Hope Clinic Volunteers: The Heart of Hope

When Dr. Dan Heffernan started Hope Clinic, he saw it not only as a place where those in need could be served, but as a place where people could live out their Christian faith and help others through volunteer service. In 2017, over 35,000 volunteer hours were invested in caring for and serving community members at Hope Clinic.

ForWayne Clinic_Village Dr. Barbara Soyster (pictured on right, back row), volunteering at Hope Clinic is a chance for her to share her faith and gifts with others. Dr. Soyster is an internal medicine specialist in Canton and has been volunteering for over ten years, serving as the Associate Medical Director of the Hope Wayne Clinic. She comes in once a week to see patients and also manages the office and other physicians at the clinic. Dr. Soyster points out that “it takes a village” to serve Hope’s patients and clients. She regularly works with a team of volunteer nurses and staff members, most notably with Nurse Kathie Sauter, who has been volunteering with Dr. Soyster for the past ten years. “No one of us can do it all,” Dr. Soyster said. “We have a great team of volunteers working together to make a difference in the life of each patient.”

A good example of this is the case of “Mr. L”. Mr. L is from another country and is not eligible for healthcare benefits. He was diagnosed with kidney disease, and needed to be seen by a specialist. Dr. Soyster referred him to Dr. Shazia Raza.  Dr. Raza is a nephrologist and Hope Clinic specialty care provider. She agreed to treat Mr. L in her office at no charge.  St. Mary Mercy Livonia Hospital, a Hope Clinic partner, provides him with free testing and lab work. Nearly three years later, Mr. L continues to receive specialized care from Dr. Raza and primary medical care from Dr. Soyster at Hope’s Wayne Clinic. His kidney disease has stabilized. Dr. Soyster is convinced that this patient would be on dialysis or deceased if not for the high quality, coordinated care he has received through Hope Clinic.

Through the remarkable efforts of a small staff and robust volunteer team including medical and dental professionals, Hope Clinic helps more than 5,000 clients and patients each year. We treat each person with dignity and respect and spend time meeting the needs for healing in body, mind and soul of our patients and clients. Nurses provide patients with a welcoming and supportive environment. Our prayer team will often sit and pray with clients, listening and supporting them in faith and love. Food pantry volunteers help clients find the food they need and often share cooking tips and recipes. Social work interns talk with clients, helping them identify challenges in their lives and find workable solutions. Our front desk volunteers help clients enroll and schedule appointments in our various programs. No one of these positions alone could possibly provide the care and support that we are able to provide, together.

Every person in Hope’s “village” of volunteers, in every program area, plays an important part in our work. The relationships volunteer’s build, the gifts they give, and the services they provide are what make it possible for us to help those who come to us in need. We were especially blessed to have over 17,000 volunteer hours donated by medical and dental professionals in 2017. Our volunteers are the strength of our mission and the heartbeat that enables Hope Clinic to be a haven of help and healing.