Carepassion in Our Community: We Rise Above the Streets

By: Colleen Phinney, RN, BSN, OCN

Al-Amin Muhammad from We Rise Above the StreetsThe mantra sounds simple: “If we eat, they eat.” Yet the life journey of Al-amin Muhammad (right) has been anything but.

Hearing his story during one of our recent management team meetings left a lasting imprint on our hearts — one that not merely moved us, but moved us to action.

Crouse Community Connections
Al-amin told of once living on the streets of Chicago in total despair. He told us about how he had considered taking his life until the day a total stranger reached out to him with a display of kindness and hope for recovery.

Life-ending thoughts transformed into life-altering days ahead for Al-amin, who earned a college degree and founded We Rise Above the Streets, a nonprofit organization that provides meals and comfort to the homeless and working poor in Syracuse. Many in our community’s homeless population also have substance and/or alcohol abuse issues. So many families are affected by these issues, my own included.

Contagious Call to Action
Al-amin’s story resonated with me; his presentation touched many of us in profound ways. His resiliency and vision are contagious, and we were inspired to think outside the walls of Crouse to our Central New York community.

Sandwiches Made with Love
Fifteen Crouse employees, some with their children, came out for our first Sandwich Saturday, a weekly event that begins at 10 a.m. sharp at Lincoln Middle School. Volunteers make sandwiches with a speed that creates a fun and frenzied experience. There is only one requirement: that you make the sandwich with love. With lunch bags packed, volunteers then converge on downtown Syracuse, delivering the meals and any donations of clothing and personal hygiene items.

Again, there is just one requirement: that you make eye contact. Many homeless people feel invisible, and this connection is an important display of empathy.

Colleen Phinney Crouse Health

Colleen Phinney

Carepassion in Action
The mission of Crouse Health is to provide the best in patient care and to promote community health. We carry that out with what we call Carepassion: treating others with the respect and dignity they deserve. These are not just words on paper, but deeds that represent Carepassion in action in our community. Likewise, Al-amin’s saying, “If we eat, they eat,” is not a mere chant, but part of the mission to help others in our community rise above the Syracuse streets.

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Colleen Phinney, RN, BSN, OCN is the Interim Director of Medical/Surgical Nursing at Crouse Health, where she previously served as the Nurse Manager of 4 South Irving, our oncology unit.

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