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Every mother gives birth to a child with a sense of hope for its future, and for their future together. But too often, hope is not enough. Fifty-two percent of babies born in Sarasota County are born into poverty—into families that may lack stable employment or housing, food and healthcare, or struggle with addiction, violence and depression.

But a new program, funded in part by Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, aims to break the cycle of poverty and provide the resources every family needs to give their children a healthy head start in life.

First 1000 Days Sarasota County

Spearheaded by the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, First 1,000 Days Sarasota will follow children through the first one thousand days of their lives, guiding their families toward resources that are key to babies’ physical, emotional and intellectual development. The quality of experiences during the first 1,000 days of life establish either a strong or a fragile foundation for everything that follows. Mothers who live in poverty are more likely to have babies who are at greater risk for lifelong problems with attention and learning, as well as chronic health conditions.

A $250,000 grant is kick-starting the program.

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation is proud to have granted $250,000 to this incredible, life-changing program. As the hospital identifies pregnant women who need help, a program coordinator and patient navigator will guide them to resources that are available throughout the county. Sarasota County has a wealth of resources women can tap into, but research shows that many of them are either unaware of those resources or are simply too overwhelmed to reach out.

First 1000 Days connects those women with the resources they need and follows through to assure that the hospital’s patient navigator can continue to coordinate help moving forward.

Sarasota Memorial is one of more than 30 community organizations collaborating with the Barancik Foundation to pilot this nationwide initiative in our community.  The local program initially will focus on helping women who currently receive no prenatal care or inadequate prenatal care. The program will then incorporate prevention and follow-up maternal care.

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation is thrilled to be a part of this life-changing program at SMH.

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