The Springfield News-Leader has launched a public-service journalism project to focus public attention on critical challenges facing children, foster discussion and build on existing initiatives. You can read Executive Editor David Stoeffler's introductory column for more information on the project.
The recently created News-Leader's Every Child community advisory committee -- with representatives from the business, government, education, nonprofit, law enforcement, health and faith sectors -- will play an important role. It will educate and advise journalists and help engage other stakeholders and the general public in a discussion and, ultimately, action.
Parents may not realize it, but in this area, sweet tea and juice seem to be contributing to cavities, said Nick Hein, a dentist at the The Children’s Smile Center in Ozark.
Since the Children’s Smile Center in Ozark opened in December 2006, it has grown 25 percent a year, said Jackie Barger, executive director.
Sammie Trogdon was diagnosed with asthma when she was 5 months old; her brother Jack when he was 5. ‘Before I go out to recess, I take my inhaler. We both do,’ said Sammie, a second-grader. ‘One time I was running hard, and after recess, I was wore out.’
Angela Jenkins has seen firsthand the effects of poor nutrition on children in the Ozarks. Within the past year, Jenkins, a registered dietitian at CoxHealth, had as a patient a toddler with metabolic syndrome, a precursor to Type II diabetes.
Grace Ray feels ‘healthier’ since St. Agnes Elementary implemented a garden bar showcasing fresh produce every day. Ray sampled kiwi for the first time and loved it. On this day, she took servings of broccoli and watermelon.
If you give kids the opportunity to make healthy choices, they often do, said Allison Halter, a nurse at a local school that has implemented a fresh garden bar. The children at St.
Heart of the Ozarks was founded in 2004 by Philip Wilson. At that time, Dayspring Church operated a food bank and Christmas program but couldn’t sustain them, so Wilson offered to take those programs over and fold them into Heart of the Ozarks.
Sometimes we need to rethink and relearn what we should be eating, says Torrie Bedell, mother and stepmother of four. This realization came after Bedell went through Family First, a pilot program under the nonprofit Heart of the Ozarks.
Many low-income families struggle to feed their families healthy food when they’re on a tight budget. But there are nutritious buys for less than $1 a serving and many are 50 cents a serving (less than a candy bar).
Dawn Rodman was a cutter. There’s a scar on her left arm and multiple scars on her right leg above her knee. Sometimes Dawn, now 22, would cut herself with a buck knife, going as deep as an inch. Sometimes she used a piece of glass.
Burrell Behavioral Health partnered with Springfield Public Schools for four years to provide mental health counseling in the schools to at-risk students.
The top officials at Burrell Behavioral Health like to say that early psychiatric care can help prevent children from ending up in psychiatric units.
Sara Wolf is the gatekeeper at Lakeland Behavioral Health System, a psychiatric hospital for children.
Shannon Murrill, 40, of Springfield has high blood pressure, but she doesn’t see the doctor because she doesn’t have insurance. Her three youngest children are another matter.
Adults on Medicaid in Missouri have to be blind, pregnant or in a nursing home to qualify for dental care. It’s better for children. The federal government requires dental coverage for children on Medicaid in Missouri and other states.
Children in Springfield Public Schools miss more school days for asthma than any other health condition. The district’s experience is representative of problems nationwide, said Jean Grabeel, the district’s coordinator of health services.
Four-year-old Georgia McMackin has been on Medicaid since she was born.
Mary Beth Trokey leads the parenting classes at Carol Jones Recovery Center where moms addicted to drugs or alcohol talk about their hopes for improving their relationships with their children.
Jennifer Daly thought at first that meth made her a better mom. She wasn’t depressed all the time and had the energy to take her two children to the park or on walks. That was before the arrest … before her two children were taken away …
A building that once housed a tractor supplier and then sat vacant for more than a decade is now Ground Zero for health care for the unemployed and those getting by on low incomes in Springfield.