Jane Clinard, a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo County and retiree of Bronson Methodist Hospital, sought volunteer opportunities through the local Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). She became the facilitator of the “Every Grandchild by Two” and “Immunize by Two in Kalamazoo” programs, where she has remained for the past years.
The Every Grandchild by Two and Immunize by Two in Kalamazoo are childhood immunization programs that utilize senior volunteers to assist families in keeping children less than three years of age immunized on a timely basis.
Clinard was quick to recognize that the skills she gained as an employee of a hospital could be applicable to these programs.
As an Immunization Coordinator, Clinard provides information to prospective parents regarding the importance of protecting their children from immunization-preventable childhood diseases. For every single dollar spent on prevention, ten dollars are saved in treatment costs.
Upon receipt of the names of children under three who are delinquent in obtaining timely immunizations, Clinard prepares individual phone scripts for each child, selects the appropriate volunteer and supplies all necessary information for the volunteer to complete the assigned calls. If a phone has been disconnected or there is no phone service, Clinard initiates the appropriate individual letter.
Clinard also compiles the necessary data collected for the Department of Human Services and assists with keeping Senior Services records, accurately reflecting current family addresses and immunization status, thus enabling both programs to run as efficiently as possible.
An offer of transportation to an immunization site for parents of children under three years of age is made at the time of each individual contact. Out of county residents receive one initial reminder letter and an explanation why the family will no longer be on the call or mail list.
Reminder telephone calls are routinely made to the families, and are consistent with the recommended immunization schedule provided by the Centers for Disease Control. If the family has no telephone service or the volunteer notes that phone service has been disconnected, reminder letters are sent in an effort to maintain contact.
In 1998, Clinard facilitated 30 volunteers who made approximately 1,000 contacts with families who went on to have their children immunized. Clinard's volunteer hours provided an estimated $1,238 in savings to the agency.
Through her diligence with the two programs and working with other community agencies, she has seen Kalamazoo County improve its immunization of children under three years of age go from less than 42% to 92%.