By Todd Travis
On Sept. 15, IU Health member volunteers took to Williams Park for their 15th annual Day of Service. This year was particularly special, since it’s the first time back at the park since the pandemic.
“During Covid, we had to change things up and we did some donation drives with Sheltering Wings and worked with food pantries and other local non-profits. We like being at Williams Park because we can get outside of the hospital doors and get into the community. A lot of our team members have kids who play here or grew up playing on the playground themselves,” Said Krystle Barber, Community Outreach Consultant at Indiana University Health.
The group started the day off with 80 volunteers who were helping to paint some of the playground equipment, repair the fence around the playground and also did some mural painting in the towers atop the entrance. About 35 more volunteers came in for a second shift to continue and finish the project for the day.
“I remember when this park was built, and my grandmother lived across the street, so being able to help a community I grew up in grow and flourish for generations to come is really meaningful to me,” mentioned Kirsten Strausburg, Stroke Coordinator at IU Health West.
Before Williams Park was built, Strausburg remembers only having a small aluminum park available near her house, since at the time, Arbuckle was the only other park nearby.
“I live within walking distance from the park, so I had been bringing my dogs here to walk around for a while, and now I have an 18 month-old who loves coming here and playing in the park,” stated Hannah Blakely, Inpatient Med-Surg manager at IU Health West.
According to the IU Health Team, “The IU Annual Day of Service is an opportunity for team member volunteers to take the IU Health mission beyond the hospital walls. Indiana has the 12th highest adult obesity rate in the nation and Hendricks County has an obesity prevalence of 30%. Making improvements to parks and providing environments where people can be physically active is exponentially important.”