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Dear Community Partners and Friends:

We are writing to share information that we hope will help you or someone you care about. We’ve partnered with public health experts in Northeast Florida to raise awareness of the connection between tobacco use and COVID-19---as well as free resources to help people quit tobacco.

Early research suggests smokers who become infected with COVID-19 may be at higher risk for serious health complications. We also know that using e-cigarettes can increase your odds of developing respiratory disease by 95%. Quitting tobacco has always saved lives. But today, it may save even more lives.

Visit to access free tools and services for quitting or to learn more about tobacco use and COVID-19. For tips on how to talk with kids about vaping, please visit this blog.

We hope you will join us in sharing this important information with others and the families you serve. Click the link below to get started. Thank you.

Respectfully Submitted,

Aida Seeraj, MBA

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Inspire to Rise Center

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Jacksonville, Florida - Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) and Inspire to Rise are cutting the ribbon on a free healthcare clinic, one which will serve the working uninsured in Westside Jacksonville. This clinic is the culmination of months of hard work shared by the two agencies.

VIM CEO Jennifer Ryan and Inspire to Rise Founder Aida Seeraj first connected last summer when they discovered that many of VIM’s patients were living in the area surrounding Inspire to Rise. They made it their goal to open a free healthcare clinic on the Inspire to Rise campus.

“It is so important, now more than ever, to bring healthcare services to the people who lack access to them,” says Ryan. “Meeting Aida was destiny. Her new community center, Inspire to Rise, is exactly where Volunteers in Medicine needs to be.”

For Seeraj, VIM is an essential part of a model of holistic care. While Inspire to Rise currently provides family counseling, for example, unaddressed illnesses such as diabetes can sap the hope and resolve needed by those families to overcome other challenges.

To garner the support necessary to move forward, Ryan made a proposal to the City Council while Councilman Ron Salem championed the expansion. $97,871 was approved to fund the beginning of the project. With that initial funding, VIM and Inspire to Rise worked together to make the clinic a reality.

This is a prayer answered for the people living in the surrounding community. The uninsured rate there is 13.6%, higher than the county as a whole. More overdoses occur in that zip code area than any other in the county. It also has a 30% infant mortality rate, exceeding national and state levels, as well as the highest ER Utilization Rate in Duval County.

The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting, which will take place at 9am on Tuesday, June 9. The new Westside Clinic is located at 5927 Old Timuquana Rd.

About Volunteers in Medicine

Founded in 2003, Volunteers in Medicine is a free healthcare clinic that provides outpatient primary and specialty medical services to Northeast Florida’s working, low-income, uninsured individuals and their families. Over 140 volunteer physician, nursing and support staff from across the region donate their time and talent to keep families healthy, employed and out of the hospital emergency rooms.

About Inspire to Rise

Inspire to Rise was established in April 2018 by like-minded individuals in pursuit of sharing their passion for helping children, families, and individuals by offering comprehensive evidence-based and best practice services. Their goal is to help inspire and holistically treat an individual’s heart, mind, and soul through actions and services that create an impact.

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Inspire to Rise, Inc. has officially partnered with Jewish Family Community Services & the Max Block Food Pantry to have food bags available for any individual or family in need, especially during this COVID-19 crisis. We got our first shipment of 25 bags, and we will be distributing those food bags to the community. See included photo. This will be an ongoing partnership, so we are making changes to our kitchen to accommodate this new partnership as it continues to grow. Our neighbor, Community Health Outreach is super excited because they have had to turn away any individual or family that does not have a vehicle per their current COVID-19 restrictions. It is a perfect opportunity to help the community in this way!

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