About Healthy Learners
Believing that children learn better when they are healthy, Providence Hospitals along with a group of committed community citizens established Healthy Learners, formerly Health Reach, in 1992 to help alleviate health related barriers to learning that face our community’s children who are without resources and are in need. The program began by offering services to five Columbia inner city elementary schools, but over the years the program in the Midlands area experienced tremendous growth. The dream of replication of the Healthy Learners model and statewide expansion of the program became reality in the fall of 2005 as 3 new programs opened in different regions of the state; one in Allendale (Lowcountry), one in Dillon (PeeDee) and one in Greenwood (Upstate). In January of 2009, another Healthy Learners program opened in Georgetown County. Currently the five Healthy Learners programs serve 150 schools in twelve school districts across South Carolina.
Healthy Learners is a faith-based non-profit that connects children to care so that poor health is not an obstacle to doing well in school. We address poverty as its root, so that future generations can lift themselves, and their communities, to a better life. Healthy Learners services include assistance with Medicaid application process, assistance with referrals for clinical counseling, coordination of health care, dental care, hearing evaluations and care, medications, transportation to appointments, treatment for medical needs and vision care. Over the years, thousands of children have received health care services statewide and thousands of miles have been traveled while transporting children to their health care appointments. In the 2018-2019 school year, Healthy Learners served 1,686 students and provided 5,138 services.
As a result of being served by Healthy Learners, our program evaluation outcome measures have documented a large number of children with health status improvement, increased self-esteem and improved ability to perform academically in school. Not only have Healthy Learners’ children improved their academic performance, the immense health disparities that children who are without resources face are being narrowed.