opportunities, the more we will benefit as individuals, and as an organization. I always applaud and celebrate the efforts of my staff who make contributions – whether small or large - to society. I feel fortunate to work for such a generous organization that recognizes opportunities to give back to these communities in need and lend our support.