The biannual newsletter of Pasadena’s Convalescent Aid Society is titled Solutions, which might as well be the organization’s name. For Greater San Gabriel Valley residents, the organization might also be called Lifesaver.
In continuous operation since 1923, Convalescent Aid Society (CAS -www.cas1.org) offers medical equipment and supplies for in-home use at no charge and without time restraints. The nonprofit is entirely funded by monetary and equipment gifts and endowments. Amazingly, CAS staff oversees more than 18,000 items—from arm slings and adult diapers to canes, walkers, commodes, bath benches and hospital beds. Equipment is repaired, cleaned and sanitized before being loaned to a new user.
CAS staff administers a database of over 20,000 names of recent borrowers! One of their biggest challenges is tracking equipment and then retrieving it when no longer needed.
When CAS requires extra professional help and specific solutions, a perfect match is Jericho Road Pasadena, whose mission is “matching the professional talents of volunteers with the needs of community-based nonprofit organizations.”
“We have an active and fruitful relationship with Jericho Road volunteers, who have helped us enormously with challenges that we didn’t have the time, finances, or expertise to meet. In fact, I have Melanie on speed dial!” says CAS Executive Director Dan Maljanian.
Director of Operations Jesse Avila explains, “We have a small staff of five full-time and three part-time employees, along with several volunteers, and this is to do everything. We do inventory control and maintenance, public awareness, grant-writing, volunteer training and, most importantly, guiding our clientele to the appropriate medical equipment and supplies.”
Dan, who holds both an MBA and law degree, grew up locally and has a deep-rooted love of the San Gabriel Valley. Jesse, a lifelong resident of Azusa, has a certificate in Mediation from Pepperdine University and extensive experience in volunteer and community outreach. Both Dan and Jesse are passionate about CAS’s mission and its equipment-lending model. To that end, they are designing a unique software database program to sublicense to similar nonprofits.
When they needed additional expertise for these tasks, Dan and Jesse bridged with several Jericho Road Pasadena volunteers, whose professional know-how would enhance CAS’s work:
- Sports and travel journalist Eric created a procedures manual to support Jesse’s operational work and staff training. Eric says he was especially impressed with “the efficiency of the operation. They [run] a great service to the community. Also, they were very respectful of my time.”
- Jesse asked JRP volunteer Mimi, who is a retired superintendent of Arcadia’s schools, to develop a CAS volunteer-training manual explaining duties and policies. Mimi writes, “It’s nice to feel that you can use experience developed over years to help such a great organization as CAS.”
- Retired attorney Alan worked with attorney Dan to initiate legal research and document software licensing for their newly crafted database software. The project is ongoing.
- Communications Consultant Gay ran a communications audit, wrote two CAS newsletters, and helped edit and redesign their website. She writes, “CAS has a clear and well-defined mission. If I hadn’t moved, I would still be volunteering [for them]…JRP is exactly what a fine organization like this needs to fill in the gaps and augment their hard-working staff.”
CAS is always grateful for volunteers, equipment or monetary gifts – www.cas1.org
JRP thanks volunteer writer Lee Wherry Brainerd for this article; Lee is a freelance writer living in Altadena. Over the past 25 years, she has both donated to, and borrowed from, the Convalescent Aid Society.