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Painting, Planting, and Providing an Ear: MLK Day of Service

Volunteers. Helping in ways that can’t always be foreseen, and can’t ever be measured.

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“I feel that we all are blessed with work, so it’s nice to give back. It’s doing good, but it also feels good.” So said Rosie Zuniga, LVN, Baldwin Park Medical Center, about her volunteer experience on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. “When you give back, you’re not just helping someone else, you’re helping yourself.”

Rosie provided free blood pressure and BMI screenings, and was one of more than 600 hundred Kaiser Permanente Southern California employees and physicians who lent their time and talent to communities across the region in a Day of Service honoring Dr. King.

Food was donated, packed and shipped by the ton. Playground walls were painted and shelter yards were spruced. Used bicycles were donated, tuned up and readied for kids in need. Meals were lovingly prepped, cooked and served, as seen in the video above.

But volunteering is rarely about recognition. “We were very poor growing up,” Rosie confided. “Giving back got me where I am now, and I’m very grateful for the help we got. So any opportunity I get to volunteer, I’m there.”

She’s also passed the volunteer torch forward. “I’ve taught my kids to do the same,” she explains. “My son is a huge Red Cross volunteer. My daughter, also a nurse, volunteers in homeless shelters. We did that as a family when they were little, serving meals at Christmas. We still do. Now, I love working for an organization that encourages us to volunteer.”

Rosie Zuniga’s recent day of service took an unexpected turn – proving that sometimes there’s an even greater reward to community service. “A woman came for the blood pressure test, and she was pretty depressed. Her BP was really high. I took the time to sit with her and just listen. I was also able to get her an appointment for help that same afternoon. When she left she wasn’t crying, and she was happy that she was going to be seen that day. She was very grateful.”

Volunteers. Helping in ways that can’t always be foreseen, and can’t ever be measured.

Check for year-round volunteer opportunities on the “Be Involved” section of our Community Benefit website. Employees can also visit kpcares.org.