Healthy Learners began serving the students of Dillon School District Two in the fall of 2005 and expanded to include service to the schools in Dillon School Districts One and Three in the 2008-2009 school year. In the fall of 2011, Dillon School Districts One and Two merged to become Dillon School District Four. The program serves elementary, middle and high school students who are in need and without resources in Dillon County School Districts Three (Latta) and Four (Lake View).  This includes students who are covered by Medicaid.  Transportation to and from school to appointments is a unique and vital link to the success of the Healthy Learners program.

An overview of the needs of the children of Dillon County outlines several important facts. The Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) program states that 19.2% of residents under the age of 18 are uninsured. According to the State Department of Education’s website, 76.72% of the children in Dillon County qualified for free or reduced lunch in 2008. The 2008 Kid’s Count data reports that 70.6% of parents with children ages 6-17 years old were in the labor force, however 30.1% of the children in the same age group lived in poverty. Children in single parent families made up 64.8% of all the county’s children living in poverty. Also according to Kid’s Count data, 36.7% of students do not graduate from school.

Families with children who are in need and without resources are often unable to meet the financial obligations of health care and the lack of transportation makes health care access even more difficult. In the spirit of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Healthy Learners staff is devoted to removing children’s health barriers to learning with love and compassion for the children of Dillon County by providing access to health care.

For more information about Healthy Learners Dillon call Dee Newell, Program Manager at (843) 774-1907 or email: dnewell@healthylearners.com.