New resource for High Point families with young children

Ready for School, Ready for Life and the Housing Authority of the City of High Point open
a new interactive learning center.

(October 20, 2021 — GREENSBORO, N.C.) Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) has partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of High Point (HPHA) to provide early childhood development resources to its residents. The Interactive Learning Center located at J.C. Morgan Community Center will open on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 1 p.m.

The Interactive Learning Center within the HPHA’s J.C. Morgan public housing community offers information on The Basics Guilford, five fun, free, science-based concepts that parents and caregivers can use to help their child’s healthy development.

“Working with the HPHA, we have transformed two rooms for families with young children themed around The Basics Guilford,” said Megan LeFaivre, Ready Ready’s literacy coordinator. “One of the rooms is for families with children ages 0-3, with soft play mats, age-appropriate toys, and beanbag chairs. The second is designed for families with children ages 3-5 and offers comfortable children’s furniture, books, and fun manipulatives.

Both rooms have meeting space for educational programs. Local organizations will provide programming on child development, literacy, parenting, and more. Families will be able to sign up for these learning opportunities through the HPHA’s Resident Services Department.

“We are excited to open the Interactive Learning Center to families at J.C. Morgan Courts,” said Angela McGill, HPHA’s CEO. “Creating an environment to help families with young children is critical to their emotional, physical, and cognitive well-being. It supports our mission and Ready Ready has been a dynamic partner!”

“We are thankful for the partnership with Ready Ready and their assistance with creating a designated area for families to be able to interact with their children. The future is bright, and this learning center will be an early aid in our youth’s development,” said Charity Bunting, HPHA’s board chair.

Want to go?

What:               HPHA’s Interactive Learning Center ribbon-cutting
Where:             J.C. Morgan Community Center
501 Anaheim Street, High Point, N.C., 27260

Date:                Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Time:               1:00 p.m.

The media is invited to attend the ribbon-cutting and tour the new center.

Partner Spotlight: Every Baby Guilford

“Our mission is to ignite and mobilize Guilford County through partnerships and unified strategies to eliminate racial disparities and prevent infant deaths,” said Jean Workman, executive director of Every Baby Guilford.

The infant mortality rate in Guilford County is one of the highest in North Carolina. Of the 6,045 babies born in Guilford County in 2019, 56 did not make it to their first birthday.

Every Baby Guilford is a 30-year public-private partnership with the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services. As part of its 30th anniversary, the organization – formerly the Coalition on Infant Mortality – launched with a new name and a five-year strategic plan.

“When we started this organization in 1991, the disparity gap or the black infant mortality rate was 14.6 per 1,000 births. Today, our most recent 2019 stats show the same figure,” Workman said. “The Black infant mortality rate hasn’t changed substantially in 30 years.”

Workman points out that the organization historically created programs that focused on changing a pregnant person’s health and behavior, such as blood pressure monitoring, nutrition, and access to prenatal care. But the data shows that the Black infant mortality rate hasn’t dropped. A new approach was needed.

“We are still focused on mothers, but now we want to change the systems they encounter, particularly for Black moms,” Workman said. “In many respects, we are aligned so closely with Ready for School, Ready for Life. Together we are working on population-level change.”

Inspired by Ready Ready’s system-building approach, the Every Baby Guilford team, along with community members, health care professionals, policymakers, faith-based organizations, and partner organizations, worked together to relaunch with a collective action framework. The goal is to bring mortality rates down by 50 percent over the next five years.

“We want to eliminate systemic racism that exists in our medical practices through implicit bias, ensure safe and well-equipped areas for exercise, and address food insecurity for families. All these are a system change approach,” Workman said. “Eliminating structural racism will make the system more approachable, more resourceful, and more accessible.”

Every Baby Guilford names four key injustices that have negatively impacted Black mothers and young children through structural or institutional racism. They are unequal access to resources, housing discrimination, breastfeeding, and mistrust of health care institutions.

According to its website, the organization believes that understanding past events will allow Guilford County to better understand the cause of infant disparities and identify solutions that move towards an equitable future.

“We must change the policies, practices, and procedures that occur within the system so that families can more easily navigate those resources,” Workman said. “Having willing partners at the table ready to take part will help us make this transformation.”

Workman kicks off the strategy with a storytelling project she calls “Giving Voice to Mothers.” She said collecting the maternal health narratives, particularly of women of color in our community, will paint the picture of what’s needed in Guilford County for improvement and change.