Evangeline Colarossi — Staff Writer
Two black, plastic tubs sit outside of Ebby Prewitt’s house in Des Moines, where paper and ink turn into encouragements for healthcare workers, patients, and nursing home residents. Prewitt is a senior Biology major at Dordt University and a local CNA. She realized a student need at Des Moines Christian could turn into a blessing for many others.
Prewitt has worked in a nursing home for several years and noted that patients’ visitors are the highlight of their day and part of their daily routine. Without these visitors, each day can easily become mundane and Prewitt wanted to decrease the distance from the outside world, while still observing social distancing. For the workers that get to return home every day, the increase in work and stressful conditions can be just as hard, and Prewitt wanted to honor them as well.
“No matter what healthcare position they (workers) are in, every single part is important from the doctors all the way down to the CNAs,” Prewitt said. “I wanted to find a way to thank them for the work that they do every day that often doesn’t get recognized, but also the extra work and effort they do during this time to keep everybody healthy and safe.”
Prewitt reached out to the spiritual life director and principal at Des Moines Christian, knowing that the quarantine would greatly impact the service hours that students are required to complete each year. She suggested students “write letters in order to fulfill their service hour requirement”. The project has expanded more than she anticipated, as students’ parents and siblings and Prewitt’s friends at Dordt have started sending in letters too.
“I have been blown away and encouraged by how many people have jumped on the project and shared my information with their friends’ family or teachers in order to bless more people.”
The letters are sorted by recipient and distributed among five different facilities. One collection box is for healthcare workers and the other is for nursing home residents or patients. If people are unable to drop off the letters outside Prewitt’s home, they can email her at email@example.com and she collects letters each week. Prewitt sends out the letters each Friday, leaving something for many patients and workers to look forward to at the end of the week.
“I’d often get frustrated because I’m not a PA yet and I felt like I couldn’t make a difference in healthcare during a time that motivated me to want to go into healthcare even more,” Prewitt said.
Blessing others has been the focus of this project, but Prewitt has learned more about herself as a pre-physician assistant too.
“Through this project I felt like I’ve been able to make a difference even though I am not technically in healthcare yet except for being a CNA. It’s been cool to see how the little things really do make a big difference. I’m excited I can also give some recognition to those that often don’t get enough recognition in healthcare.”
If you would like to send letters to Prewitt’s collection bins, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.