By Nancy Winckler-Zuniga
It was a banner year for commitment and outreach from the staff of Baptist Health to United Way of Northeast Florida. Its “Peace, Love, United” campaign brought out camaraderie, 4,000 hours of volunteer time and more than $1 million in donations, greatly surpassing goals set by Baptist Health’s United Way campaign committee.
All of this happened under the tenure of Jarret Dreicer, director of Performance Operations at Baptist and chairman of Baptist Health’s 2014 United Way campaign. It was the pinnacle of a journey Dreicer has been on since being exposed to helping others as a child.
Dreicer remembers serving holiday meals at a soup kitchen when he was 10 years old. He felt both compassion for those he was helping and a strong recognition of his own lucky situation. It was an exposure that his parents, especially his mother, had chosen deliberately even if he didn’t quite understand why he was there.
“It was an endearing experience,” Dreicer said. “There’s nobody with a better heart than my mom.”
Dreicer’s mother switched careers while he was growing up, moving from executive leadership in business to serving the community as the head of the Department of Children and Families for many years.
It wasn’t until he was working as a day camp counselor for second-grade children that he realized how important helping others could be and the impact of that early exposure.
“I knew that there were some kids not getting the classic stuff,” Dreicer said.
He knew that many of the children needed more attention and care than they had been getting. Once again, he was filled with that compassion and realized that his own upbringing had been blessed.
At first his involvement was hands-on, helping and mentoring a student through Tipping the Scales — a Bridge of Northeast Florida program in conjunction with Baptist Health. As he began to realize the impact Baptist Health was having through United Way, his interests began to shift. He began serving on United Way committees and taking on more responsibility. This year, Dreicer actively engaged in community volunteer opportunities while leading the overall internal campaign.
“By giving to an integrated network, we’re getting help to where people need it the most,” Dreicer said.
“I went from taking minutes during fundraising meetings to leading the United Way campaign,” he said. “The campaign is just one of many ways that Baptist lives out its core value of community advocacy.”
Dreicer believed that there was something special about the staff’s energy and commitment this year.
“It was an extraordinary team that deserves all the credit. I’m proud to be part of an organization where team members look out for each other, and our community.”