Angie Barber of Albany is the Network of Trust School Health Program Director for Phoebe Putney Health System. She is a member of VOICES for Georgia’s Children Fellowship Class of 2020, the Vestry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Albany, and the Board of Trustees of the Albany Museum of Art. The Westover High School graduate has master’s and bachelor’s degrees from LaGrange College, and an associate’s degree from then-Albany Junior College. She loves Albany and its people, and lives by the motto of “Be a true friend and a good neighbor.”
Asked what she would like to highlight about the response to COVID-19 in the Albany area, Barber said teamwork. “Teams are working together like never before,” she said. “I love a team who truly loves people. Our Network of Trust Team truly loves people! We expanded our services to help in so many new ways to be of service to others! I am so very thankful to our team for working tougher in many new ways! I am seeing it everywhere during COVID-19 in Albany, Georgia! We are all working together in ways that are new during this time! We are doing it together. ‘Together we Rise’ is our Phoebe Motto!”
Q: What have you and your team done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
AB: We have truly been able to expand our love for people. When we learned about COVID-19, we saw immediately that the needs of families and children were going to more important than ever!
Q: How has the Network of Trust School Health Team had to get creative with your response to COVID-19?
AB: Being creative with listening to the needs of others and then asking what they need and sharing with everyone in need. We have been on the Phoebe Kids Camp Team with the greatest partners, Family Tree, Athletic Trainers, Phoebe Healthworks team, Rental Depot, City of Albany Recreation stars Kristin and Linda, DCSS (Dougherty County School System) School Nutrition Team to deliver lunches, the Albany Museum of Art, Mission:Change, Family Connections and Family Literacy Connection, Flint River Fresh, Highland Bakery of Atlanta, and so many wonderful people who have heled us as we have helped others!
We have served as Bridge Girls, as I call us. We are a part of a team of Phoebe Employees to help our staff who come to work to be sure they are fever-free, have a mask and know that they are loved. Becoming a Bridge Girl was one of my very special creative ways to work with new people and have our team bond to help others be healthier during COVID-19!
Morehouse School of Medicine, as our partner, helped us to continue to reach out to others to prevent the use and misuse of opioids through our grant program and to remind others to stay healthy.
Q: What inspires you to keep helping the community?
AB: Working with other wonderful people who want to help others and take care of them, too! God’s love for me keeps me inspired to help others!
Q: How has this pandemic impacted you personally and professionally?
AB: I am truly more tender and tougher at the same time! It’s a time to love people more during a very scary time for many people!
Q: How do you keep mentally healthy in these difficult times?
AB: A prayerful quiet time and reading of the Bible or my spiritual readings were part of my day each day to ask God to show me what our town and our people needed. To remind me that Life is a gift and each day we need to look for the little things I call Blessings! It’s a little special some days, as we all know life can be a daunting challenge!
During COVID-19, it was so important for me to be outside anytime during the day after working. To breathe the air, see the trees or stars … I also had a piece of wild bamboo that appeared near my patio and it literally grew a foot a day, and was funny to see it each day after work!
To see the face of my sweet dog, Molly! She and I could hug every day! I loved being able to Facetime my precious family, my grandchildren and friends during the days of not seeing one another. It was very special to call people and see how they were doing, and to have calls from people checking on me!
I would see many people who were really scared and did not know what to do. Helping them learn how to protect themselves was very important. Helping others to have protective things they needed!
Talk to other people about how they or I may be feeling throughout the day!
Tell people you love them! Tell people you love them! We all need to know this!
Take off my mask and breathe!
MUSIC and looking at ART that I Iove are great mental breaks!
Truly, really eat very healthy at least once a day. Fruit and veggies make me feel better after a crazy day for real! Wine helps, too :>)
Realize we are in this together and be careful not to criticize others, but encourage and share our hope that folks will stay safe and protect themselves and all people
Q: Any advice for those who want to help you and your efforts and how should they do that?
AB: We have been Blessed with very special kindness from Stacey Eames of Highland Bakery; Mission:Change; Porterfield United Methodist; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; Kathleen, Stacey, Amy (my sister) with their sharing of mask donations; fabulous great snacks from Highland Bakery; Kathleen’s more than 3,000 masks … how do I begin to tell you the story of how others are really loving our Phoebe Family? To help with our efforts they can call me or email me. Each day brings opportunities to help others!
Q: When all of this is finally behind us, what is the first thing you want to do?
AB: I want to hug my family, my little precious little people and all of you who I love!
Go to the beach really soon after it is over! I will be on my way soon!
Be reminded every day that our life is a gift, and to never forget this!