Press Release: “Save My Life” Program Prevents Racial Birth Disparities in Sarasota County, Presents Fundraising “Match” Donation Challenge

“Save My Life” Program Prevents Racial Birth Disparities in Sarasota County, Presents Fundraising “Match” Donation Challenge

For quotes, client testimony, or more information, contact:

Ciera Coleman, Marketing and Grants Coordinator, (941) 373-7070


December 1, 2016 (Sarasota, FL) — African-American babies are some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens. Statistics show a wide gap in racial disparities in birth outcomes such as prematurity, low birth weight, and fetal and infant death for African-American babies. Since 2009, the Healthy Start Coalition’s Save My Life Program has worked to reduce those disparities by providing targeted support and education for African-American moms, dads, and babies.

Now, Healthy Start is seeking the community’s help to continue providing this important program to vulnerable families in our community. Healthy Start supporter, Rachel Levey-Baker, on behalf of the Sullivan Foundation, has put forward a unique challenge to raise funds to continue funding the program through 2017. From now through December 31st, donations made to Healthy Start’s Save My Life Program will be matched by the Foundation, dollar for dollar.

Donations can be made online at:, or by mailing a check to: Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, 1750 17th Street, Building A, Sarasota 34234. Call (941) 373-7070 for more information.

More about the Save My Life Program:

Despite a statewide decrease in deaths among children younger than one year old, the infant mortality rate for African Americans in Sarasota County continues to be twice as high as white infants. Racial disparities continue to exist for other poor birth outcomes as well. African American infants have twice the risk of being born premature, two and a half times the risk of being born at a low birth weight, and three times the risk of dying before birth.

Aimed at reversing this alarming gap, the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County created the “Save My Life” Program in 2008, and began implementation in 2009. Save My Life is an education and support-based Childbirth and Parenting Education program centered in the Newtown area, offers small group and one-on-one classes on the importance of health during childbearing years and during pregnancy, stress reduction, childbirth education, breastfeeding education, parenting education, safe sleep, and in-home support for breastfeeding. Outreach efforts, education, and classes are offered by Beverly Phelps, the first African-American Childbirth Educator in Sarasota County.

“The Save My Life Program is an essential part of the Newtown Community,” says Executive Director, Shon Ewens. “Without the continued support of the community, we wouldn’t be able to ensure that these important services are available to moms and babies that need them.”

Healthy Start has received wide-ranging support for this important program – including a $30,000 Grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation, and an almost $9,000 contract with Sarasota County.  Healthy Start is reaching out to the community to help fund the remaining $10,000 needed to operate the program for a full year – and positively impact the lives of over 100 moms and babies.

This entry was posted in Blog, Press Releases. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.