By: Melissa Jones—
Muncie, IN — Delaware County BY5 Early Childhood Initiative, Inc. recently announced a focus on forming partnerships within the healthcare industry. Though venturing into this industry is new for the county’s leading organization in early childhood awareness, it’s something Executive Director Missy Modesitt says will aid in achieving BY5’s main goal.
“BY5’s goal is that all children in Delaware County are born healthy and will acquire the necessary wellness care needed to insure successful entry into Kindergarten,” Modesitt said. “We know that quality healthcare and screenings for pregnant mothers and young children are critical components in achieving this goal. We are excited about expanding our partnerships within the healthcare industry … for the betterment of the children in our community.”
BY5’s most recent healthcare partnership is with the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Residency Center, which provides comprehensive care for all family members.
For more than 15 years, the Family Medicine Residency Center has participated in “Reach Out and Read,” a program that provides children from 6 months to 5 years old a free book at each visit.
“The program promotes early brain development and literacy, as well as the parent and child having quality time together to explore and learn,” said Heather Rhodes, a health educator at the Family Medicine Residency Center.
As part of the newly formed partnership, BY5 has donated more than $1,600 worth of books to the program, which Rhodes said will sustain the program for the next year.
“[With the donation], we can continue to provide the very best for our patients and help them grow a library and a love of books that they may have never had otherwise,” Rhodes said.
In addition to the Family Medicine Residency Center, BY5 has long provided books to Open Door Health Services. Like the Family Medicine Residency Center, these books are given to patients at their well-child visits, as well as at special events like Open Door’s community holiday party.
“This past December, we were able to put smiles on the faces of more than 100 children as they received a brand new book from Santa, made possible by BY5,” said Suzanne Clem, Open Door’s director of community awareness.
Partnerships like the one with BY5, Clem said, help bring Open Door’s mission to life.
“We know that reading and being read to is critical to our young patients’ development, and handing a child a book is one way we’re able to provide not only for medical needs, but for whole-patient health,” she said. “It fits right in line with Open Door’s mission to improve quality of life in the communities we serve.”
BY5 also distributes books through Book Patrol—a literacy program that partners with local police departments—and Little Free Libraries. Little Free Libraries offer a variety of genres for multiple age groups, and the libraries can be found in various locations throughout Delaware County.
To learn more about BY5’s initiatives, visit muncieby5.org.
BY5 is the leading organization in Muncie and Delaware County for promoting early childhood awareness. The organization strives to improve the opportunities available to children up to age 5. As a result of task force and volunteer opportunities, BY5 has been able to implement several strategies to aid children in reaching their developmental potential. To learn more, visit muncieby5.org.