A program that aims to increase the successful outcome of pregnancy for Southwest Florida women faces a funding crisis. It’s holding its first major benefit this weekend.
Healthy Start is a non-profit organization for expectant mothers that helps prevent premature births, low-birth weights and infant deaths. Serving eighteen- to twenty-thousand Southwest Florida mothers a year, it runs programs to increase their access to medical care and to improve health and developmental outcomes for their children. These services are not exclusive to the poor or uninsured. Any woman in Lee, Collier, Glades or Hendry counties determined to be "at risk" is eligible. The demand for Healthy Start’s services has grown by more than thirty percent in the last two years. But the group’s director, Cathy Cortez, says funding has failed to meet that need.
"We’ve had a hard time keeping up with the increase in the number of at-risk moms and babies that need help... We’ve had really good partnerships with our prenatal care providers like Family Health Partnerships and Lee OB-GYN, clinics in Naples as well. They continue to insure these moms even when our funding runs out. They’re increasingly hard for those providers to keep doing that, and we really do need to help bring in some financial assistance to keep the program going.”
That's why Healthy Start is throwing its first-ever benefit this weekend. “The White Show” is a contemporary circus and dance extravaganza starring New Vision Cirque, an international troupe of dancers, circus performers and gymnasts. Cortez hopes to raise one-hundred fifty-thousand dollars. The event is Saturday night at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers.
Thursday, 19 October 2006 01:00
Healthy Start BenefitWritten by WGCU Newsroom