Mountaintop Resident, Renee Aquilina has been a part of something special –the creation and support of a charitable endeavor called the Repeat Boutique, located on the South Wilkes-Barre campus of Geisinger Health System.
The Repeat Boutique opened in April of 2010 and was the vision of a Geisinger administrator. Renee and the Geisinger Auxiliary worked closely with administrators, maintenance staff and others to convert an old MRI unit into the boutique, which now accepts donations of new or gently used items for resale, such as clothes, books or toys. Donations that cannot be used are passed on to other organizations that can, or are distributed throughout the hospital to those in need. Nurses and other staff members also have access to the boutique inventory to help patients and their families weather tough events such as a house fire. It is run completely by volunteers such as Renee, and she says that the project would not have been, nor would be, possible without people willing to give their time to the cause.
“I cannot say enough about the dedicated volunteers who staff and maintain the boutique,” said Renee. “I will always have a special place in my heart for the boutique because I know we are putting those funds right back into projects and programs to help people.”
Renee is part of both the Geisinger Wyoming Valley and CMC Auxiliary, which is made up of community volunteers, as well as Geisinger employees and their families. Their mission is to raise money and work with hospital administrators to complete projects within the Geisinger system, such as the Tambur NICU, for which the auxiliary just finished fulfillment of a million dollar pledge. All proceeds from the boutique and the campus gift shops go toward projects within Geisinger Wyoming Valley and, in January, the auxiliary voted to provide $100,000 for new projects.
According to Geisinger spokesperson, Therese Pramick, the Repeat Boutique has generated nearly $31,000 for the auxiliary over the course of its 5-year history. Geisinger is pleased with the results so far and are hoping that the money raised will increase from year to year.
“We certainly hope to increase revenue each year which in turn allow the auxiliary to improve the care in our hospital and community,” said Therese. “We find that the Repeat Boutique is an increasingly valuable resource to the South Wilkes-Barre community and we are happy to continue providing this service.”
Renee explains she became involved with the auxiliary through her husband, who is a Geisinger physician and volunteers in other capacities throughout the community. She says her volunteer work, such as that with the Geisinger Patient Advisory Board and Mountaintop Relay for Life, has all been because of personal connections.
“It all starts with a personal connection,” she says. “That’s how you get involved that’s how it grows. Then you get involved in different areas that are important to you and it grows from there.”
“There is a reason we are in certain points in our lives,” continued Renee. “I feel I’m giving back to my community and have grown to meet wonderful people and work with volunteers who have such a commitment to what they do and the time they give to Geisinsger. “
If anyone wishes to donate items, they can drop them off at the Repeat Boutique, located on the South Wilkes-Barre campus of Geisinger on Hanover Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 4m. They also are open to accepting new volunteers.