What We Saw in the South Bronx Was Amazing
How Red Nose Day Provides Healthcare to Children Across the Country
by Tamanna @ Red Nose Day
Recently, I took a trip to the South Bronx here in New York to visit a friend.
I walked in with the excitement and awe you’d expect walking into a face-to-face meeting with Beyonce.
Why? Because it’s always exciting to meet the people you admire. I got a chance to sit down with CEO of Children’s Health Fund, Dennis Walto, and the members of his team. They’re using funds raised during Red Nose Day to provide essential medical care to low-income and homeless youth across the US. They might even be cooler than Beyoncé.
Children’s Health Fund has been a Red Nose Day charity partner for three years, since the campaign started here in America in 2015. Money raised through Red Nose Day supports the national network of Children's Health Fund clinics and mobile health units in 15 states and DC.
The mobile health units are doctor's offices on wheels that 'go where the children are' in urban and rural communities across the country. It was very, very cool to see one of these mobile health Bronx units in person.
It's amazing how much fits into one of these vehicles. Each clinic is decked out with state-of-the-art examining rooms, comfortable waiting areas, a nurse's station, sophisticated equipment, educational resources, and a room for medical procedures. What's even more amazing is that these mobile clinics bring check-ups, testing, eye exams, and more to children and young people all around the country right where they live, study and play.
Next, the team took me over to the South Bronx Health Center for a tour of Children’s Health Fund’s South Bronx Pediatric Clinic, run in partnership with the Children's Hospital at Montefiore.
The facility is stunning.
The waiting room is cheery and flooded with light, the walls are adorned with tasteful artwork, and the staff working there is incredibly warm and inviting.
Here, the Children's Health Fund team helps bring primary care, dental services, mental health resources, nutritional counseling, and a wide array of other support services for children.
“Children’s Health Fund and their partners are radically changing and improving communities through their holistic look at supporting underserved children and families.”
But to see the real effect of their work, you need to look beyond the walls of this health facility. Children’s Health Fund and their partners are radically changing and improving communities through their holistic look at supporting underserved children and families. This really resonates with what Red Nose Day hopes to achieve – helping meet immediate needs while supporting long-term change for underserved children.
One of the lovely physicians we met in the halls explained to us that at the end of each visit, children receive a complimentary book to take home. It’s more than just a nice treat for the kids: studies show that simply giving children access to books is the "first and most important step in encouraging literacy development.” Further, this may be the only reading material some children have access to, especially if they are living in a homeless shelter. Children's Health Fund offers a number of other enrichment classes and services that go above and beyond, including English classes to recent immigrant youth and asylum seekers, photography classes, and even a community garden. It demonstrates a holistic approach to ensure kids not only have access to healthcare, but that they are empowered to learn and grow.
Just as we were wrapping up our visit, we caught the end of the weekly “Well-Baby Group” as it was letting out. This innovative program operates in partnership with Montefiore Medical Center and is designed for moms and their newborn babies. The group setting provides all the basic well-baby care that a pediatrician would provide in an individual visit, and also enables mothers to get to know their healthcare team and build a network with other new mothers in the community. Needless to say, we could not have picked a cuter time to be there. I took a moment to laugh, clap and coo with the tiny ones.
One thing is certainly clear: when children thrive, communities thrive.
Children’s Health Fund helps address the individual child and the community. When you give during Red Nose Day, you help our amazing partners do incredible things… one nose, and one mobile health clinic, one child at a time.
Thank you for reading. To learn more about how we work together with partners to make an impact in kids' lives, go here.