Monday, December 27, 2010

A heart for homeless children

The picture makes me think of the MasterCard commercials. Cost of a wellness clinic $XXX. Difference it will make – priceless.

About two years ago, pediatrician Dr. Raymond Cataneo (cutting the ribbon) came to us with an offer for our children. He had volunteered at Community LINC and could tell by observing our kids, that they showed signs of health problems common to homeless children – asthma, diabetes, overweight due to poor nutrition, etc. He offered to create a free clinic to give our children a medical home while they are residents and after they leave.

For most of our kids, the only medical care they receive is at the emergency room. They are covered by Medicaid, but their parents have no insurance at all. That, and the instability of homelessness, doesn’t lead to good medical care.

So we wrote a grant and made the case for creating a wellness clinic and other things that would dramatically improve things for our kids.

We thought our funder would be a church or a civic group, but we were turned down by two. Our eternally optimistic Associate Executive Director Teresa McClain kept searching until we finally found our funding partner in an unexpected place - a corporation with a heart for homeless children – Humana.

Humana provided the funding to build and stock the clinic, to refurbish our children’s centers, build an indoor play area in the basement of one of our buildings, and pay a part time staffer for the Children’s Program.

Shortly afterward, a second funding partner stepped forward to let us know that, at the end of 2011, they would provide the funding to keep the clinic and the Children’s Program going. This time it was the generous and caring congregation of Second Presbyterian Church. They earmarked a percentage of their capital campaign to go their missions work in the community.

We’re very grateful to all of these caring people and to all of you who have a heart for these children.

Happy New Year.