WellLife Network is... Patricia
This is Patricia. She is a Program Coordinator for the Care Coordination division at WellLife Network. She has been at WellLife for 15 years.
Patricia began her work as a Case Manager, providing support and assistance to individuals or groups in need, helping them navigate the complex healthcare systems, access resources, and achieve specific goals. Soon afterward, she advanced to the position of Senior Care Coordinator. Today, she is a Program Coordinator with a caseload of 25 clients and a team of 8 Care Coordinators under her supervision. “I put more emphasis on the staff than the work, and that has worked out very well for me. I have extremely well-trained staff who know what to do and who can think on their feet to manage their caseloads,” said Patricia.
As a Care Coordinator, she works closely with individuals who need extra support and those who want to be heard: “we see a lot of people who just don't have the basics and we get them through whatever they are going through.” For Patricia and her team, it is essential to give their clients autonomy and help them feel that they are in control of their lives.
Pat and her team also oversee the food pantry at their Huntington location. They stock and distribute food every week for individuals who are food insecure. To many community members, the pantry is a critical tool when they do not have enough. To others, the pantry supplements the government assistance they already receive. Unfortunately, there are many cases of individuals who receive government assistance not receiving enough to feed their families. Beyond foodstuffs, the pantry also provides needed goods such as baby formula and diapers, feminine products, pet food, and more that are not usually thought of as “food pantry” items.
“Food insecurity can happen to anyone at any time. We know an individual who was well off, had a great job and a great life, and never thought he would need anything from here, but he was in a terrible accident that severely affected his mobility. He can’t believe it has come to this, but he’s glad there are places like WellLife that help him in ways he no longer can help himself.”
While Suffolk County is known for its affluent neighborhoods, significant economic disparity exists in places like Huntington. Shame is one of the biggest reasons people hesitate to seek services: “There is no shame in coming in when you need food; this is a safe, non-judgmental space. No one should ever feel ashamed for seeking basic needs,” says Patricia. She would love to see more people use WellLife's resources without fear of stigma.
During her 15 years at the organization, Patricia has seen a lot and helped many individuals in their daily lives. She attributes her success to the services WellLife Network offers. In the Care Coordination division, “we are a one-stop shop. We offer food, services, events, and even medicine, thanks to our pharmacy.” A few individuals still in the program credit their progression to Patricia and her team: “Sometimes we help people that are not even in the program because that is just what we do.”