Non-profit working to improve family, parental relationships
At Pee Dee Healthy Start, it’s all about relationships. Through counseling, workshops, and guidance, the non-profit seeks to help improve family relationships and parental relationships.
“Our belief is that promoting and increasing awareness regarding the importance of healthy relationships leads to healthier societies, communities, families, homes, and ultimately, healthier children,” said longtime Pee Dee Healthy Start President Madie Robinson. “We see ourselves as an important asset to the community. Our goal is to help create productive individuals and healthy families that will contribute to society and raise the quality of life for all involved. We set it as reinvesting in the community.”
Serving Florence, Darlington, Marion Chesterfield, Dillon, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties, Pee Dee Healthy Start offerings are based on two programs – Healthy Start for pregnant women and new mothers, and Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education for families. All services are free of charge
PDHS staff members work with new mothers or parents to ensure they have the proper resources and information to provide a healthy pregnancy and birth. A case manager will guide clients through an evidence-based curriculum called My Reach. They will put them in touch with health care providers if necessary and work in partnership with the providers. They will help identify community resources that may be available to the client.
Once the child has been born, PDHS case workers will offer 18 months of follow-up services to the mother/parents and child.
Robinson pointed to the increasing infant mortality rate and the rising number of deaths of young women during pregnancy in the United States as reasons for the need for programs like Health Start.
Information and assistance are best ways to prevent the numbers from increasing,” said Robinson.
The Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education program teaches concepts and skills that promote healthy, safe, and stable relationships among youth and adults. The curriculum focuses on building skills such as communication, conflict management, parenting, and financial literacy. These skills can be integrated into a wide variety of services for individuals, couples, and families in need.
“We want to teach them how to express themselves in responsible, healthy ways,” said Robinson.
The African American and Hispanic communities are the primary targets for both programs, according to Robinson, but no one who seeks assistance will be turned away.
Only a few years ago Pee Dee Healthy Start lost its flagship program, Healthy Start Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health, and Robinson thought the agency’s doors would close. Other funding, however, was found through the HMRE and the agency remained open. It continues to provide services for residents of the rural Pee Dee. Robinson reapplied for HSED funding in 2018 and was approved. Today, the agency receives more than $3.5 million annually to provide free services to residents in rural communities.
Due to the COVID- pandemic, 2020 proved very challenging for Pee Dee Healthy Start. PDHS services had to be moved online and meetings were held virtually. They continue to be held virtually. Those who lack access to a computer or Internet service can still be accommodated.
Pee Dee Healthy Start is always in need of and is grateful for any contributions. There is also a need for volunteers.
Pee Dee Healthy Start Inc. is located at 314 W. Pine St. Contact them online at www.pdhs.org, or by phone at (843) 662-1482.