Imagine – being a college graduate, standing on your own two feet, and working at your lifelong dream… Bam! A spinal injury. Worse yet, the side effects from the medication induce mental health problems. Terrified to go out in public, you are in a rut, literally running circles wearing out the carpet. It’s only a matter of time before rent is unable to be paid and cast out of your apartment. Everyone thinks it cannot happen to them. But you find yourself homeless. This is life. Reality.
It is all too much. Help is desperately needed. This is the story of Michael McBride, who has gotten his life together through the gracious help of the Saban Community Clinic. Not only that, he now serves as one of the board members. The Saban Community Clinic has a unique structure with fifty percent of its board members drawn from actual patients to give voice to the otherwise unheard. In a world where everyone takes, it is touching to hear about an organization that gives for a change.
The Saban Community Clinic first opened its doors in 1967 as the Los Angeles Free Clinic. They help individuals who fall in the gap of the income brackets to get healthcare; ninety-five percent of patients are working poor and eleven percent are homeless. Serving nearly twenty thousand people with more than ninety thousand yearly visits, no one is turned away. They remain committed to keeping their doors open regardless of their ability to pay. With their mission to provide affordable access to medical, dental, and mental health services, this would not be achievable without the generous contributions from the community.
On the twenty-fourth of November, the Saban Community Clinic hosted their thirty-eighth annual dinner gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and the benefit event garnished 1.4 million dollars to continue to fight the good fight. They honored Doug Herzog, President of Viacom Entertainment Group, with the Friends of Saban Community Clinic Leadership Award, and Lisa Gritzner, President of Cerrell Associates, Inc., with the Lenny Somberg Award.
While they say laughter is the best medicine, comedian and the master of ceremonies Chris Harwick, asserted medicine… is the best medicine. He further praised the organization for doing real good. Many celebrities were in attendance at the event. Actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan lit up the room with a standup set (and I assumed they paid him in hot pockets). The evening ended on a high note with singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson performing a few songs about love.
The Federally Qualified Health Center has three locations: two in Los Angeles and one in West Hollywood. If interested in helping their cause or desire to learn more, please visit www.sabancommunityclinic.org. Miracles happen every day, just look in the right place.
By Chris Wong