Community Partners Support Healthy Learners Georgetown Community Meeting

Posted on September 1st, 2015

The J.B. Beck Administration and Education Building in the Georgetown County School District’s Main Board Room was the location of a Community Meeting hosted by Healthy Learners, the Healthy Learners Board of Trustees and Friends of Healthy Learners Georgetown on August 26, 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to share the direct impact and sustainability of the program. The meeting allowed attendees an opportunity to provide new insights and solutions, which will hopefully result in a higher level of contributions and commitments to the continuation of the program.

John Heydel, chair of the Healthy Learners Board of Trustees opened the meeting stating, “Today is all about the health and well-being of our children, “our future”!  Heydel welcomed and thanked everyone for taking the time to attend the meeting while having an opportunity to share their thoughts on how the community will work together to continue the Healthy Learners Georgetown program.  The Healthy Learners Board of Trustees treasurer, Rich Williams, shared that the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of SC, Tidelands Healthcare, the Georgetown County School District and others provided start-up funding to launch the Healthy Learners Georgetown program.  He reported the current operating budget for the Georgetown program as $200,484, and stated that there is still a need for the program in the Georgetown community to provide access to health care for school children.  “We know that our program is mission driven, cost effective, and does not duplicate the services offered by any other non-profit organization,” said Williams.

A heartfelt parent testimonial was given by Tracey Flowers as she expressed her appreciation for Healthy Learners.  She shared that the need for access to health care and coordination of services for her child was necessary because of her family’s current circumstances.   Amy Downing, Program Officer, Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, talked about why Healthy Learners Georgetown is important to the community.  Downing referenced the fact that although Healthy Learners was established in Georgetown in 2008, eight years later, there continues to be children in Georgetown who will probably not receive the health care critical to their success in school without Healthy Learners.  Jessica Sasser, Executive Director, Tidelands Health Foundation shared why Tidelands Health supports the Healthy Learners Georgetown program.  “We see the value of the program, and recognize the costs savings to the community when children have their health care needs met by utilizing the correct health care provider as opposed to the Emergency Room,” said Sasser.  “The Georgetown program is a benefit to the children it serves and the Georgetown Community as a whole.”

As Laura Tucker, Georgetown County School District Lead School Nurse, and Friend of Healthy Learners Georgetown presented her plea for support, she invited the local community leaders that served with Healthy Learners Georgetown since its inception in 2008 to stand, as well as past Advisory Board members, those that have sponsored fundraisers and the Friends of Healthy Learners Georgetown.  Tucker also thanked all of the generous and dedicated donors from Georgetown this past year.  She gave a special thank you to Geales Sands and the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, Tidelands Health, Jessica Sasser and Mr. Bruce Bailey (in his absence) for their annual contribution, the sponsorships and ticket purchases for the Nashville Songwriters in the Round fundraiser and for being leaders in the Healthy Learners mission of removing children’s health barriers to learning.  In addition, Tucker reported that since 2008, when Healthy Learners Georgetown began to operate, the program has provided 1,062 children with access to 6,033 health care services, more than 135,748 miles have been traveled transporting children to and from health care appointments, picking up and delivering their medications and glasses, and following up as necessary, while a total of 13,192 hours have been spent delivering the services to the children.  Medications have been the most requested service for a total of 1,965, followed closely by dental services which have accounted for 1,837 services provided.  Tucker commented that navigating the health care system and available resources is a large part of what the Healthy Learners program staff does for children.  “For every $1.00 invested by Healthy Learners Georgetown, there is a Return on Investment of $4.38,” said Tucker.  She shared that Healthy Learners Georgetown is asking the local community to assist in sustaining the Healthy Learners Georgetown program by raising $60,000 at the local level from August 2015 – August 2016 and each year thereafter.  Tucker introduced Todd Buehrig, Director of Development for Healthy Learners and stated that Buehrig will be working with the community leaders this year to help reach the ambitious goal.

Georgetown County School District Superintendent, Community Partner, and Friend of Healthy Learners Georgetown, Randy Dozier expressed the importance, value, and appreciation of the school district’s partnership with Healthy Learners.  Dozier also stated that the Georgetown County School District plans to continue supporting Healthy Learners Georgetown as the district strives to have the healthiest children in the state.

As a retired hospital administrator, Heydel commented that the medical care children receive needs to be provided outside of a hospital considering the costs to be served in the Emergency Room increases dramatically.  He also thanked the community for their participation and support on behalf of the Sisters of Charity, the Friends of Healthy Learners Georgetown and the Healthy Learners Board of Trustees and Staff.