The Davies Project provides transportation to and from medical appointments for children with serious or long-term illnesses. Ensuring children receive the care they need not only helps improve the health of the children, it can also improve the overall well-being of their families.
In this charity spotlight, I spoke with the Executive Director of The Davies Project, Pamela Miklavcic.
Pam is originally from Boston and has always been interested in helping others. She absolutely loved her time in Africa as a part of the Peace Corps and hoped to return there after graduating from Michigan State University. When she learned that her oldest son had leukemia, everything changed.
Her son was ultimately a cancer survivor, but the experience turned Pam’s world upside down and not solely because of the turmoil her family had to endure. Pam was also saddened by the struggles other families faced. The additional stress of an illness and lack of additional support led many families to miss appointments. Divorce was also very common.
In her efforts to help, Pam met Dr. H. Dele Davies, the chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at Michigan State University at the time, and became a board member of the MSU Children’s Health Initiative. Dr. Davies was a major inspiration to Pam and they made great strides toward helping children in need of outpatient pediatric care.
Dr. Davies eventually continued his work elsewhere, but he had made a mark. Pam and others from the Children’s Health Institute decided to start a new organization in 2012 in his honor and continue helping children in the Lansing area.
The Davies Project is dedicated to improving the care of children in Greater Lansing. They provide rides to children and their families to any of the subspecialty clinics at Sparrow, Michigan State University, and the Ingham County Health Department. All volunteer drivers get background and drivers license checks. They also receive a car or booster seat, installation training, and diversity training.
Drivers don’t just take patients to and from appointments. They are encouraged to spend time with the family while they wait for their appointments and make a personal connection with each family they help. Building these relationships not only helps families feel safe and comfortable with their drivers, it can also help at-risk families avoid other common problems such as hunger and homelessness.
In addition to driving services, The Davies Project also helps provide artwork, larger chairs, blanket warmers, and other supplies to outpatient facilities.
The generosity of donors continues to be a pleasant surprise for Pam. She says there’s nothing quite like walking into her office and seeing a $500 check donated by a stranger, but she also knows that The Davies Project has become a part of a lot of positive stories and she knows how valuable that can be.
Pam has a variety of aspirations for The Davies Project. She’d love to expand the driving program to 50 drivers, offering 50-60 rides per week, and improving their handicap accessibility.
Reaching more families is important, too. This could be accomplished by building relationships with more faith groups and hospitals, deepening existing relationships, and offering rides to children’s primary care or helping women get to prenatal care. Pam’s long-term vision also has The Davies Project branching out to other cities such as Ann Arbor, Flint, and Detroit.
If you help manage a nonprofit, treat it like you’re running a marathon and take it one step at a time. Stay true to your mission and always focus on what’s most important.
You should also accept that despite their enthusiasm, volunteers will come and go. Don’t be afraid to make them a part of your family, but anticipate them moving on someday and always keep your eyes open for new volunteers.
For Donors and Volunteers
Whether you want to donate your time, your money, or something else, be realistic about your priorities and give to an organization that is truly important to you. Take a step back from your daily routines and think about what motivates you. Use that to power your decisions.
If you want to learn more about The Davies Project, you can reach them by clicking one of the buttons below.