By Chris Egan
The Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2014 is one of a growing number of groups and organizations addressing the issue of heroin addiction in Northern Kentucky. With the Healthy Newborns Project, they aim to help pregnant women that are addicted to heroin get treatment and proper care both during their pregnancy and after giving birth. The class teamed up with Transitions, Inc. who is leading the program.
The Healthy Newborns Project Co-Chair, Elizabeth Corbett answered some questions about the project, its needs, and its future.
How many different ideas were presented to the class before ultimately settling on the Healthy Newborns Project?
The project selection was a process that started with half a dozen or so organizations. Class members were also able to add options to the selection list. We had several meetings to narrow the field down to two project options. Those organizations and classmates were able to present the proposed project that was put to a class vote.
What made Transition’s Healthy Newborn Project stand out as the most important?
Leadership Northern Kentucky (LNK) class of 2014 felt it had a great opportunity to come together and make a difference as a group of 50 community leaders. It was important to the class to identify a project that would help to make an impact in the community. Classmates shared with the entire class the heroin epidemic in NKY and the burden it is having on the entire community.
The class project was chosen to tackle an area the heroin epidemic was affecting and identify areas where the class could make a difference. Through a fellow classmate’s association, the class aligned with Transitions to help create the Healthy Newborn Project. The area of trying to help women stay sober and give birth to healthy babies really resonated with the entire class.
In addition to creating an immediate impact with the class project, there was a strong interest among the class to create a Legacy project. Through this interest the focus of helping to bring about the first adolescent treatment center in NKY was born. The goal of this project is to use LNK 2014 as a facilitator/coordinator to bring about a treatment center.
The Healthy Newborns Facebook page and the info on TransitionsKy.org lists four primary opportunities for LNK ’14 to help with this project. Two of those are self explanatory; the needs for Facility Rehabilitation and Start Up Supplies. I’d like to ask you about the other two. Could you go into a little more detail on how your class plans to address the Mother Support Program and the Adopt-A-Room opportunity?
The Mother Support Program will help keep the mother and baby healthy before and after the birth, through life-skills training. This group will focus on topics like financial well-being, nutrition, caring for your baby and many other topics to help education and improve their daily experience in a meaningful way. The Healthy Newborns Program would work with third party agencies to provide these life skills trainings.
We had a wonderful designer, volunteer her time to help us identify what each room needs and how we can best improve the over function of the home. The Adopt-A-Room opportunity will be to provide an itemized list of things needed for each bedroom, living area, bathroom, and kitchen in the home and the monetary donation it will take to get that room set up.
Are you accepting monetary donations in addition to the start-up items and on going supplies you have listed online? If so, where can people make donations for this project?
Monetary donations are accepted online at www.transitionsky.org/healthynewborns then clicking on “save a life”. Checks can be made payable to Transitions Inc. and can be mailed to:
LNK Healthy Newborns Project
700 Fairfield Avenue Bellevue, KY 41073
Besides donations, what is the funding strategy for the project?
Transitions, Inc. has been in operation since 1969. They will continue this project through grants and other government aid, along with private donations. For more information on Transitions and its financials please visit www.transitionsky.org.
It’s clear that the intent for this project is to continue indefinitely. How will the leadership of the project transition after the 2014 Leadership Northern Kentucky Class has ended?
Transitions will continue to run the day-to-day operations, life skills and treatment, which are already in place. Once this class is over the Transition Board will continue to fundraise and collect donations for this project, along with all the others that Transitions has. Transitions has a leadership team in place that Leadership Northern Kentucky is working closely with throughout our project. The transition should be seamless.
Other than supplies and monetary donations, how else can people help?
If people are interested in helping in other ways they can reach out to Transitions for volunteer opportunities. Mostly we really just want people to help us spread the word. We need to help those in our community struggling with a heroin addiction. This issue doesn’t just affect those addicted, but it greatly affects their families, friends and our community at large. As leaders in our community we wanted to step up and lead the way, by offering our support to this cause.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
We really want to thank all those who have been any part of this so far. We have been really overwhelmed by how many people have offered to help in whatever way they can. As someone who has been close to the recovery community for several years now and serves on the Transitions Board, this has been very inspiring. I am so very grateful. We have a real opportunity to change the lives of these women and children in our community.