The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 11, 2014

Program receives 'Charitable' award

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — I Sing the Body Electric has won its second national honor for its efforts at giving back to the community.

I Sing the Body Electric, an outreach program of Presence United Samaritans Medical Center, was among 10 programs from across the country to be named a “Program of Excellence” by the Hospital Charitable Services Awards, a national program sponsored by Jackson Healthcare.

The 10 programs to receive awards were commended for exceptional work in setting new standards for giving back to their communities in sustainable ways. Each winning program was presented with a $10,000 investment toward their growth.

“We’re extremely honored to have I Sing the Body Electric recognized at this level,” said Dottie McLaughlin, program coordinator. “I truly believe that this program makes a difference in the lives of our area youth.”

I Sing the Body Electric asks Vermilion County youth to identify the top health risks they face. The program then issues a report on the results of that survey. Program workers enlist art teachers in area high schools to work with teens who develop art projects illuminating the risks.

I Sing the Body Electric takes those art pieces on tour throughout the community to get young people talking about the issues they face or are likely to face — including depression, teen pregnancy, and drug and alcohol abuse, bullying and smoking — and help them understand the potential consequences of the choices they make.

McLaughlin traveled to Atlanta last week with Jim Anderson, vice president of development for Presence United Samaritans, for the National Hospital Charitable Services Conference and banquet.

However, they didn’t know that I Sing the Body Electric was one of the top winners until then.

Mike Brown, former regional president and CEO at Presence, nominated I Sing the Body Electric for the award. Then McLaughlin submitted an application. She learned in October that the program was one of 40 finalists out of 178 nominees from across the country.

After that first round of judging, all 40 finalists were given an option to resubmit their applications with changes or more information. McLaughlin took advantage of that, and sent in more photos.

A different set of judges then chose the final 10.

McLaughlin was hoping to be one of the winners, but didn’t know the outcome until the banquet.

“There were a lot of deserving organizations,” she said. “We were exceptionally honored to receive this award.”

The winners received a cut-glass vase with the hospital’s name and I Sing the Body Electric on it, as well as the cash award.

The program is always looking for ways to improve, she said, and the money will help toward that. The students’ messages have an impact on other young people, she said.

This is the second national award for I Sing the Body Electric. The program also received the 2012 Achievement Citation from the Catholic Health Association.

Charles R. Evans, chairman of the Hospital Charitable Services Awards program, said in a press release, “These initiatives are not alone in giving back to their communities. What makes them truly extraordinary is the impact they achieve through their commitment to serving others, and the outstanding ways they make substantial and caring contributions.”

Each nominee had to demonstrate excellence in five areas: community impact, innovation, collaboration, transferability, and best practice.

The Hospital Charitable Services Awards is a national program sponsored by Jackson Healthcare. It recognizes hospitals whose commitment to their community whether defined locally, regionally, nationally or globally goes beyond “community benefit” and “free care” and has led to innovative efforts to improve community health and increase access to health care education and services.

All hospital-funded charitable programs are eligible to participate regardless of the size, tax or ownership model. The national charitable services conference, held last week in Atlanta, brought together individuals and hospitals in an effort to explore evidence-based approaches to community benefit and charitable services.

FYI For more information on I Sing the Body Electric, call 442-6594 or visit