November 25, 2014
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Dermatologists’ commitment to serve more than skin deep
Jennifer Rodrigues
PLACE TO PLAY: In addition to clearing brush from the parking lot and painting a fence, one group of volunteers was assigned to weed the children’s playground at the center.

A group of dermatologists grabbed their sunscreen and headed to the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center (EBC) in Conimicut Friday to spend the afternoon giving the Center’s grounds a facelift.

The staff of Dermatology Professionals, a practice in East Greenwich, celebrated the fourth anniversary of the opening of their offices by spending the day volunteering to weed the parking lot and children’s playground, clear out brush and paint a fence on the property.

Michele Crudale, the practice manager at Dermatology Professionals, explained that the community service day occurs every year on a Friday in July to celebrate the office’s anniversary and as a way to do their part for the community. A group of employees are given the task of finding a non-profit organization to work at.

“Wherever the need is, we want to help,” said Crudale. “I think it’s been helpful.”

For the annual project, the office is closed, however it is a paid workday for the employees. Close to 55 employees arrived at EBC at 9 a.m. and planned to stay at the property until the job was done, making sure to take breaks to reapply sunscreen. Later in the day, they planned to have a celebratory barbeque for their anniversary.

Warwick resident Judy Armstrong works for Dermatology Professionals and was one of the employees responsible for finding this year’s location.

“A lot of people wouldn’t accept us because of such a large group,” said Armstrong. “It’s hard to find a place that will take you.”

The only criteria when finding a location is that is must be a non-profit organization. For example, the first volunteer project was with Habitat For Humanity, and Armstrong explained that they would love to work with Angels on Horseback in the future.

But for this year, Armstrong said Donna Coleman, residential manager at EBC, was “fabulous” to work with and was able to accommodate the large group.

Coleman said the EBC Center gets calls throughout the year for volunteer opportunities and she was more than happy to accommodate the group, however, she wasn’t sure they would have much to do.

The volunteers called Coleman around March about a summer cleanup.

“Who’s thinking about cleaning,” joked Coleman, saying they were still clearing away snow.

Regardless, members of the staff came out and conducted a site visit with Coleman to determine what could be done.

“We felt it wasn’t enough. We didn’t want to waste their time,” said Coleman. “I didn’t want to waste 50 people’s time.”

However, the office staff believed they could make a difference and Coleman was speechless when she saw what they had done. The overhanging branches were gone, the playground was cleaned out for the kids and the team was hard at work painting a fence.

“We are so happy,” said Coleman, adding that the parking lot area is often the first impression of the Center and to have it looking clean and neat will make a difference.


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