That unseen power is the Healthy
Communities Partnership. HCP is a structured collaboration of
community leaders pooling their resources. Through HCP, needs of the
community are targeted and then task forces developed. For several
years now these task forces have been providing information,
services and assistance, activities, and programs that reach every
age group throughout the county.
HCP's new director, Kristi Lessen,
along with Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis and county board Chairman Dale
Voyles, welcomed a crowd that gathered last Thursday for a six-month
update from seven HCP task forces.
In addition to the updates, the group
heard about the Safe Haven Law from Sue Berker of Save Abandoned
Babies Foundation. Illinois law provides that a person or their
parent can anonymously leave a newborn with a person at a fire
station or emergency medical facility.
For further information on where to
take a newborn and on the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act in
The basic goal of the Healthy
Communities Partnership is to improve the quality of life for
residents in Logan County, using government and private agency
resources. Task forces work independently and interactively to
address community issues. The following representatives gave updates
on task force activities:
Task Force on Governance and
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Task
Chief Rich Montcalm, Lincoln Police
Patrick O'Neill, Logan County Board
Domestic Abuse and Violence Task
Raleigh Blasdell, Sojourn
Darrell Sisk, Regional Office of
Healthy Families Task Force
Cathy Huerd, Lincoln Parents Center
Louella Moreland, Lincoln Public
Senior Issues Task Force
Margie Harris, Logan County Health
Betty Larson, Logan County Health
Parish Nurse Task Force
Judy Horn, R.N., Lincoln Christian
Sue Estes, R.N., Jefferson Street
Rural Health Partnership Task
Sandy Brummet, R.N., C.F.N.P., Family
Pam Clark, R.N., Logan County Health
Ruth Freeman, R.N., Logan County Health
Debbie Hoover, R.N., Logan County
Mark Hilliard, administrator, Logan
County Health Department
The ATOD group strives to reduce
alcohol, tobacco and drug use by youth. Efforts target reducing
under-age-18 access to tobacco, under-age-21 access to alcohol and
access by all ages to all drugs.
Health lifestyles are promoted by
education and alternative activities. Free bowling, open activities
and fun at the park district were recent events.
* * *
The Domestic Abuse and Violence Task
Force provides prevention education and intervention programs. A
total of 47 emergency orders of protection and 16 plenary (complete,
no contact) orders of protection were issued in Logan County for the
last six months. Five clients returned plenary orders of protection.
This task force looks for and provides
community resources to families as needed. Members collect local
incidence data and study factors contributing to abuse within the
Additionally, the task force will
facilitate intervention between judiciary and law enforcement
systems and families in need of this intervention.
* * *
A third group, called Healthy Families,
seeks to strengthen the health and well-being of families. Members
attempt to reduce teen pregnancy and promote positive parenting
through education. They also have developed and support
family-centered community activities, such as the fall family fun
day, which features free food, games and music in the park.
Review of the past six months
New Parent Bags -- Distributed 100 bags
of parent resources and baby items to Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Hospital Obstetrics Department.
"Baby Think It Over" -- Purchased
equipment and supplies for the program.
Teen Parent Educator program --
Provided monthly personal visits; provided child development
information and parent support.
Teen Parenting Services program --
Provided various resources for clients to use while earning their
Teen Parent Club -- Supported this club
at Lincoln Community High School.
Logan County Resource List for Families
-- Updated list. The resource list is placed in all the new parent
resource bags given to the hospital.
After-prom activities -- Supported
post-prom activities for the high schools in Mount Pulaski and Hartsburg-Emden.
Mentoring -- Supported the mentoring
program through Lincoln Christian College and YMCA.
[to top of second column in
Workshop -- Supplied needed materials
for a workshop presented during PARTY. The workshop centered on the
theme of abstinence. Approximately 140-160 seventh-grade students
Community education -- Provided
information to local officials and organizations about the Safe
Haven Law and Save Abandoned Babies Foundation.
The Baby Think It Over program was run
for the eighth grade at Chester-East Lincoln, seventh and eighth
grades at Hartsburg-Emden, and ninth-grade students at Lincoln
Community High School. Students learn a bit about the realities of
caring for an infant by using computer programmed baby dolls in this
The newly formed Teen Parent Club at
the high school met five times with an average attendance of seven.
* * *
On the other end of the age spectrum is
care of our senior citizens. The Senior Issues Task Force
continuously looks for gaps in services and their delivery and
promotes services through education. Their latest programs are an
Alzheimer's support group and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
This task force has seen to it that 15
homebound seniors received weekend meals and provides services and
information at fairs.
* * *
One of the newer task forces identifies
and enlists nurses from churches. The parish nurse is a valuable
health awareness person bridging the gap between church and
* * *
Through the Rural Health Partnership
Task Force, additional ATOD and peer resistance preventative
programs were taken to schools.
Seventh-grade students' test-measured
knowledge of peer resistance was improved from 14 percent to 57
percent at Chester-East Lincoln, Hartsburg-Emden, Lincoln Junior
High, New Holland-Middletown, Elkhart and Mount Pulaski Grade
Eighth-grade students' test-measured
knowledge of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs was improved from 6
percent to 53 percent at Hartsburg-Emden, Lincoln Junior High, New
Holland-Middletown, Elkhart and Mount Pulaski Grade School.
This task force also works at
preventative and primary health care needs. They operate a mobile
unit that offers screenings, blood work, checkups and vaccinations,
but the most common service is blood pressure screening. The mobile
unit goes to Atlanta, Beason, Broadwell, Chestnut, Elkhart, Emden,
Greenview, Hartsburg, Latham, Middletown, Mount Pulaski, New
Holland, San Jose and Friendship Manor. The unit logged 1,428
appointments in the last six months.
* * *
The task forces are composed mostly of
professionals from related fields or community leaders. It is the
sustained commitment and integrated resources that make HCP task
forces especially effective. The scope of HCP will continue to
expand as future task forces are added. That decision will be made
as need is identified and viability for success is determined.
The Healthy Communities Partnership
will strive to:
--Create a community which actively works
to improve the health and quality of life of all its residents. A
community in which the definition of health goes beyond the absence
of disease and the traditional medical concept and addresses the
underlying factors in health and quality of life, such as the
environment, crime and lifestyle.
--Create a community in which all
residents have the opportunity to:
Access and receive high-quality
affordable medical care.
Exercise preventive health practices.
Drink clean water.
Live in adequate housing.
Learn to the extent of their capacity
Experience artistic stimuli.
Worship in the religion of their
Find rewarding recreational activities.
Work in a safe environment.
Be safe from bodily harm.
--Achieve our vision through
collaborative partnerships including a myriad of "forces," such as,
but not limited to, area governmental agencies, educational
institutions, arts organizations, health care providers, criminal
justice agencies, chambers of commerce, insurance providers,
employers, religious organizations and the media.