Mother of the Month: January 2017

Jan 22, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition would like to congratulate Jessica Oakley on being selected as the January Mother of the Month (MOM).20170118_162647

Jessica and husband, Ryan Sr., have two children; Ryan Jr., 11 years old, and Jasiah, 10 years old.

Jessica was selected as the MOM because of the sacrifices she has made for her family. Jessica works the overnight shift at UF Health, as a unit clerk and certified nursing assistant, to be able to take her children to school and attend their many extracurricular actives.

Jasiah is a cheerleader who led her team all the way to the cheerleading nationals, while Ryan Jr. plays basketball. Both Jasiah and Ryan love to act in school plays and are AB honor-roll students.

“I love that my children are so involved” Jessica said. “I want them to know that they can do anything that they put their minds to, as long as they work hard and believe it.”

Jessica was nominated by her mother, Thelisa Miller. Thelisa said that she could not think of anyone more deserving of this award than her daughter.

On behalf of the Coalition and our Mather of the Month sponsors, Nothing Bunt Cakes and RimTyme, we would like congratulate Jessica on being chosen as the Mother of the Month.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Mother/Father of the month, click here.

Father of the Month: January 2017

Jan 19, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition would like to congratulate Michael Gant Sr. on being chosen as the January 2017 Father of the Month.

Michael and his wife, April, have six children, 21 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

20170117_133515“The best part about being a father and a grandfather is the impact I leave on my children and grands” Michael said. “I try my hardest to lead by example and to be the best role model for my children that I can be.”

Michael was selected as the Father of the Month because of his acts of selflessness and his dedication to set a great example for not only his children, but for individuals in the community as well.

Michael has set an example for the community through his church, Impact Outreach Ministries, where he has founded many  community outreach endeavors. The community outreach efforts include Men of War, a mentorship for men; Church without Walls, an opportunity to feed the homeless and bring them to church; and a free lunch and backpack program for kids over summer break.

Michael is also the Faith-Based Volunteer for the School Advisory Council (SAC) at Pine Estate Elementary School.

Michael plans to continue to lead by example and be there to support and encourage anyone who needs it.

On behalf of the Coalition and our Father of the Month sponsors, Nothing Bunt Cakes and RimTyme, we would like congratulate Michael Gant Sr. on being chosen as the Father of the Month.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Mother/Father of the month, click here.

The Coalition welcomes Terry Lorince as CPO

Jan 9, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

The Coalitionscreen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-14-57-am hired Terry Lorince as its first Chief Programs Officer (CPO).  Terry has more than a decade of non-profit leadership and business experience that will enhance the Coalition’s efforts to provide the best quality program services to the community.

As the CPO, Terry will be responsible for nurturing the improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of the many programs the Coalition offers. Terry looks forward to utilizing her experience to improve the lives of babies and families.

“I am so thankful to be able to work for such a great organization” Terry said. “I’ve spent my career working tirelessly creating partnerships and managing programs and I plan to bring that same energy and dedication to the coalition.”

Before joining the Coalition, Terry spent a successful 30-year career in the field of economic development and downtown management. Terry was the inaugural executive director of Downtown Vision, Inc, a non-profit organization that helped revitalize downtown Jacksonville.

Terry’s experience will broaden the Coalition’s reach into the business community to raise the awareness of Coalition programs and more importantly to make the correlation between the business sector and infant mortality. Her role will include developing partnerships with various businesses to ensure that Healthy Start becomes more recognized for enhancing the health of families in need. Thusly the business partnerships will assist our infant mortality efforts and help to expand the awareness of the social determinants of health outside of our traditional partners.

Terry has been recognized by many organizations for her achievements. In 2012 the Jacksonville Business Journal recognized Ms. Lorince as a Woman of Influence and in 2015 the American Institute of Architects selected her for the Community Service Award for her work on the advancement of architecture, the arts and the environment.

The Coalition is proud to welcome Terry to the team.

Mother/Father of the Month

Jan 3, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  1 comment

Are you or someone you know deserving of the title Mother/Father of the month? We want to hear why! What is it about this mom/dad that makes them a unsung hero? Share the compelling story, and they may be our next Mother/Father of the Month.

It’s tough being a parent, and often times, the many things that parents do go unnoticed. We don’t say “Thank you” enough to parents. To fix that, the Coalition plans to celebrate one mom and one dad per month in 2017.

To be selected as the Mother of the Month (M.O.M) or Father of the Month (F.O.M), you must be nominated, by yourself or someone else, live in one of the five counties served by the Coalition (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau or St. Johns) and have not previously been crowned M.O.M./F.O.M. in the same year.

The M.O.M./F.O.M. will receive a prize, a feature on the Coalition’s website and social media outlets along with bragging rights for 30 days.

Nominations are accepted on an on-going basis.

If you have any questions, please contact Jerail Fennell:

(904) 723-5422 x127

M.O.M/F.O.M Nomination Form

  • 1. Name of Mother/Father you are nominating: 2. Number of Children 3. Address 4. Your Name: 5. Relation to nominee: 6. Is the nominee a participant in a Healthy Start program? Which program?
  • In 500 words or less, tell us why your nomination should be selected.


Meeting them where they are

Dec 28, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  1 comment

The Coalition and Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) have partnered together to offer breastfeeding education and services to four high schools in Duval County.

The partnership allows breastfeeding educators and advocates to encourage young mothers to exclusively breastfeed for six months, and to continue breastfeeding for at least one year. The mothers who participate in the breastfeeding partnership will be educated on the importance of breastfeeding; have access to breastfeeding pumps and a breastfeeding room; and will receive supplies to store their breastmilk safely.breastfeeding

Mesha Demps, the women’s intervention specialist for the Magnolia Project and a facilitator for the breastfeeding partnership, is excited about the opportunity to discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as assist the young mothers.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone involved” Demps said. “This collaboration allows many young mothers, who do not have the time or resources to pump or breastfeed, the opportunity to do so. Young mothers are constantly on the go. They have to go to school and many of them have to go to work after school. This is the perfect opportunity to meet them where they are.”

There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both mom and baby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These benefits include lower Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDS) risk, fewer problems with weight, less risk of cancer and more effective vaccines.

The breastfeeding partnership is set to begin in January 2017 with Mesha covering William M. Raines and A. Phillip Randolph high schools and Denise Mills, the breastfeeding outreach coordinator for the Coalition, covering  Edward H. White and Englewood high schools.