and creates a vision for tomorrow...
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
Georganna Menke, Financial Eligibility Coordinator for Health Services at the Rubin Center for Healthy Aging at Friendship Centers has one of the most rewarding, and most challenging jobs anywhere.
As the face of the Medical and Dental Clinics in Sarasota, Georganna provides eligibility and re-eligibility screening, patient education and advocacy and sometimes, just simply a shoulder to cry on or a hug for someone in need who feels overwhelmed.
“I make sure that each person who comes to the clinic gets a warm welcome. I want them to know we’re going to do everything we can to care for them. I want them to know they mean something to me, and I care about them. I go over the paper work they need to become a patient, and I make an appointment with them to come back with it completed in two weeks,” she explains.
“I don’t judge anyone. I want patients to feel like they have self-respect. I tell them they need to think of themselves and not let their health go, because that’s the first and most important step in getting better. I want them to take responsibility for their care,” she said. “After that first visit I feel I’ve made a friend.”
“It’s very rewarding to me to see how our team helps turn people’s lives around,” she says. That “team” is a dedicated group of retired volunteer physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, dental hygienists, clinic aides, and office personnel. They give their time to serve low income adults 55 and older because they share the heroic spirit of compassion and caring that is the foundation of the Friendship Centers Clinics.
The people who come to her are often hanging on to hope and health by a thread. She has a box of tissues handy when needed – and that’s often.
“When a new patient came in recently crying, I told her it was okay, that she was in a safe place, and that it was going to be all right. We were going to help her.”
“I had a gentleman come in embarrassed and humiliated because he didn’t have any teeth and couldn’t get a job. We were able to help him get dentures. He came back to tell me how grateful he was, now that he was able to work.”
"Each patient is different, and every day is filled opportunities to help with new friends.”
To learn more about the clinic, becoming volunteer, or a patient at the clinic, call 556.3220.