CareOregon SPIRIT

Give2Get program is ready to launch

Mae Wilson, Give2Get Program Manager
Mae Wilson
Give2Get Program Manager

Would you please tell us about yourself, including your work background and personal interests?

I'm originally from the east coast and moved to Portland 10 years ago.  My first job in Oregon was for a wilderness therapy organization that worked with youth demonstrating addictive behaviors.  We would backpack through Oregon's most rural areas and have nightly groups around the fire.  My background is in social work and I have spent the past decade working for a variety of nonprofits in Portland.  I've always enjoyed being involved in some form of volunteering and currently serve on the Citizen Review Committee that provides civilian oversight of the Portland Police Bureau.  In my free time I like working on various house projects and singing karaoke -- Salt n Pepa, Skeelo, Positive K -- I have a tendency towards 90s hip hop one-hit wonders.

For our readers who may not have an understanding of the Give2Get program, could you please explain the purpose and the goals of the program?

I joined the CareOregon team in October as the program manager of Give2Get, which is funded completely at this time by CareOregon.  Give2Get is one of the original programs that the Learning and Innovation Team devised last year, along with Food Rx and MEDS.  In a nutshell, Give2Get is a volunteer program where members can connect with one another to share their skills and provide help to one another.  Imagine a member who has to go to the hospital but does not have the social network or financial ability to find a pet sitter.  Give2Get would enable such a person to meet someone who would be eager to help them by providing pet care.  At Give2Get we believe everyone has something they can give, regardless of their physical abilities.  During the original pilot we found many members appreciated the opportunity to simply connect with one another and build their social network, which is the ultimate "Get" that we are attempting to provide.  Many of our members experience a high degree of social isolation, which leads them to experience bouts of depression and loneliness, without a support network to lean on during times of need.  Give2Get provides a safe venue for members to lean on one another and eventually make new friends.

When will the Give2Get program officially launch?  Would you give us a few examples of some of the initial Give2Get goals?

Give2Get is slated to launch in January.  As the program is being built, one of the key considerations has been how to enable the program to reach as many members as possible.  To achieve this, the program is strategically partnering with organizations that serve a large percentage of our members with the intent of bringing the program into the daily life of our members.   This approach will also help us build stronger connections to various organizations that provide services that can have an impact on the health of our members.  Our first partners will be REACH Community Development and the Housing with Services collaborative that includes CareOregon.