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What is it you do again?

(Pictured: Left, Terra Mullins – Community Outreach Director. Right, Lora Felger – Community Outreach/Medicare adviser)

By Lora Felger

The job title “community outreach” really isn’t something that immediately tells you what that person actually does. If I say I’m a truck driver, that is self-explanatory. A nurse is a profession universally understood as well. But community outreach? Not so much.

I recently celebrated my 10-year anniversary as a community outreach professional, and I must admit, there are times I still can’t quite put into words exactly what I do. But dang, I sure do like doing it, and some days, I feel like I’m extremely busy trying to keep up with all that outreach entails.

To put things simply, my role in the areas I serve is to place my finger on the pulse of the senior-serving industry and understand how it works. Come to know who and where the best of the best is doing it. And join them. I share what I see and learn with my team at FirstCarolinaCare. We take that information and turn it into better customer services response, better Medicare plan designs and better information on where and how to find the right local assistance. Our community outreach team provides boots on the ground, ears to the wall, hands in the pot representation for every member we serve.

That sounds about as clear as mud to me, so let’s try this. Here’s an example that I’ve had the deepest privilege of helping bring to life in one of the towns I serve: Wake Forest.

For the last two years, I have listened to and marveled at the vision and innovation of the good people working to support the Northern Wake Senior Center in Wake Forest. Executive Director Jennie Griggs, her team of dedicated staff members and her army of volunteers that make up the Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center have seen this organization through some really shark-infested waters. First, there was COVID and the need to learn how to deliver senior center services in ways never done before. Then Mother Nature got involved when a lightning strike set the building on fire. Through it all, Jennie and her team continued to focus on the needs of the senior population living in Wake Forest and have moved “you know what and high water” to deliver it to them by any means necessary.

Through it all, I’ve been watching, learning, attending networking meetings, setting up tables at their health fairs, listening over a cup of coffee and attending the ribbon cutting when the fire repairs were finally over. That was a very special day.

Then, there it is that one opportunity to get in the game and jump on a project that will be something terrific for the senior center, the people of Wake Forest and ultimately the FirstMedicare Direct members I represent. That day came with the Pathways to Wellness Program for Cancer. This program supports the body, mind and spirit in a whole-person, whole-community approach to the fight against cancer.

The entire Northern Wake Senior Center is getting involved in one way or another. Jennie found the dedicated talented professionals who could deliver the services. The Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center delivered the talent to design the marketing materials and spread the messaging via their social media channels. The senior center itself delivered the location, the support materials and the heart to launch this program. Even some of the crafters at the center got in on the act, crocheting lovely pink ribbons in honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And FirstCarolinaCare? We’re so proud to be the First (get it?) to provide seed funding to help make this all happen. We are also tapping into the networking channels in Wake County to get the information about this program into the hands of senior-serving professionals and ultimately to the people who will benefit most. FirstMedicare Direct is part of a greater whole here and so grateful to be on the team.

So, if you were to ask me again, “What is it you do?”, I’d have to say I serve the needs and values of FirstCarolinaCare and its members every day – working to ensure that each county, each town, each neighborhood where we have members knows and connects with the great services and dedicated hearts working to support the healthiest, happiest- and most positive lifestyles possible in our beautiful state.

Interested in learning more or supporting the Northern Wake Senior Center and it Pathways to Wellness Program for Cancer? Please contact the center at (919) 554-4111. The cancer focus is a pilot for many more Pathways to Wellness programs yet to come targeting other diseases and chronic conditions.

Lora Felger is a community outreach/Medicare adviser with FirstCarolinaCare. She’s the mother of two terrific boys, a world explorer and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan. She also has a naughty yet lovable Yellow Labrador Retriever named Harvey.

Like this article? Let us know by responding to FCCOutreach@FirstCarolinaCare.com. Thanks for reading!