INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — December is a time for reflection and to give thanks for the healthy children in our lives. The Healthy Start Coalition is one of several hundred not for profit organizations in Indian River County that strives to improve conditions for our most vulnerable citizens. Its mission is to ensure that services for pregnant women and their babies are available and accessible in our county. Do we have services to support pregnant women so they have a healthy baby? Are services affordable and does the public know where to turn? As the current board president, Claudia Jimenez believes the Coalition is important to our community because it provides a continuum of care from the time a woman is pregnant and after birth if she needs breastfeeding support, parenting support and services such as counseling and nutrition education. Given the importance of the early years in terms of brain development, helping a mom be aware of what she needs to do to help her child thrive and be healthy is a crucial healthy start that every child should have access to.
Sometimes moms face challenges that imperil their ability to be the best parent they can be, and Healthy Start can be a supportive partner in positive parenting.
“I volunteer my time and energy because being a parent of two amazing young adults has been the most important achievement and challenge in my life journey,” says Jimenez, a member of the Indian River Healthy Start Coalition Board since 2005. Jimenez She lives in Vero Beach with her husband and two daughters, and is also currently on the Indian River County School Board.
“I was fortunate to have a wonderful support network, and educational opportunities. I believe the Coalition provides similar opportunities to all moms regardless of socioeconomic status. Challenges in parenting occur in all different types of families. When I hear stories from our staff about successes they have with clients, they confirm the reason why this work is so important and why supporting the coalition is worth the time and effort.”
To help the Indian River Healthy Start Coalition bring education and support to families in need, visit www.irchealthystart.org or call 772-563-9118.