Thank you for so many Seasons of Love.
Some of you might know the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent. As we begin to celebrate Lowell Community Health Center’s 50th anniversary, I find myself humming that tune from time to time. The opening lyrics seem particularly apt when talking, as we will be over the coming year, about time, and legacy, and impact. The song opens by asking:
Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes…How do you measure a year?
And in that case, how do you measure 50 years? That, by the way, is a little more than 26 million minutes! Because of all of you, we are, in the truest sense of the word, a community health center. At the core is a commitment to social justice, rooted in a love for this incredibly diverse, generous, sometimes challenging, and always caring community.
50 Stories for 50 Years
One way we will measure the Health Center’s legacy is by celebrating the people we’ve served, the people who have served, and those in the community who have sustained us for five decades. Over the next year, we’ll be sharing many of their stories with you — one each week.
As a new mother, Wendy knew she had a lot to learn. At Lowell CHC, all she had to do was ask.
When Wendy experienced chest pains several years ago, she was scared and didn’t know what to do. A good friend convinced her to come to Lowell CHC — that we would take good care of her.
Thankfully, the pains were nothing serious. But, Wendy knew she had indeed found a place where she felt cared for.
“From the beginning, they always took the time to explain things to me, and in my own language” she says. “Without that, I wouldn’t have known what to do.”
READ PAST STORIES
#1 Sheila: A mother, grandmother, and former nurse, Sheila knew what it meant to care for others.
#2: Donna: Donna has been a part of the health center movement from the very beginning.
#3: Peter: Growing up, Peter always knew he would get involved in health care.
#4: Mercy: Growing up in Kenya, Mercy never could have imagined a career at Lowell CHC.
A Look Back: A Social Justice Movement Takes Root
Your community health center is rooted in the belief that everyone in Greater Lowell deserves access to quality, affordable health care.
In 1965, the national community health center movement launched as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. The first two CHC’s were located in Boston’s Columbia Point neighborhood and in rural Mississippi.
Planting the seed in Lowell
In 1970, the movement came to Lowell. That was when Lowell General Hospital (LGH) established a small, community-based clinic in an apartment at the Shaughnessy Terrace public housing complex. The clinic focused on prenatal and pediatric care, all easily accessible to residents.
Photo caption: Lowell CHC employees during the early years (top) and an artist rendering of the Shaughnessy Terrace public housing complex, site of our first clinic in 1970 (bottom).
Would you or your organization like to join us in celebrating 50 years of cultivating health in our community? To learn about sponsorship opportunities, email us or call 978.746.7891.