There are all kinds of services available to families in Hernando County, and Sarah Reyes wanted to get the word out. That's why the social worker and Springstead High School guidance counselor pulled together the recent Healthy Families, Healthy Communities event at the school.
Nearly two dozen community programs provided information to visitors.
Among the visitors were Pam and Chuck Moreau, who have five adopted children in the Hernando school system. They attended, Chuck Moreau said, "to get more information from the county to help the kids."
There were brochures and pamphlets for them to review.
"We got our main guide for what's available and learned about a local fitness group for the older children," Pam Moreau said.
As a counselor and social worker, Reyes saw a need to get information out.
"I felt like it was so hard to work with one family at a time (when) so many need help and they don't know what's available," she said.
She was looking for a way to present the information to a lot of families at once. Not knowing about the services that are available, she said, is tragic.
Reyes had help from Maureen Soliman, Crescent Community Clinic director of development and Gulf Coast Surgery Center practice administrator. Soliman is also involved with the Hernando County Medical Society Alliance and its Women Leading Social Change program, which focuses on health, education and community support.
"We've been reaching out to this community," Soliman said. "We're trying to get women healthy, so they can take care of their kids."
Barbara Sweinberg, Crescent Community Clinic's director of services, wanted parents to know that they can get medical services at the clinic. The clinic, she explained, is free for 18- to 64-year-olds who have no insurance and who meet federal poverty guidelines.
Dawn Bloxsom provided information about NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Basics, a free course for parents who know or suspect their children have mental illness.
"We want to inform parents that there's help out there for their children," Bloxsom said.
Baycare Behavioral Health's community-based care program coordinator, Sandra Morrero, informed parents about Baycare's comprehensive behavioral health services that are available for adults and children.
The handout of services that the Moreaus picked up was a comprehensive list of organizations that offer adult education, pregnancy/baby support, children's services, employee opportunities, health and wellness, shelter, elder care, disability services, mental health services, and food and outreach programs — help with such things as rent and electricity bills.
Reyes said she hopes to present another program in March.