CAREGIVERS Faith in Action® Vision for Ventura County

by Carol Leish

According to, Tammy Glenn MBA, Executive Director of CAREGIVERS: “In 1984, from the Robert Wood Johnson’s Faith in Action ®, is what is at the heart of the Volunteer Caregiving Movement. This helped to fuel the early volunteer force behind our communities, which has evolved. Now volunteers are recruited from faith communities, which continue to play an important role. When a community has gaps in services, agencies, organizations and faith communities form a coalition that is committed to ensuring that individuals’ needs for in-home care will be met.”

“Faith in Action ® originated through the interfaith collaboration,” according to, Teri Helton, RN, Community Engagement Coordinator at CAREGIVERS. “And, I am hopeful that it will embrace that model. To that end, all faith communities are welcome to participate, including churches, temples, mosques and gurdwara’s.”

Helton said, “Each congregational collaboration with CAREGIVER’s Faith in Action ® program will be based on what the congregation wants and needs. For example, youth in a congregation may partake in the CAREGIVER’s Building Bridges program to lend a helping hand to older adults in the congregation with their yard work or light housekeeping or maybe cleaning out a garage.”

“Volunteers can become involved and realize the importance of having a Health Ministry or Care Team that can benefit their congregation in order to: 1) Sponsor health-related programs to build healthy communities; 2) Nurture core spiritual values through support groups; 3) Enhance the meaning of life through providing service and volunteering; and, 4) Strengthen congregational and community ties and support through education.”

“The goals of the Faith in Action ®,” according to Helton, “would include: helping the congregations to support their leadership and the individuals in the congregation by linking volunteer services to the older adults and to those with disabilities, while at the same time providing a link for those who would find meaning through volunteering. Health education would also be included, which would provide support through building and/or supporting a health ministry or care team.”

“The Whole person inclusive of the body-mind-spirit of each individual is a prime focus of the Faith in Action ® model,” according to Helton. “We would do this by offering education that promotes whole person health, providing volunteer service and supports to help individuals be all they can be in their own homes; and, encouraging individuals to become volunteers in order to bring meaning to their lives.”

Thus, in summary, according to Glenn: “The impact of Interfaith Volunteer Caregiving is that it is a successful movement that has the potential to continue to change American culture and attitudes towards aging and towards people with disabilities. Thus, we have an opportunity to adopt and celebrate the common threads that unite us and to demonstrate the renewed and powerful resolve that come from Faith in Action ®.”

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