Category Archives: Press Releases

Press Release: 23rd Annual Sarasota Community Baby Shower

FOR IMMEDIATE Release

Healthy Start Coalition and Kiwanis Club of Sarasota present:

“The 23rd Annual Sarasota Community Baby Shower”

Free Event that Supports New Moms and Families with resources, education, and helpful gifts.

 


Sarasota – Saturday, May 20, 2017:  

Calling all pregnant women, new moms, and their families! The 23rd Annual Sarasota Community Baby Shower is just around the corner!

On Saturday, May 20th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County is partnering with the Kiwanis Club of Sarasota to present the 23rd Annual Sarasota Community Baby Shower. All local pregnant women and new families (with infants up to 1-year-old) are invited to this fun and FREE event, held at the Lee Wetherington Boys and Girls Club, 3100 Fruitville Road in Sarasota.

This event is held annually to provide education, support, and helpful gifts to pregnant women and new families.  Exhibitors from more than 30 local organizations will provide information and giveaways to attendees. Dozens of raffle and door prizes will be given away throughout the morning, including pack-and-plays, high-chairs, and strollers, donated by the Kiwanis Club of Sarasota.

Guests will enjoy healthy snacks and refreshments donated by Whole Foods Market, and a slow cooker demonstration provided by the Junior League of Sarasota’s Slow Cooker Initiative.  A baby-wearing fitness demonstration will be provided by Mama’s Got Groove, and Graceful Tides will be providing complimentary 5 minute chair massages for moms.

“The Community Baby Shower is a great way for pregnant women and new families to find out about all of the great local support available to them” said event organizer, Ciera Coleman. “It’s truly a one-stop shop for local resources, organizations, and businesses that can provide help to pregnant women and new families in our community.”

Activities will be available for children, including face-painting by Art and Body Sarasota, and a Kid’s Area sponsored by Children’s World of Sarasota. A “Diaper Derby” race will be held for crawling infants, with the winners receiving a case of diapers.

For quotes and more information, please contact Ciera Coleman, Event Organizer, at (941) 373-7070 ext. 303.

Contact: Ciera Coleman, Marketing and Grants Coordinator

Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County

Phone: (941) 373-7070 x 303

Email: Ciera.Coleman@healthystartsarasota.org

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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

Ciera.coleman@healthystartsarasota.org

 

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: wwwhealthystartsarasota.org/match, 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.

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Press Release: Healthy Start Coalition Receives $30,000 Grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation to support Save My Life Program

save-my-life-logo-reduxHealthy Start Coalition Receives $30,000 Grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation to support Save My Life Program

Sarasota, FL – The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc. was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation’s Frederic W. and Margaret D. Kurtz Fund to continue their work reducing Racial Disparities during pregnancy and after birth via the Save My Life Program.

Created in 2006 in response to the alarming racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, the Save My Life Program was designed to address the significantly higher rates of fetal and infant death experience among the African-American community. The Save My Life Program offers culturally relevant education about a variety of health and pregnancy related topics on a one-to-one or small group basis. The Program provides the tools and information women need to have healthy pregnancies, healthy children, and become healthy themselves.

Free classes are available at various locations throughout the Newtown and North Sarasota areas and cover topics such as childbirth education, breastfeeding, nutrition, safe sleep, preconception and interconception health, smoking cessation, and more. Save My Life also offers free one-on-one breastfeeding support after the birth of the baby, increasing the likelihood that nursing will continue allowing babies to get the right balance of nutrients, immune protection, and bonding to help them get a healthy start.

“The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County is grateful to the Bank of America Client Foundation for the renewal of this grant,” says Executive Director, Shon Ewens. “The Save My Life Program is an essential part of the Newtown Community. Without this funding, we wouldn’t be able to ensure that these important services are available to moms and babies that need them.”

The Save My Life Program reaches about a hundred pregnant women, new mothers, and women of childbearing age each year. For more information about the program and all of The Healthy Start Coalition’s services, please visit healthystartsarastoa.org.

Please call for more information, quotes, or client stories.

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Press Release: Healthy Start Coalition Receives $25,000 Grant from Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation to Increase Community Breastfeeding Support

smhf_logo_pms287-hHealthy Start Coalition Receives $25,000 Grant from Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation to Increase Community Breastfeeding Support

For Immediate Release: November 9, 2016

 

Sarasota, FL – The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc. was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation to enhance breastfeeding support and peer counseling opportunities for new moms across Sarasota County.

The goal of this project is to improve Sarasota’s breastfeeding support network by increasing trained peer-support available throughout the county and providing healthcare professionals who interface with pregnant or postpartum women with up-to-date education about supporting breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding has significant proven health benefits for both mothers and babies, providing optimal nutrition for the infant, as well as preventing SIDS and illnesses such as stomach viruses, respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and lifelong chronic health conditions. Breastfeeding also has numerous benefits for the mother, including a lower risk of postpartum depression, lower postpartum blood loss, and lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

“We are so grateful to the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation for recognizing this need in our community, and supporting our efforts to increase services available for breastfeeding mothers,” states Shon Ewens, Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County. “This builds upon Healthy Start and Sarasota Memorial Hospitals long-standing partnership, and will truly make an impact on the health and well-being of moms and babies in our community.”

The initiative particularly focuses on reaching underserved and minority populations, building upon efforts started Spring 2016 with funding from the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) in partnership with the Healthy Start Coalition, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County. This project aims to continue the success of this partnership, and to improve the health of mothers and babies, creating an overall healthier community.

Funding will be used to provide a 2-Day Community Health Worker style Peer Counselor Training utilizing the Loving Support Breastfeeding Peer Counselor curriculum, with a track available for Spanish-speaking Counselors. During the training, individuals learn essential skills for lactation management, methods for making referrals to local resources, and steps for leading breastfeeding support groups in their communities. This training will be scheduled for Spring 2017.

Trained Peer Counselors will be invited to host groups in their communities, with particular focus directed toward minority and underserved populations. Peer Counselors will be paid a stipend for each group hosted, and provide refreshments and incentives for group attendees. Peer Counselors will receive materials to distribute to their group attendees, with connections to local resources beyond the scope of Peer Counseling, such as Sarasota Memorial Hospitals Latch Clinic or Healthy Start’s home visitation program. This funding will also support weekly drop-in breastfeeding support groups across the county, which were initialized with NACCHO Funding. Demand has been growing for these groups, with a particular need for bilingual support.

Additionally, a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor Training will be provided to 40 healthcare providers and family support workers who interface with pregnant and postpartum mothers. Demand for this training is high, with particular interest from providers at the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, which serves a high level of underserved, minority, and at-risk mothers.

For more information, contact: 

  • Jamee Thumm, Educational Services Manager, 941-373-7070 x 307
  • jamee.thumm@healthystartsarasota.org
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Press Release: City of Sarasota to Proclaim Sarasota Breastfeeding Awareness Month

For Immediate Release

For more information, contact:

July 22, 2016

Jamee Thumm, Education Coordinator,

941-373-7070 ext. 307

City of Sarasota to Proclaim Sarasota Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Healthy Start Coalition, Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County, and other Local Organizations

Celebrate with “Latch On Sarasota” Events, Door Decorating Contest and Blog Hop

 

(August 2016) – The City of Sarasota is once again proclaiming August as Sarasota Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Vice Mayor Suzanne Atwell will present the Proclamation at the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County’s   “Latch On Sarasota” Event at the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday, August 6th at 10am.

Latch On Sarasota” is a public awareness event in which breastfeeding women gather together to break the local record for “Most Simultaneous Breastfeeding Moms.” At precisely 10:30 am on Saturday August 6th, all breastfeeding moms (including pumpers and supplementers) are invited to join in on this fun and exciting event.  Participants are asked to arrive by 9:30 to pre-register.  The event will be located on the South end of the Market, in front of the State Street Parking Garage on State Street.

In addition to the Farmer’s Market event, a second event, “Latch-On Sarasota, South” will be held at the same time at Hold Me Closer, 218 Harbor Dr S, Island of Venice for residents of South Sarasota County and surrounding areas.  Both events will feature refreshments and activities for children.

The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc. is also celebrating with its Annual World Breastfeeding Week Door Decorating Contest. Local businesses, organizations and healthcare facilities are invited to decorate an office door, window, or public space that is visible to the public with a message that promotes or supports breastfeeding. This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers” highlighting Breastfeeding Peer Counseling.  Judging takes place the week of August 1st and winners will be announced the week of August 8th.  Winners receive the coveted “Golden Nipple Award”.

Finally, the Coalition and its community taskforce, the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County, are hosting their third annual “Breastfeeding Blog Hop” to spread positive messages and education about breastfeeding utilizing the World Wide Web. A blog hop is a way to connect blogs writing about a similar topic – in this case supporting breastfeeding. This allows multiple blogs to share and promote the topic as well as each other, increasing traffic and the reach of the message.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that at infants are breastfed, with no supplements given, for at least the first 6 months of life, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant. Breastfeeding is proven to give babies the best start in life, providing optimal nutrition while also strengthening the immune system and nurturing maternal-child bonding. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have: ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, and bacterial infections.  Breastfeeding is also beneficial for the mother, as it helps return the uterus to a normal size after pregnancy, prevents anemia, and reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and osteoporosis.

For more information, please call (941) 373-7070 or visit www.healthystartsarasota.org.

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Press Release: Sarasota County Recognizes Infant Safe Sleep Month

For Immediate Release: October 9th, 2015

Sarasota County Recognizes Infant Safe Sleep Month

Safe Sleep Sarasota initiative aims to reduce child deaths due to unsafe sleep

Sarasota, FL – Unsafe sleep is the leading cause of death for children under the age of one in Florida. In 2014 over 130 Florida infants died as a result of unsafe sleep practices, including four in Sarasota County. In response to these deaths, The Safe Sleep Sarasota initiative, a collaboration of 13 different agencies, was created to address this issue and prevent future infant fatalities.

On Sept. 22, the Sarasota County Commission proclaimed October “Infant Safe Sleep Month,” in recognition of this problem and the collaborative effort local organizations have made to address it. Collaborative organizations include: The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, Children First, Early Learning Coalition, Family Safety Alliance, Healthy Families / The Florida Center, Safe Children Coalition, The Sarasota Y, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Safe Kids, and the Child Protection Center.

Since the launch of the Safe Sleep Sarasota Initiative in 2014, Sarasota County has reported only one fatality due to unsafe sleep conditions, a major decline from previous years.

“It is absolutely heart-wrenching to learn of each young, precious life lost to this tragically preventable cause,” says Shon Ewens, Executive Director for the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County. “We started seeing an increase in unsafe sleep and SUIDS [Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome] related deaths and knew we just had to do something about it.”

The initiative has three components: providing education to childcare sites, providing education to parents and the community at-large, and providing safe sleep kits to families in need. Since its relaunch, 53 child care sites have been trained in Safe Sleep practices. Each site then provided training for their staff and education for parents. Another 65 professionals (Child Protection Investigators, case workers, etc.) received training so they can provide up-to-date evidence-based education for their clients. More professional trainings are underway this month.

Additionally, the initiative has provided 75 safe sleep kits, including education on proper use, to 70 families who would otherwise not have a safe, designated place for their baby to sleep. Each safe sleep kit contains a
pack n’ play, crib sheet with a safe sleep message, Halo sleep sack, two pacifiers, and information about how to create a safe sleep environment for their infants. Funding for Safe Sleep Kits was provided by the Ruth DeLynn Emerging Needs Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, as well as through private donations.

The newest strategy has been the addition of a Hospital Pledge for new moms who attend Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s discharge class. This includes a thorough Safe Sleep component. Families who sign the pledge will receive a certificate and educational materials.

The Safe Sleep Sarasota Initiative was launched at a press conference on October 30, 2014 with Florida Surgeon General, Dr. John Armstrong, and Secretary of the Department of Children and Families, Mike Carroll, in attendance.

This program, including the safe sleep kits and education, is funded entirely by grants and donations. If you would like to learn more about the Safe Sleep Sarasota Initiative, get involved, or make a donation, visit: http://healthystartsarasota.org/safe-sleep-sarasota-initiative/

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Ciera Coleman at 941-373-7070 ext. 303 or email at Ciera.coleman@healthystartsarasota.org.

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Press Release: Anonymous Donor Helps Healthy Start Coalition’s “Save My Life” Program Combat Racial Birth Disparities

Anonymous Donor Helps Healthy Start Coalition’s

“Save My Life” Program Combat Racial Birth Disparities

Non-profit Organization works to Reduce Fetal Mortality, Infant Mortality, and Prematurity in Newtown

January 17, 2012 (Sarasota, FL) —

Maybe guns aren’t the biggest threat in Newtown.

Perhaps the biggest threat is the area’s staggering rates of poor birth outcomes, such as premature birth, fetal mortality, and infant mortality. Despite a statewide decrease in deaths among children younger than one year old, the infant mortality rate for African-Americans in Sarasota County has continued to creep upward. And disparities between rates of fetal mortality, infant mortality, and prematurity between blacks and whites continue to be alarmingly present. Sarasota County’s most recent 2008-2010 rolling average data indicates the African-American rates for fetal mortality is more than twice as high as whites; infant mortality is 3.5 times as high; and preterm birth is 1.7 times as high.

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

“Early intervention to begin reversing this cycle must begin prior to pregnancy, and continue throughout pregnancy and after pregnancy. The early experiences of any human, from the beginning of pregnancy into the first few years of life are crucial,” said Jennifer Highland, Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County. “By focusing on education, support, and prevention, we aim to improve chances young families will stay healthy.”

Funding for this vital program comes from donations and grants, both of which are currently threatened. After 3 ½ successful years, this program will end in spring of 2012 without additional funding. However, the Healthy Start Coalition has been presented with a unique opportunity to continue funding this important program: an anonymous donor has come forward with a $10,000 Challenge. If $5,000 is raised by the community before February 15, the donor will match it with another $5,000.

“This is an important opportunity for our Community to get involved in the health of our youngest citizens”, continued Highland, “It is time for us to rally as a community to save our babies!”

For more information, contact info@healthystartsarsota.org.

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Press Release: 3rd Annual “An Evening for Healthy Start”

Press Release: 3rd Annual “An Evening for Healthy Start”

The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc.
1750 17th Street, Bldg A – Sarasota, FL 34234-8666
Phone: 941.373.7070 Web: www.healthystartsarasota.org
Media Contact: Ciera Coleman, Education and Development Coordinator
Email: ciera.galbraith@healthystartsarasota.org
Phone: 941.373.7070 ext. 303
 

3rd Annual “An Evening for Healthy Start”

January 4, 2011 (Sarasota, FL) — On Thursday, January 26th, from 6 to 9 pm, Sarasota Architectural Salvage will host the 3rd Annual “An Evening for Healthy Start” Fundraiser to benefit The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County. The event will be emceed by former Sarasota Mayor Kelly Kirschner, and will feature live music by local Latin, Caribbean, Funk and Motown dance music band, Big Night Out.
The event comes at a critical time in the Healthy Start Coalition’s fiscal year, when funding for critical programs threatens to expire. This year’s event has the potential to raise more money for Sarasota’s pregnant women, infants and young children than in previous years, due to the generosity of several local business members and individuals, including those from the fields of obstetrics, perinatology, midwifery and pediatrics.
Sarasota Architectural Salvage paints an eclectic and distinctive backdrop for “An Evening for Healthy Start,” making it one of the most unique fundraising events of the season. Guests will be treated to light fare provided by local restaurants, including Nancy’s BBQ, Caragiulo’s, Nellie’s Deli, Carrs Corner Café, The Lollicake Queen, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Vin Cella and Local Coffee and Tea. The event will also feature a raffle and silent auction, featuring an exquisite pendant necklace from world-famous jewelry designer Ned Bowman of Bowman Originals in Sarasota.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door, and include two beverage tickets and a coupon for Sarasota Architectural Salvage. To purchase tickets, call (941) 373-7070, or visit www.SarasotaSalvage.com.
The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, infants, and young children in the community. Healthy Start coordinates a variety of specialized programs to serve high-risk groups and address specific risk factors that contribute to fetal death, prematurity, low birth weight, and infant death. For more information, please call (941) 373-7070 or visit www.healthystartsarasota.org.
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MEDIA TOURS AND INTERVIEWS WITH BOARD MEMBERS, CARE PROVIDERS, STAFF AND CLIENTS ARE AVAILABLE AT PRESS’ CONVENIENCE. PLEASE CALL CIERA GALBRAITH AT (941) 373-7070 ext. 303.

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