The San Clemente Collaborative, a consortium of dozens of local charities and organizations, has set its sites on improving access to local, affordable medical care in 2013.
The four-year-old collaborative includes more than 35 organizations, from the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, to Family Assistance Ministries and the San Clemente Community Resource Center, to the City of San Clemente and Mission Hospital. Representatives from each non-profit met this week to network and hash out their goals for the year.
Susan Parmelee, a therapist for Western Youth Services, is the chairwoman of the association. She said she hopes to start the process of setting up a free, full-service medical clinic in town this year.
She said San Juan Capistrano's Camino Clinic has become eligible for federal funds to expand services this year, making a brick-and-mortar clinic in San Clemente more of a possibility.
Also in 2013, Mission Hospital will continue its health fair program to set up tents in the parking lot of Saddleback Medical Center on Camino de los Mares at least once during the year to provide free exams and checkups, Parmelee said.
Other initiatives for the year include gang intervention and youth substance abuse prevention initiatives, affordable family activities and improved senior services, Parmelee said.
The collaborative also wants to get a free movies-in-the-park program working in the city. Such a program used to exist at the Ole Hanson Beach Club, but it cost money for admission. Now that the city owns a large outdoor screen, Paramlee said she hopes she can get sponsors for free weekend movies.
Many of the initiatives cross the spectrum -- for instance, the organizations within the collaborative hope to increase youth volunteerism by recruiting high school students to visit the elderly, Parmelee said.
And that's where the collaborative comes in handy, she said; the quarterly meetings allow all the organizations in town to work more efficiently so they aren't at cross purposes or duplicating services.
Furthermore, the collaborative promotes activities and recruits volunteers for all the organizations in its membership. (The organization thanked Brick Pizza and Dreamy Sweets Bakery for providing the food for Thursday evening's meeting.)
CORRECTION: Because of a reporting error, Parmelee's last name was misspelled in an earlier version of this article. Patch regrets the mistake.