Healthy Families Northern Shenandoah Valley helps more than 100 families in our area who need extra support when it comes to having healthy births and raising healthy kids. And now, they're going to be able to help even more families.
Healthy Families NSV is expanding... just about doubling the number of families they'll serve. It's all because of a $520,600 grant they received from the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program.
"It's a dream come true... it's just amazing," said Marjorie Lewis.
Lewis has been involved with Healthy Families NSV since the beginning... about 17 years ago.
"Every year there are families who are at risk and we are able to intervene and help them. And the best thing about it is, it's their choice. We offer them the service. It is of no cost to them," said Lewis.
A Virginia Department of Health needs assessment identified The City of Winchester and Warren County as 'at risk' communities. Places where additional support to new families would be beneficial.
"The needs assessment looked at the rates on poor birth outcomes, child maltreatment, poverty, high school drop out rate, substance abuse and juvenile crime," said Sara Schoonover-Martin. "And all of those rates were higher in the City of Winchester and Warren County than the surrounding areas."
Schoonover-Martin is the executive director of Healthy Families NSV. She says because of those rates, their grant will expand more support and programs into those areas.
"The services that Healthy Families provides directly impact the health outcomes in the community," said Schoonover-Martin.
And as a new mother, she knows how challenging parenting can be.
"I know the stresses that new parents face and know that babies don't come with instructions and just being able to make a difference for families in our community," said Schoonover-Martin.
"Providing health care and assistance to our children... because when we take care of our children, we take care of ourselves," said Lewis.
The staff at Healthy Families NSV says the best part of their job is seeing families graduate the program and go on to be successful.
In addition, seven new staff members will be hired to work with Winchester and Warren County families.
To learn more about the program, click here to visit Healthy Families NSV's website.
Healthy Families Northern Shenandoah Valley (HFNSV) is a program that was established in 1998. Healthy Families was developed to ensure a healthy future for children in Frederick County, Clarke County, Warren County and the City of Winchester, Virginia.
It's part of the Healthy Families Virginia State System which is nationally accredited by Healthy Families America through Prevent Child Abuse Virginia. It's also a grant funded department of Winchester Medical Center. Winchester Medical Center proudly serves as the Host Agency for Healthy Families NSV.
© Copyright 2013 TV3 Winchester / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.