From Refugee, To Volunteer, To Employee, Manna's Birthday is Cause for Celebration for Southeast Los Angeles Families
Jedidiah Manna was forced to flee his homeland of Cameroon several years
ago due to civil unrest and political persecution. After a long, arduous
journey through various countries over many months, Jedidiah was granted
asylum in the U.S. He reached out to his grandmother in Compton and immediately
moved there to live with her and other relatives.
Grateful for the new opportunities before him, Jedidiah set out to enroll
in school, seeking an education and career that would enable him to help
others. However, with his recent arrival he had to wait for his necessary
documents before starting classes. Although disappointed by the delay,
Manna was not deterred. He soon found an alternate way to serve the community.
He became a volunteer at
St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, California.
Jedidiah’s first assignment was in the Emergency Department, where
staff immediately recognized his potential. “Manna,” as he
became known by his colleagues, displayed intelligence, endless energy,
a dedicated work ethic, and a devotion to helping others. His commitment
was further evidenced in his next assignment in the Wound Care Clinic,
where he continued to volunteer after starting school even though it required
that he take four buses to get here, sometimes in the rain.
Seeing his passion for healthcare, a school counselor urged Manna to enroll
into a phlebotomy program. Manna agreed it would be a great start to a
career in the medical field, one of his lifelong dreams. Upon completing
the course and receiving his licensure, Manna applied for a position at
St. Francis Medical Center and soon after he was hired.
Today Manna is making plans to attend medical school. Along the way, as
his heart-for-service harkens him forward on his healthcare journey, his
spirit of thanks leads him to lay a path of grateful giving. Most notably
is his annual “birthday gift of gratitude,” which he recently
celebrated with us. Since joining St. Francis Medical Center, Manna dedicates
his special day to greeting patients in our Family Life Center. With a
cartful of baby blankets, plush toys, grooming sets and other newborn
items he personally purchases, he visits every new mom and dad, presenting
them with gifts and gratitude for the shared blessings of family and community.
The gratitude Manna feels is reflected right back by the moms and dads
he greets. New parents Erika and Brian were overwhelmed by the gifts Manna
brought them and were truly taken by his generosity and spirit of serving
others. Holding their newborn baby Benjamin, they said they hope to follow
Manna’s example and to teach their son the importance of giving back.
When asked why he has continued this tradition for four straight years,
Manna says with a smile behind his mask, “Without St. Francis, I
wouldn’t have the opportunity to give back to the community.”
Happy Birthday, Manna! Thank you for making each year – and each
day – an expression of gratitude we can all celebrate.