High Schoolers Provide Mental Health Funding for Healthcare Workers

NEW ORLEANS – From Remedy Ribbons:

One of the great realizations from the COVID-19 pandemic has been how much society depends on frontline healthcare workers. With limited protective gear, scarce resources and so much uncertainty, hospital support staff, nurses, doctors and others have risked their lives on a daily basis to treat patients and fight the spread of the virus. The constant stress is exacting a cost with more stories coming out about how these workers are being affected and the necessity for mental health services to attend their trauma.

Zachary Wilkins, a junior at Lusher High School, felt frustrated as he watched the 24/7 news reports about the pandemic’s rising morbidity and rates, and the toll it was taking on healthcare workers. He thought that these courageous people needed to be acknowledged, and their mental health needs addressed. With help from fellow students and his family, Zachary created a nonprofit organization, Remedy Ribbons.

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The group has started a fund that will provide financial assistance for programs that support our healthcare heroes’ mental health, and they’ve developed a way to show public appreciation for the workers.

“They put their lives on the line, and this an opportunity to show our gratitude,” Wilkins says. “We are putting up displays of blue ribbons in areas around hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities, letting these courageous people know how grateful we are for their selfless work.”

The group is collaborating with another nonprofit, SisterHearts, on securing the ribbons. SisterHearts is a re-entry program for women ex-offenders that operates a thrift store, allowing formerly incarcerated individuals to work and heal in a safe environment. The organization also provides a number of programs to assist ex-offenders as they reintegrate into society.

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“We are humbled to be part of this amazing effort being created by our youth of today. They recognize the sacrifices being made in the communities and want to be part of the solution. Remedy Ribbons offers help to those who need it the most” says Maryam Henderson-Uloho, CEO/founder of SisterHearts, Inc. “As formerly incarcerated individuals, we are all part of this greater community, celebrating and supporting each other.”

Remedy Ribbon volunteers have been putting up ribbon displays in the vicinity of Children’s Hospital and Lambeth House, so medical personnel can see the ribbons as they arrive and depart for work. Currently the mental health services fund stands at more than $5000, and Wilkins is hopeful that once people see the ribbon displays and know about the effort that they will make individual donations (https://www.remedyribbons.org/donate).

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