All About Community Care


Listen in to a special recap from the final podcast of a three-part webinar series called CARE is a Four-Letter W*rd, focusing on community care. 



0:00:06.6 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. And we have our final in a three-part series on care. Today, we’re talking about community care. What is out there in the community that can help us all be better people? Let’s listen in.

LJJ: Tasha, you’ve mentioned 30-hour work week. Tell us about how that impacted your organization, and why you did it, and if you recommend it.

0:00:32.7 Tasha Blackmon: Yes, so the reason why we actually did it is because we are required to have services offered early morning, as well as late into the evening. Late into the evening meaning 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. So, because our demand softened significantly during the pandemic, we actually just consolidated our hours to match our demand. And it was great. So it allowed us to cut our expenses significantly during that time, but it also allowed us to keep more people employed. So, instead of keeping everyone at 40 hours and then laying off more individuals: If you think about it, for every three individuals, we were able to save another person’s employment because they were working 30 hours instead of 40. So I would recommend it when you’re struggling, because the truth is if you don’t have the revenue coming in, your only recourse, if you don’t have additional funds coming in like the funds Christy received, the PPP loans, is you’ve got to cut your expenses. So I did work for Cherry Health. We were able to consolidate our services into specific locations, which meant less cost for security and all of those other overhead expenses that we got to cover, and it worked well for our organization.

0:02:00.3 TB: And as a result, we came out of the pandemic with cost savings that we didn’t even anticipate. And the truth is, most of our staff are back. We got about 97% of our staff that are back on the job. We do have an additional 3% that goes to transition either into stay-at-home roles or transition away from Cherry Health, but we were happy with the 97%.

0:02:30.2 Scott Dobson: Speaking of the chat: Every website that we talked about today is listed in the chat, so you can go in there and connect on any of those.

0:02:38.6 LJJ: Christy, and I think this is absolutely, just so… I’m so glad this question was asked. The question is, our kids and our teams, our young adults have gone through so much during the pandemic, is there something very specific that you suggest that we should do to keep an eye out, make sure our heart’s in the right place when asking the right questions?

0:03:00.4 Christy Buck: Most definitely. And we know again that we’ve seen a lot of changes in everything in life. And for kids there is difficulty, and this is part of their brain development, okay? There’s a lot of things that they can’t process like adults to work things out and figure things out or go to the right people. So this is where it’s super important to be aware and look for changes in teens’ behavior, where they are isolating more, taking risks that they typically don’t take, not being able to go to school, grades dropping, hanging out with friends that they wouldn’t typically hang out with, spending time in their room more often. And don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation with them and tell them what you are noticing in a change in their behavior. Oftentimes, we’ll just dismiss it for typical behavior. And if it is not typical of them, I need to make sure that I’m reaching out. Two weeks or longer is my marker of a change in someone’s behavior. And it’s never too soon to start a conversation.

0:04:04.9 CB: In addition, there’s been a lot of losses for students right now. Sports have been cancelled. We know this. Musicals have been canceled. Plays have been cancelled. Clubs and organizations that kids are typically involved with, they have been postponed. They meet virtually, whatever. Keep mindful of watching changes in behavior for two weeks or longer. And if my son/daughter was involved in the something and suddenly now they’re not going to be involved in that, that is a warning sign to get involved. Find something that they want to get involved with to replace the thing that they are dropping.

0:04:47.5 SD: Thank you, Christy. We’ll do a recap here. Let’s all just talk for a minute about maybe what you learned and what you might recommend to the panelists going forward from today. Tasha, we’ll have you start.

0:05:00.6 TB: I always learn so much when I listen to Christy. She knows that I admire her work with the Mental Health Foundation. And Cherry Health will be a part of your walk. So we’re really excited to partner with you on your walk. And Dante, he is incredible. I’ve always learned so much from Dante. I think that the economic prosperity for all is something that truly resonates with me, and we’ve done so much work within our organization to push us closer to a living wage, even in this environment, which when you can make $16 an hour at Sam’s Club or Costco, it becomes very difficult to compete for staff really with a job that I would say is higher stress, more pressure. So, I’m taking with me some of the comments that both Dante made about the economic prosperity for our folks and the Mental Health Awareness information that Christy shared.

0:06:11.0 SD: Thank you, Tasha, so much. Dante, what recommendations do you have for us in connecting with our community?

0:06:17.3 Dante Villarreal: My biggest thing is what makes community is all the individual parts, and you need to plug in. You need to connect. You need to reach out. This is not… In West Michigan, I think sometimes we don’t want to ask for help. We don’t want to raise our hand. We don’t want to… This is not the time. Take the first step with those that you are most comfortable with and reach out. And connect and ask and be intentional in sharing where you are at. And who else… Ask, “Who else can I talk to?” This is not the time to just to stay within our four walls, and this can be done virtually as well. Reach out to as many individuals on a virtual platform. So, my biggest thing is, is that there’s so many resources out there. The need is great, but I think there’s so many caring people and leaders and community individuals that hopefully there’ll never be a pandemic again, but if there is, I don’t think there’s any other place that I’d want to live through it then here in West Michigan.

0:07:24.3 SD: Thank you, Dante, appreciate that. Christy, when we think about our community’s mental health, what do you suppose our biggest takeaway should be today?

0:07:32.7 CB: Well, what I’m taking away is total passion for our community from both our speakers, from Dante and Tasha. It fired me up about the Chamber today, and I just love what the Grand Rapids Chamber does. And they are so on top of what’s happening in our business, the economy, and they’re just a wealth of information, knowledge and connections. All about collaboration. Cherry Health, it’s kind of crazy, but 34 years ago, I started in the professional mental health and my office was on the lot where the Cherry Health building stands. So, I’m a product of all of the re-organizations. I actually was a Cherry Health employee, so I just feel we are so fortunate to have a leader in Tasha with such an amazing organization that just does so much for our community. And organizations like Cherry Health and Grand Rapids Chamber make so much tick. So, they are the talk, and I appreciate. I’m honored to have been on this committee with the panel with them. And obviously, Lynne goes way back with my husband to when he was five years old, so I’ve kind of grown up with Lynne from my marriage days. So you know what? Our paths are always crossing Lynne and I just love… You’re dynamite. And Consumers Credit Union is really fortunate to have you. Scott, thank you so much for being a moderator of this amazing discussion today.

0:09:08.6 SD: Absolutely, and my pleasure. Ms. Lynne Jarman-Johnson, what’s our final recap today?

0:09:14.5 LJJ: I know, I can tell you, I learned three things today, and they… I almost want to tear up, to be honest with you, because I do believe that all of us are in this together. We have had a wonderful care series this entire month about how to really think about yourself, about your teams, and about our community, which is so important. And I think the three things that I learned start with the overall, and Dante, you said it, we have a greatest opportunity right now for us to do good, all of us, every single one of us. And so, these three things I heard: Push the reset button. It’s okay to close your eyes and dream of being to the next level of where you want to be, whether it be giving back in the community, reconnecting with your family, holding those close to you, but picking the phone up and reaching out. I just think that is a wonderful gift that you gave us. Number two, Christy, look for changes. We all can get so busy, and now I think we get even a little reticent. It’s not even busy, it’s like, “I don’t know if I’m supposed to reach out right now, because maybe we’re supposed to be feeling sad.” Well, of course, we feel sad, but those changes, Christy, you talked about, are life-saving changes. And so, I think that is absolutely important to look back, and that’s what I’m going to do this week.

0:10:39.5 LJJ: And then finally, I just, I can’t say enough about join a networking group. Become involved in the chamber. Become involved in networking. Become involved in these webinars where you can ask questions. We had phenomenal questions today, but all of the different groups, Dante, that the Grand Rapids Chamber has, is incredible. There’s also the Hispanic Chamber. There’s all of the organizations that are focused on helping us succeed in business, which guess what happens? When that happens, we also then succeed in volunteering. We succeed in giving back. And so, for that, I can’t thank you enough, Dante. Scott, it’s just been an absolute joy. And every single one of the panelists today have one thing in common, and that is passion to connect. So anybody who is on and would like more information about Cherry Street Health, about Be Nice Mental Health Foundation and about the Grand Rapids Chamber and all of the different ways that you can get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you so much for joining us. All three of our care series is on our website as webinars to watch. Consumerscu.org/events. Head on over and listen into self care, team care, and community care with experts caring for you. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union.

0:12:02.6 S1: Thank you so much, Jake Esselink for all your production skills, and Adrian Marx, who helped put the webinars together in a way that it was just so exciting and fun to listen to. Again, have a wonderful week everybody, and if you have a topic you’d like to share, please share it with us. Lynne Jarman-Johnson. Money, I’m Home, with Consumers Credit Union.


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