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Southern Regional Foundation director recognized for service

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

A long-time employee of Southern Regional Medical Center, in Riverdale, has been recognized for her community outreach initiatives.

Cynthia Jenkins, director of the Southern Regional Medical Center Foundation, was honored for her community leadership, and public service, at a District Appreciation Ceremony, said Claudia Hall, spokesperson for Southern Regional Health System.

The District Appreciation Ceremony, is a recognition ceremony that has been held since 2006, by District 74 State Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam, (D-Riverdale), for residents in areas she represents, encompassing portions of College Park, Riverdale, Fayetteville and Fairburn. It was held at the Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center in Riverdale.

"It's just a way I recognize the community for what they do," said Abdul-Salaam in a telephone interview.

"Cynthia Jenkins is always there behind the scenes working to make things happen -- whether it's at a community event, a fund-raiser or a volunteer project," said Abdul-Salaam, in a prepared statement. "She doesn't ask for anything in return, and that, in my opinion, deserves special recognition."

"The hospital has participated a lot in the community, and that's due to her [Jenkins'] efforts...she volunteers herself, she rolls up her sleeves," said Abdul-Salaam.

Jenkins has been an employee of the Southern Regional Medical Center for seven years, and has been director of the Southern Regional Medical Center Foundation for five years.

"I truly enjoy the work that I do on behalf of the hospital and my community and I am honored to have received this award," Jenkins said in a prepared statement. "Thankfully, I have an awesome staff and support group and they too should be acknowledged for they are the ones that encourage me to keep going."

Jenkins responsibilities as a director for the foundation include overseeing philanthropic support from businesses, foundations and private individuals, said Southern Regional Health System spokesperson Claudia Hall.

"She has taken fund-raising and community awareness to new heights, raising approximately $4 million since she's been named director," said Hall, in a written statement. These funds have enabled the hospital to boost technology and widen services for the community, she said.

Jenkins said her position also requires her to bring various stakeholders together, to provide support not only for the hospital, but the community as well.

Jenkins said in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, La., some victims where transported to Southern Regional Medical Center for healthcare services. The victims were misplaced and had no where to go, and would have been stranded at the hospital if no action had been taken, according to Jenkins.

She said she gathered employees at the hospital to see if they would volunteer their homes as a temporary housing location for these victims.

"Administration was very gracious and they gave me permission to ask employees to help out," she said. "I was not the only one that did this, but I helped [spark] the effort to do that."

Jenkins said she also reached out to local churches and shelters, to see if they were able to admit the hurricane victims.

"I had to quickly identify community resources," she said.

Eventually some of the victims became permanent residents of Clayton County, and the Southern Crescent.

Hall added that Jenkins is a member of the Association of Fund-raising Professionals and the Association of Healthcare Professionals. She also volunteers with the Clayton County Juvenile Court System, where she advocates for children, and adults.