How WeCare Supported Community Building in the Southside of Chicago
IntelyCare understands the value of community building, which is why we strive to not only make new connections, but support those that our corporate staff and clinicians have already made in their own communities.
In the fall of 2021, we piloted WeCare, a program designed to identify and support organizations that our corporate staff and IntelyPros, the name given to our nursing professionals, are already involved in. The idea was to provide micro-grants of $500 each to small projects across several communities in order to inform a larger community support effort.
One of the fantastic community organizations that surfaced as a result of this effort was Originally Greater, based out of Chicago, Illinois. However, as you will learn through the interview below, the funds ended up being diverted to a different and equally well-deserving community organization, all in the spirit of community support.
Below, we interview Ramon Clopton, Client Success Manager at IntelyCare, who is the founder of Originally Greater, and an active member of his community in Chicago. We also share an overview of Ramon’s organization, Originally Greater, and the ultimate recipient of the funds, Hugs No Slugs (Club 51).
IntelyCare: What do you do at IntelyCare?
Ramon: I am a Client Success Manager who specializes in partnering with facilities to provide quality care to senior residents.
IntelyCare: How did you find your way to IntelyCare?
Ramon: I was first recruited to work for IntelyCare in December of 2019. I was not hired at that time. In retrospect, it was largely due to the fact that I was trying to be someone I was not. I felt like I had to meet a specific ‘cookie cutter’ image to fit inside the corporate world. That was how I defined success.
A month after my first application and interview round, I received a follow-up call asking me to interview for a different role (the Client Success Manager role). I was encouraged to be myself during the interview process, so I presented my best and authentic self for my interviews. My outlook changed – if a company didn’t want to accept me for who I was, then I wasn’t willing to compromise myself to call myself an employee.
I’m happy to say that being authentic paid off. My first day with IntelyCare was February 17, my birthday.
IntelyCare: What motivated you to apply for WeCare?
Ramon: Initially, I was unmotivated to apply for WeCare. Every company I’ve worked for before never showed genuine care for their employees, and I was determined not to mix personal business with professional business. But when I thought about the leaders we have at IntelyCare, who have shown me that despite our differences, the ability to care for and support others is a gift we can all share, I decided to apply.
IntelyCare: How did you intend to use your WeCare award funds?
Ramon: I intended to use the funds for my organization, Originally Greater, which is a lifestyle brand connecting our community through culture and development. I wanted to use the funds to grow our brand’s recognition through marketing and advertisement of apparel through local community pop up shops that actively support local Black businesses.
IntelyCare: How did you actually end up using your WeCare award funds?
Ramon: Eventually, I donated the funds to another organization. Originally Greater is dedicated to connecting our community through culture and development. We believe that although we are all Original Beings, we are Greater when we work together as one. We also believe in giving back to the community. I thought deeply about it and quickly realized that with these funds I wanted to do something that showed I was devoted and dedicated to my organization’s mission statement.
I originally thought about organizing my own event to feed the hungry community, but then I asked myself, ‘How can I stand on the principle of Being Greater and Achieving Greater?’ I realized that when you see another organization that has been doing work that you believe in, simply showing up humbly and authentically to volunteer, donate, and be a resource is the best thing to do. So, that’s what I did!
The organization I donated the funds to is called Hugs No Slugs (Club 51). Club 51 is run by Aleta Clark, also known as ‘Englewood Barbie.’ Club 51 feeds Friends underneath the viaduct (those living without access to shelter or hot meals of their own) late at night in the heart of winter in Chicago. Barbie helps to not only feed the Friends but also to help them find housing. She is what we call a true ‘Gangsta’ in the community, doing the work of God and helping the ones that truly need it.
IntelyCare: What does community mean to you?
Ramon: Seeing a need, providing a resource, and being a positive light to all as God leads us, is what community means to me, personally. Understanding that we are all connected in this thing we call life, is community. Teaching the true definition of diversity, is community.
Too often we focus on how and what makes us different instead of how our differences can connect us. Community means being our Original authentic self and knowing we all are Greater as a community destined to achieve Greater, together. A community helps others find themselves on this journey called life, with gratitude, and a heart to serve.
IntelyCare: How do IntelyCare’s values overlap with the values that guide your personal life?
Ramon: IntelyCare’s values truly overlap with mine because I always say, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’ And our values, ‘Together We Thrive; Take Big Swings; Carry Forward Care; and Be Driven By Wonder,’ are also values of mine that I have carried with me since I was a young child and through my adolescence. As I approached adulthood, I lost some of those values due to the confinements of corporate America. However, IntelyCare helped reawaken those values within me.
When I realized that I didn’t need to fit into a box in order to be successful, I allowed myself to be driven into opportunities that would nourish my passion, pour into my spirit, and help feed the gift of service I’ve had since a child. IntelyCare is more than a job to me, but rather my walking mission statement. I have grown personally and professionally at IntelyCare and I pride that on my ability to shift my mindset. I believe that is the true value of IntelyCare – to push you to grow and develop your mindset through a shared set of values.
IntelyCare: What advice do you have to give someone who wants to make a difference in their community?
Ramon: ‘Be Gangsta and just do it,’ as Englewood Barbie would say.
A lot of times we make excuses for not having enough resources, time, money – the list goes on. You must decide whether or not to let those excuses rule you. Gangstas do not make excuses because they can’t afford to. They have to find ways to overcome, despite their situation or circumstances. A true Gangsta helps rewrite the narrative while shedding positive light to communities in need.
So, be Gangsta, and do whatever is in your heart to do, and be the change you want to see in the world. It may sound cliché, but it is the truth. We all have everything we need to succeed and make a difference within us. We owe it to ourselves to try. #BeOriginal #BeGreat #BeGangsta.
About Originally Greater
Originally Greater is a lifestyle brand for individuals who embrace their ORIGINALITY and GREATNESS through fashion, community service, restoration and development. It is a grassroots organization focused on uniting, restoring, and developing community.
Check out what Originally Greater has to offer here.
About Hugs No Slugs (Club 51)
Hugs No Slugs is a 501(c)3 foundation whose mission is to help the community. They serve children as well as those living under the viaduct in the cold in the Southside of Chicago.
Hugs No Slugs believes that “as a people, we have to change the narrative that earning respect comes from hurting people when it should come from helping people all the time.”
Hugs No Slugs moves in memory of all the people in Chicago who have lost their lives due to gun violence. They strive to work as hard as possible to prevent such tragedy from continuing to occur.
Learn more about this organization, and how to donate or volunteer here.