Although the core goal of the Healthy Start program is to ensure every baby has the best possible start in life, unfortunately, little Aidan came into this world weighing only 4lbs 8 oz. and had been exposed to methamphetamines the entire time he was in the womb. “He was baby doll tiny when we got custody of him at twelve days old, and he was still in the NICU,” noted foster mom and dad, Tymetra and Scott. Being born under these circumstance the concern with baby Aidan was that he would suffer from severe health problems and developmental delays.
Tymetra recalls, “We had what seemed like five minutes to decide if we could take care of him. We were then referred to Healthy Start by Mr. Robert at Innovative Charities because we needed a lot of help.” Thankfully, Aidan’s Healthy Start Care Coordinator, Janai, helped Tymetra build relationships with agencies that could help and coordinate referrals according to Aidan’s needs. Janai also secured specialty care items and clothing for Aidan.
Janai continues to track Aidan’s development and work with Tymetra using the Ages and Stages (ASQ3) curriculum, which is an assessment tool that provides parents with guidance regarding the developmental status of their across five developmental areas: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social. The ASQ3 is the most accurate, family-friendly way to screen children for developmental delays between one month and 5½ years.
Tymetra stated, “You can look at him as see God is in this baby. I would encourage moms to take full advantage of the program and all it offers. There’s so much you just don’t know about childhood development and the services that are there to help you. Healthy Start was there for us, and the services they offer were far more than I would have ever known to seek.”
Shanae Boston serves as Care Coordinator for Jackson County Healthy Start. Displaying awesome dedication to her clients, Shanae goes above and beyond the call of duty to find resources for clients who can’t find what they need. Serving JCHS since 2015, she is a Certified Lactation Consultant, FOCEP Certified, and a Certified Peer Companion through the TEARS Foundation. Shanae can also be seen spearheading the car seat program as the Jackson County’s liaison for acquiring car seats. She continues to provide the much-needed guidance and assistance to many mothers throughout Jackson County.
Chipola Healthy Start Coalition, along with the Jackson County Healthy Start Program, hosted a Walk to Remember on Friday, October 14 at Citizen’s Lodge in Marianna. Walk to Remember is a national event dedicated to babies who die each year through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or infant death. Preceding the remembrance ceremony, families and loved ones created memory tiles in honor of their babies. Pastor Barbara Lee from All Things New Ministries officiated the remembrance ceremony followed by a short walk lead by moms and other family members who experienced their own loss, which concluded with a bubble release.
Families were given candles, along with commemorative matchbooks, to light during the Wave of Light on October 15, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. On this day, everyone was invited to light a candle at 7 pm in all times zones, all over the world. If everyone lights a candle at this time and keeps it burning for one hour, it will create a continuous wave of light across the globe to help honor all those babies who were lost too soon.
The Coalition is a proud participant in Walk to Remember and remains committed to eliminating all preventable infant mortality, as well as providing support to all families who experience this great loss.
The Jackson County NAACP held their annual luau, where CHSC and Jackson County Healthy Start staff enjoyed a festive activity, providing useful information and resources to those who visited their station. Organizations and officials from throughout the county participated.
The Healthy Start team focused on educating attendees about the many benefits of breastfeeding, the importance of preconceptual/interconceptual health, how to protect one’s self from the Zika virus, and how to be safe during the summer.
The event was held at Madison Park in Marianna and was a fun afternoon of games, prizes, dancing, and food for all in attendance. Old favorites, such as the hula hoop and musical chairs really brought down the house.
Stress during pregnancy can lead to health complications for both mom and baby. These complications include high blood pressure and the onset of preterm labor. To help women learn how to better manage their stress and boost self-esteem, the Jackson County Healthy Start Program hosted a free Spa Day. Moms and moms-to-be participating in the program were treated to an afternoon of relaxation and fun.
During the event, participants also learned ways to reduce stress during pregnancy and how to pamper themselves. Moms were also able to connect with other mothers in the area and build their support network, which also helps to reduce stress during pregnancy and after baby arrives.
The staff of CHSC had the good fortune to meet Beverly Harrison at a Christmas craft fair hosted by the Jackson County Senior Citizens Organization in Marianna. She was selling Christmas ornaments and other decorative pieces she crocheted by hand. Short after this chance encounter, Miss Beverly volunteered her time and crochet talents to make 400 newborn caps to be distrusted at CHSC’s Third Annual Community Baby Shower in April. At last count, Miss Beverly has finished over 200 newborn caps in all sorts of colors and patterns with no signs of slowing down.
"It takes about two and a half hours to complete one cap. But, this is fun for me. In the evenings, I watch TV and it gives me something to do with my hands." When asked what inspired her to commit to such an outstanding project, Miss Beverly added, "I love children. I have three step-children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. But, I was never able to carry any of my own. So I know that’s one reason why I do it. Also, I’m helping moms and children who don’t have someone to turn to in times of need and everyone needs someone to turn to in times of need."
Miss Beverly also stated that she is willing to teach anyone who might be interested to make these caps or any other baby items. She went on to say, "This is a fading art. You never know if one day you might be able to go to the store and buy these kinds of things and then what would you do? Plus, sometimes you just have to step outside of yourself and help someone else."