Ms. Maria Parra came into the Calhoun County Healthy Start office last year to meet Care Coordinator Yolanda Cooper; she had just found out she would soon be a mom for the third time. Yolanda was ready to help get her pregnancy off to the best start, and through the coordinated use of services and support, she helped Maria with resources and education immediately. From that day forward, Yolanda continued to visit Maria at home, teaching her about such things as the benefits of breastfeeding, parenting, and education on a variety of important topics.
Unfortunately, Maria later contacted Yolanda to let her know that her situation had some turns for the worse regarding her residence. She was looking at being homeless and needed help with financial resources. Yolanda jumped right in, seeking housing and support for Maria, her two sons, and unborn baby. Yolanda is very happy to report that today Maria is back in a home with all three children, now with her new baby daughter, Keily. Maria expressed her immense gratitude to Yolanda for providing her with constant support and helping her through a tough time.
Pictured is Maria with her newborn daughter, Keily who was born on January 9, weighing 6 pounds 4 ounces. Mother and baby are both doing well.
Kayla Barton is a first-time mom who enrolled in the Healthy Start Program and completed the first-childbirth class series, “Beautiful Beginnings.”
In Kayla’s words…
"I took the class as a first-time mom. I didn’t know what to expect and was extremely worried about giving birth. The class taught me so much and made me feel so comfortable by the time we finished. Learn about each stage of labor and what to expect during each stage was so valuable. I got to learn from the wonderful women in the class about their experiences, too. Something I now realize is that not everyone’s birth is the same; you never know how labor might go. Being informed is the tool you need when going into labor. I also think a major key was learning all the medical terms that the doctor talks about. There were plenty of terms I had no idea about until I took the class. There are so many wonderful things I could say about the class, but I know I couldn’t have been better prepared for labor when having my little guy, and I want to thank the women at Healthy Start for giving me the knowledge to know what to expect during pregnancy and delivery."
Katrina Sims has been serving as Care Coordinator with the Calhoun-Liberty Healthy Start program since February 2007. Katrina has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Healthy Start and specializes in doing Pregnancy Medicaid applications for the local CHD.
When serving her clients, Katrina always offers a smile and an encouraging word. One of her passions is car safety, where she’s participated in numerous car seat checkpoints and classes for Calhoun-Liberty Healthy Start. Clients always have positive feedback when it comes to their interactions with Katrina; they never fail to say how she treated them like they were important, listening attentively to their stories and concerns.
The Calhoun/Liberty Healthy Start program held a four-week comprehensive childbirth series, “Beautiful Beginnings,” at the Florida Department of Health in Calhoun County. The class was held on Thursday evenings from 5-8 pm. Six mothers-to-be learned all about the childbirth process, breastfeeding, SIDS prevention, newborn care, and postpartum in a fun, interactive class setting. Each participant received a pack-and-play and a sleep sack for completing the course. Calhoun/Liberty Healthy Start will be hosting this class quarterly in the community to realize their mission to decrease infant mortality, while increasing breastfeeding rates and awareness.
Pictured from left to right (back): Care Coordinator Yolanda Cooper, Kayla Barton, Erin Glass, Brittny Bodiford, Susan Brown, Care Coordinators Katrina Sims and Cindy Grantham; front: Lorena Mazariegos and Silvia Aguilar.
The Blountstown United Methodist Church ladies group hosted a drive for baby items to support Calhoun-Liberty Healthy Start. Mrs. Alva Martin spearheaded the project by sitting down with Healthy Start Program Manager Marissa Barfield to discuss the items that community members needed most. After a list of essentials were made, Mrs. Martin went to work, along with the lovely ladies in her church group. The drive was advertised within the church, and members started bringing in items to help the needy women in Calhoun and Liberty Counties. The ladies group collected items for the month of September. Also, there were several handmade items that were donated.
Mrs. Martin called when the drive ended, and the Healthy Start staff went down to the church to pick up the items that were donated. “I was shocked when I saw the number of items that were given,” Marissa Barfield stated.
The generosity of the church members came in the form of diapers, blankets, wipes, baby wash, lotions, diaper rash cream, clothes, and many other basic care items for new babies. The items donated will be utilized as care coordinators identify clients who need help to care for, and nurture, their new little loved ones!
The Coalition can’t thank Blountstown United Methodist Church enough for their giving hearts and generosity to our community.
Pictured left to right in the front are Ms. Wyrick, Ms. Stephens, Katrina Sims, Ms. Schruefer, Yolanda Cooper, and Ms. Martin. In the back row are Ms. Alford, Marissa Barfield and Cindy Grantham.