Program connects students to heatlh, social services

Program connects students to heatlh, social services

When studies revealed that the well-being of children in the city of St. Louis ranked last in Missouri, Unity Neighborhood Ministry stepped into action by creating Project 115 (for the state’s 115 counties), an initiative to link elementary students at three south city archdiocesan schools to health and social services. About 520 children are in the program; many are from refugee or immigrant families, who are often ineligible for many health services and unaware of available community resources.

Many Unity Medical Group physicians and other local doctors have agreed to participate in Project 115 so children with health needs can be matched with a primary care provider. Plus, Project 115’s school and family coordinator frequently directs families to resources where they can take advantages of services, including after-school care and family counseling. Since the program began in August, she has also connected children to resources for low-cost or free glasses, directed students to health assessments and short-term counseling, and helped parents enroll their youngsters in Medicaid.

“By providing access to health and social services, we hope to make a positive impact in the overall welfare of economically disadvantaged children,’ said Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, executive director of Unity Neighborhood Ministry, an extension of Unity Health-St. Louis.

The three participating schoolsNotre Dame Elementary, St. Pius V, and Holy Family-were chosen based on the economic needs of students and their families. The board of directors at St. Anthony’s Medical Center, part of Unity Health-St. Louis, approved funding for the program.

Copyright Catholic Health Association of the United States Mar/Apr 1999

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