Women's Fund of Southwest Iowa
All Care Health Center received a grant award for $9,000 for the creation of a Women’s Health Passport -- an annual care plan -- as an investment in the health and education of female patients and low-income women throughout southwest Iowa. Studies show that women experiencing poverty are focused on survival, not preventative care, and their risk of health problems develop or worsen over time. All Care providers will create a Health Passport to include an annual well-visit, a list of screening opportunities, and other recommended measures based on a patient’s age, sex, current health status, pre-existing conditions, and family health history. The new program will be offered to guests of MICAH House, and other emergency housing services for women, including Catholic Charities, during its first implementation year.
“Pottawattamie County ranks in the lowest 10% of counties for overall health outcomes and health factors when combined, in our state. All Care wants to change that,” states Bill Wypyski, Executive Director of All Care Health Center. “Our All Care team is continually strategizing and developing methods to improve the community’s health, as a whole. In particular, women's health focuses change throughout a women's life. We are grateful for funding from the Women's Fund of Southwest Iowa that will help our providers to open conversations that outline and encourage an annual road map of individualized services for our female patients that lead to improvement of overall health outcomes. While we encourage our female patients to take better care of themselves, they will help to teach the next generation.”
“As primary care providers we continuously engage patients in conversations about the need for preventative services to help reduce the burden of disease later on,” said Teresa Dowling, All Care Co-Medical Director. “Getting these preventative services is not always on the top of a woman’s to-do list. Having this funding will provide us an opportunity to continue these conversations and hopefully engage them in a way that is meaningful and encouraging to make preventative services a priority.”
Building Blocks Childcare Academy (BBA) in Woodbine received a $5,000 grant to assist with staff training toward certification as Montessori educators. The funding will provide an opportunity for families in Harrison County to experience the benefits of the Montessori philosophy, without commuting to bigger cities for these resources. Montessori based care encourages emotional well-being which increases the overall health of a child. Children who engage in child-focused learning can take initiative in tasks regarding critical thinking and focus, thus encouraging a growth mindset and ability to learn in a school setting. BBA will provide quality care to infants from 6 weeks to 3 years old, until the child is eligible for the Woodbine Community School Preschool program. Additionally, BBA will empower women in lead teacher roles to have pride in their position and certification, thus encouraging the place-making entity of their career at Building Blocks.
“Building Blocks Academy is honored to have been chosen as one of the recipients for the Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa grant,” said Cassie Reisz, director of Building Blocks Academy. “This grant will assist teachers of Building Blocks Academy in completing a Montessori Diploma program to become certified Montessori teachers. For Woodbine and surrounding areas, this grant opens an opportunity for families to experience the benefits of the Montessori philosophy, without commuting to bigger cities for these resources! Having access to early childhood education centers with highly trained teachers will aid in a growth of skill sets needed for school readiness.”
CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs received a $10,000 grant award to offer Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) Telehealth Services to rural hospitals and clinics in Pottawattamie, Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, and Shelby counties. Nationally, reports of domestic violence have risen sharply since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and rural southwest Iowa faces significant barriers to accessing FNE services due to locations of emergency rooms, fear of identification in small close-knit communities, transportation, or stigma. The CHI Health Mercy FNE program will expand to critical access hospitals/clinics in rural communities to better treat patients who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Funds will support the successful implementation of telehealth services by purchasing technology equipment, training of nurses, and providing community education, as telehealth services are not currently in place for the FNE program.
“With the support of the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation grant, CHI Health's Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) Program will be able to expand its reach in Southwest Iowa by providing specialized forensic care and hopefully reduce the amount of trauma experienced by those affected by sexual assault,” said Jodi Hayes, FNE Supervisor for CHI Health. “The grant will allow us to collaborate with victim advocates and community partners to provide the necessary aftercare resources victims need. This funding and program expansion will also allow us to collaborate with law enforcement to increase prosecution of violent offenders.”
“We are grateful to be awarded this funding, as it allows us to expand our current program and reach more victims of abuse in Southwest Iowa,” said Denise McNitt, Vice President of Patient Care at CHI Health Mercy Hospital. “This grant and our partnership with the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation (PCCF) enables us to continue this mission of caring.”
West Pottawattamie Extension and Outreach received a $5,000 grant award for the Speak Up Be Safe! (SUBS) program in Pottawattamie County that provides safety rules and direct program education to more than 5,000 students annually. SUBS is an established curriculum for students that include: It’s My Body, I Have Choices, Tell Someone, Healthy Relationships, and Resist Strategies. Each grade level is two classroom sessions and provides materials for parents, with an opportunity to provide virtual programming in 2021. Grant funding from PCCF will help West Pottawattamie Extension and Outreach continue to reach preK-3rd grade youth, expand the program reach to 4th grade youth, and help increase safety awareness for all youth in preK-4th grade.
“With the inception of the first sexual abuse program in the early ‘80’s, West Pottawattamie Extension and Outreach has historically empowered children with the tools they need to identify situations that could harm or hurt them, how to get away and how to ask for help,” said Carol Waters, County Director of West Pottawattamie Extension and Outreach. “These tools are a steppingstone to strong, confident children who will stand up for themselves regardless of the situation they encounter. This grant from the PCCF Women’s Fund will allow us to continue to grow the program from a PreK – 3rd grade program into a PreK – 8th grade program and eventually expand into high school where healthy relationships are part of the focus.”
Centro Latino of Iowa was awarded $10,000 designated as scholarship support for low-to-medium income Latina women living in southwest Iowa to register for the Southwest Iowa Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship Program. Grant funding will be used to award 25 tuition scholarships for Latina women to attend the 20 hour program designed to help entrepreneurs effectively start a small business. Components will include vision and mission development, goal setting, accounting/bookkeeping and taxes, insurance, employment law, market analysis, marketing, reading financial statements, and financial projections. The mission of Centro Latino is to educate and empower Hispanic/Latino individuals and families towards thriving, self-sufficient, and healthy lives. Individuals throughout southwest Iowa in the counties of: Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby will benefit from this grant.
”Centro Latino of Iowa is most grateful for receiving the PCCF Women's Fund of Southwest Iowa inaugural grant to support our Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship Program by financially supporting Latinas Entrepreneurs,” said Ramon Calzada, Centro Latino of Iowa executive director. “The projected goal is to increase the number of Latino-owned businesses, but most especially affordable home-based childcare businesses owned by Latino women.”
Essex Child Center, a child care facility in Essex, Iowa, has been awarded $8,640 to support preschool tuition assistance. There are families who choose to forego preschool for their children due to the added monthly expense, and studies show the importance and advantages of an early childhood education, such as: improved social skills, better performance in grade school, improved attention spans, and enthusiasm for lifelong learning. The grant will allow Essex Child Center to enroll an additional 16 children in the preschool program by providing tuition assistance to families. The mission of Essex Child Center is to provide a safe, nurturing, and healthy learning environment for children ages six weeks through 12 years of age. Their focus is to provide a stimulating early care and education experience, which promotes each child’s social/emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Individuals in Montgomery and Page counties will benefit from this grant.
“The Essex Child Center is truly grateful for the funding received from the Women’s Fund Grant, and it is hard to express in words what this means to us,” said Tonya Stoaks, director of the Essex Child Center. “This funding will allow us to provide a free preschool program to 16 three- year-olds for the 2020-2021 school year. In southwest Iowa it is very rare and also extremely important to be able to offer this program at no cost to parents, especially in the midst of a pandemic. To us, this means we will be serving the children in our community to the best of our ability with no financial strain to the families. We are so thankful for the support we have received from the PCCF Women’s Fund Grant, and cannot wait to implement our tuition-free preschool program!
Heartland Family Service has been awarded $10,000 to support childcare needs and family activities for the Iowa Family Works Program as individuals continue to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa Family Works promotes long-lasting recovery for women and mothers to preserve and strengthen healthy development for the women, their children, and the family unit. The mission of Heartland Family Service is to strengthen individuals and families in our community through education, counseling, and support services. Individuals throughout southwest Iowa in the counties of: Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, and Shelby will benefit from this grant.
“Funds from the Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa for the Heartland Family Service Iowa Family Works program support a life-changing program which provides residential treatment for mothers and family services,” said John Jeanetta, president and CEO of Heartland Family Service. “The funds enable us to provide childcare onsite to mitigate the risk of COVID exposure for the families and employees in our program. It will also allow us to purchase items for healthy family activities. Family time is an important aspect of the program that often includes community events, but with COVID we had to transition to onsite activities. Kickball, yard games, back yard picnics and chalk art are a few of the activities the families may enjoy during this time of quarantine isolation. We are so grateful for the support from the Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa!”
Kids Place, a child care facility in Glenwood, Iowa, has been awarded $10,000 to support classroom repairs and renovations. The project will renovate and repurpose existing space to accommodate the community’s need for child care and will ultimately increase enrollment for the facility. The mission of Kids Place is to provide a safe, comfortable, and nurturing environment for all children to learn, love, and grow, and to offer peace of mind to parents through equal, dependable, quality child care. Individuals in Mills County will benefit from this grant.
“This funding opportunity is greatly appreciated and will allow Kids Place to make renovations to our rooms,” said Heidi Lunn, director of Kids Place. “Our goal is to provide care to as many families as possible in our community and surrounding areas now and for many years to come. Our priority is to use our facility to its fullest potential, and give families a safe, nurturing, quality center for their children to grow and learn in.”