Father of the Month: May 2017

May 31, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 11.43.19 AMThe Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition would like to congratulate Mark Johnson on being chosen as the May 2017 Father of the Month.

Mark, who is a participant of the Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E. program was nominated by his case manager Kathy Irvine.

“It was recommended that I take the 24/7 Dad class that Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E. offers because I was having a baby at my age. It was a refresher course for me,” Mark said.

Mark, 50, and his wife Joyce have a one-year-old son together. Mark says that because of Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E., he now knows how to communicate with his wife better and even with his son.

“The class taught me how to actually communicate with a one-year-old. How to understand his wants and his needs. I strongly recommend this program for any fathers. You’re never too old to learn something new.”

Mark is a handyman who has dealt with his fair share of life’s ups and downs. After losing his mother suddenly, Mark fell into a depression and began abusing drugs.

“It’s not something that I am proud of, but it’s life,” Mark said. “We all go through our own trials and tribulations in life. Mine just happened to be drugs.”

Mark, who quit drugs cold turkey, has been in recovery for six months and does not plan to look back.

On behalf of the Coalition and our Father of the Month sponsor, Nothing Bunt Cakes, we would like to congratulate Mark Johnson 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.

Make a Difference! Leadership Academy: Why eat healthy?

Oct 19, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

While healthy eating is vital to an overall healthy life, the challenge many people face is knowing where to purchase healthier eating options. The Make a Difference! Leadership Academy Fall 2015 graduating class  created a year-long plan to inform different communities about the benefits and where to find healthier eating choices.screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-2-45-31-pm

The Leadership Academy is a 16-week course, that trains grassroots leaders to make an impact in their communities. The goal of the Leadership Academy is to inspire everyone in the community to make better decisions when it comes to health.

There are two cohorts of the Leadership Academy per year. After graduating from the course, each year members chooses a community project to work on collaboratively. The Leadership Academy fall 2015 members chose to focus their efforts on helping individuals and families who receive SNAP/EBT understand the benefits of eating healthier. The members also wanted to inform the community of the local farmer’s markets and produce stands that accept SNAP/EBT benefits.

The members created and distributed posters and information cards that outlined the benefits of eating healthy and list different locations that accept SNAP/EBT benefits. The posters were given to members at each site, to be given to clients and participants. These locations include: The Magnolia Project, Jacksonville Housing Authority, the local libraries, Clara White Mission Center, United Healthcare and UF Health Jacksonville.

To learn more about the Leadership Academy and how you can become a leader, contact 904-723-5422


Breastfeeding: An extra soldier to fight breast cancer

Oct 18, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

image-1Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer women suffer from and according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1:8 women are affected by some form of breast cancer. Research has proven that breastfeeding is one of many methods that can be use to reduce a women’s risk of breast cancer.  Breast cancer is a fight that many women are continuing to battle, and with new research and continued education, more women are winning the fight against breast cancer and continuing to live healthy lives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers many different ways women can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and getting more sleep at nighttime are amongst the ways women can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Another option that can reduce a women’s risk of breast cancer is by breastfeeding. The CDC recommends all women breastfeed, if possible.

Breast milk is the best milk, not only for baby but for mom as well. For baby, breast milk reduces risk of childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory tract infection. For mom, producing breast milk reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, according to the CDC.

For more information about breastfeeding and to find support, visit the Coalition’s breastfeeding page. #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth

Healthy Families Jacksonville joins the Coalition

Oct 5, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments


A Healthy Families home visitor meeting with a client

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition has been awarded a subcontract with the Jacksonville Children’s Commission to administer implementation of the Healthy Families Jacksonville program effective October 1, 2016.

Healthy Families is a nationally-accredited family support and coaching program that helps parents provide the safe and stable environments children need for healthy growth and development. The evidence-based program is voluntarily and the participants receive the services in their home by specially-trained support workers.

With the Coalition’s focus on preventing infant mortality and Healthy Families focus on reducing child abuse, the merge allows the Coalition to serve pregnant women and babies up to five years old. Families are screened for both programs with the Healthy Start screen.

The Healthy Families program will serve families living in Duval county in targeted zip codes. Those zip codes include: 32202, 32204, 32205, 32206, 32207, 32208, 32209, 32210, 32211, 32216, 32217, 32218, 32219, 32220, 32221, 32225, 32226, 32233, 32244, 32246, 32250, 32254, 32256, 32257 and 32277.

To be eligible for the Healthy Families program, participants must be pregnant or have an infant less than three months of age; live in a targeted geographic service delivery area; score 13 or above on the Healthy Start screen.

The Coalition welcomes approximately 28 new staff members to the team and looks forward to continuing serving pregnant women, babies and families, to promote positive parent-child relationships and to ensure that every baby has a healthy start.