Partnering with Faith-based Organizations Proves Successful

Weijing Shi,
Manager of Chinese Outreach

Paula Rice,
Manager of African American Outreach

“Pastor, my dad has been acting strange lately. He is very forgetful and gives all of his money away to anyone whom he feels needs it. He refuses any assistance and gets angry when I try to give him advice. He insists he does not have a problem and that he is just doing God’s work. Last week he went to the store four times to buy eggs. I don’t know what to do anymore. I pray every day for him, but this is really scaring me. Could you please speak with him? Please, help us.”

Often people with religious roots turn to their faith-based organization in times of need and uncertainty. Therefore, it is not unlikely that when signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease start to present themselves in a person, families turn to their religious leaders for guidance and support. The African American, Chinese and Latino communities have deep religious roots and forging relationships in these communities is essential to spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s, related dementias, and CaringKind’s unique programs and services.

Historically churches have played an essential role in the lives of African Americans. African American churches serve not only as places of worship but also as safe havens for social gatherings and for discussions about healthcare, education, and politics. Partnering with community churches affords CaringKind the opportunity to spread awareness to a broad base of people: families, spouses, siblings, adult children, doctors, social workers and professionals from the health community. Presentations are conducted on Sundays after church services and it is possible to participate in health fairs, symposiums through church health ministries, and holiday themed activities during Christmas and Easter. CaringKind has also been featured on several religious internet radio stations. African Americans are two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than whites and the church has proven to be one of the most effective ways to get this message into the community.

Partnering with faith-based organizations has also proven helpful for our Chinese Outreach Program. Dr. Samuel Fook Wong, a Pastor of Chinese Promise Baptist Church in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is the head of the Chinese Christian community and he also is a well-known community leader. He uses the church as a community facility to provide various health, social and educational events for people in the neighborhood. CaringKind’s strong relationship with Rev. Wong has allowed us to dive into the Chinese Christian community quickly. In the last two years, Rev. Wong introduced us to the Chinese Christian Association and gave us a chance to make a presentation about CaringKind to more than 20 pastors at the quarterly meeting of the Chinese Christian Association. Rev. Wong also collaborated with CaringKind’s Chinese Outreach to conduct an Annual Health Fair Day at the Chinese Promise Baptist Church.

The Latino Outreach program is also busy spreading the word to clergy. Through outreach efforts, CaringKind has partnered with the Bronx Clergy Task Force (BCTF), to bring educational information to those that are most often asked for assistance. The BCTF is a coalition of multi-denominational pastors that work to bridge gaps in the diverse Latino communities by having open conversations about community-based issues.

Partnering with faith-based institutions has always been an integral part of CaringKind’s outreach strategy. Our relationship within these communities is robust and we will continue to nurture them in days to come. CaringKind aims to provide additional tools for the members of faith to employ when dementia and Alzheimer’s issues arise.

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