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Mar 29, 2021

The road to recovery for Eastern Iowa families a much softer journey thanks to RVPT’s PCI/29th

There was a need and Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s PCI 29th clinic at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, responded  in true “Making Better Lives’’ fashion.

After presenting the United Way of East Central Iowa with a healthy monetary donation in the fall of 2020, a dedicated and caring bunch from RVPT/PCI/29th, responded a second time in a large, in-kind way.

Pillows!!! Lots and lots of pillows. A hulking SUV filled with the fluffy, cushy comforts many of us take for granted. Little things in life the women and children served by Heart of Iowa are grateful to have.

The Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC), which serves the greater Cedar Rapids area, is one of the many community partners the United Way of East Central Iowa joins with to better the lives of thousands in that community.  Heart of Iowa is a residential women and children program that falls under the ASAC umbrella.

 It reaches — and provides furnished apartments — to women who are pregnant, have children or who are working on reunifying with children or having visits with their children.

There are times when a family may require foster care placement for their children while someone from that family is attending residential treatment. Heart of Iowa was developed to address the counseling needs of the patient while the patient is able to remain with their children and care for them.

“We provide furnished apartments for these families; they receive treatment during the day and spend the rest of the time at their apartment,’’ said Kathy Brogla, Heart of Iowa’s director.

Brogla, a gracious, kind and grateful soul, said many of the women Heart of Iowa reaches are transitioning from being homeless or from incarceration.

“And they don’t have a lot,’’ Brogla said. “They do not have a lot of personal belongings.’’

While the apartments the women and children live in are furnished and must be kept neat and clean, basic items — sheets, blankets and pillows — are not new.

Brogla said the idea of pillows — each resident and their children receiving a new and clean pillow to call their own — seemed like a great idea.

That’s when a United Way representative — a Rock Valley patient — reached out.

Soon the “Making Better Lives’’ ball was rolling and like always, the Rock Valley family, ran with it.

“Rock Valley received an email from a United Way representative who was a patient and saw that we had a white board filled with “to-do’’ things for those in our community,’’ said Tina Brooker, performance enhancement coordinator for Rock Valley’s PCI/29th Clinic. “It’s fun and something that everyone could run out and get. That’s the way stuff works here. You need to do something, you just do it. It was great.’’

Brogla says generosity is one thing, but noted Rock Valley — aside from bettering a community — has a tremendous understanding of the give-back mentality.

“They (the residents Heart of Iowa serves) will be able to put their heads on a pillow and move forward in their recovery program,’’ Brogla said. “ It might be small, but it is a symbolic thing. We now have a full room of pillows, but you would be surprised at how quickly we cycle through them because we have an average of five new families every two weeks. We go through a lot of pillows.’’

The effort drew rave reviews from Kylie Pusteoska, senior manager/annual giving/United Way of East Central Iowa.

“I love everything about this partnership and how it worked out,’’ Pusteoska said. “ We are so thankful for Rock Valley and its employees who jumped up and said: “ ‘Yep, we care about our community and we can do what we can to help’.’’

Now, though, thanks to Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s PCI/29th, the road to recovery for numerous families in Eastern Iowa is a little softer.

By Johnny Marx, Storyteller