September marks the start of the busy season for many of us as kids return to school and resume too many activities to count! The same is true for us at Nurture KC as a number of new initiatives launched this month and we completed our once in a five-year grant cycle Healthy Start site visit with our national project officers. Although I have been at Nurture KC for nearly four years, this was my inaugural site visit.
This was an opportunity to showcase our efforts in Kansas City, receive feedback on processes and results, and view our efforts through an objective lens and national perspective. Under Shannon Williams’ leadership, Healthy Start in Kansas City continues to innovate for greater impact. During the current grant cycle, we have added a nurse dedicated to high-risk moms, counseling support groups available in English and Spanish, transportation to needed visits, a family portal on our web site for easy access to resources, and doula services.
Our emphasis on policy engagement as a critical part of improving the lives of mothers and children garnered attention that our project officers would like to see replicated across the country. Finally, our new “hobby to hustle” highlighting Black entrepreneurs provides economic know how to our families as they strive to improve their circumstances.
As we closed the month with our Healthy Start graduation, a celebration of the children who are 18 months old and are ready for the next steps in their journey, the connection between this accomplishment and the accountability and examination of Healthy Start through the site visit is undeniable. Healthy Start is truly a national and local partnership with a singular goal of improving the lives of families through a solid support system at the earliest and formative point of development. We are honored to be one of 101 Healthy Start programs in the nation.
Executive Director, Nurture KC