The Star – November 6, 2014
AUBURN — United Way of DeKalb County announced Thursday that DeKalb Health hospital has made a commitment to support early childhood efforts in DeKalb County.
The hospital has committed a $10,000 corporate contribution to the United Way campaign. The gift will be matched in full by the Indiana Association of United Ways. The funds will be used to support a new program, “Let’s Talk,” that focuses on the importance of talking to infants and young children.
The first phase of “Let’s Talk” involves DeKalb Health Family Birthplace and pre-admission staff. They have been trained to share a key message with new mothers about the positive impact talking to a young child can have on the child’s capacity to learn.
The message will be delivered with a gift that includes a resource guide for parents, a board book, suggestions for when to talk to a baby and what to talk about, an infant wash cloth and a registration form that will allow new mothers to receive weekly texts with a simple message on how to build language into daily routines.
New parents also may sign up to receive a second gift from United Way in the mail when their child is 3 months old. The gift will include another board book, a bib, information from Learning Link on local parenting resources, a list of books to read with young children and a nursery rhyme guide.
The Zero to Three team of the Learning Link educational initiative of DeKalb County was involved in planning and implementation of the maternity ward visits and follow-up materials and processes. DeKalb Health volunteers put the gift packs together.
Additional components of “Let’s Talk” will be implemented in 2015 by early childhood professionals and programs that already serve DeKalb County.
“We have an incredible resource in our county of highly qualified early childhood professionals,” United Way Executive Director Julie Hill-Lauer said. “They understand the best practices in the field, they know how to reach at-risk children and families, and they have the structures in place to do the work. We look forward to providing them with additional tools and the funding to do what they do best.”