Eduardo Berrones and Audelia Martinez from Le Jardin Community Center discuss the transformative Mobile Health Initiative, bringing wellness to your doorstep.
Access to quality healthcare is something that many people struggle with, but Le Jardin Community Center is on a mission to tackle this issue.
For 37 years, Le Jardin has provided important services to the community through various initiatives including their Head Start and Early Head Start programmes, and now they’ve introduced Mobile Health buses, a practical solution to bring healthcare directly to underserved communities. This initiative primarily serves two key groups: expectant mothers and pre-kindergarten children, setting the stage for a healthy start to their lives.
Eduardo Berrones, Executive Director of Le Jardin, sees the needs and challenges of the community, stating “Our population is trying to put food on their table, so child health care becomes secondary.” He also points out that a shortage of pediatricians in the area leads to long waiting lists, with patients often having to wait three to four months for an appointment. “That doesn’t work for us. We’re dealing now with 600 infants and toddlers, and they require checkups every three months.”
The programme is currently running with two buses, each with a unique focus. The first one’s all about physical health, bringing essential medical services right to people’s neighborhoods. And they’ve got another bus dedicated to promoting mental wellness. They provide counseling and mental health screenings for children and families, ensuring that no one is left behind.
Mental health is a topic that carries a weight of stigma and misunderstanding in many communities. Berrones says, “our population doesn’t have enough knowledge of mental health,” often fearing that seeking help might mean their child is labeled as ‘crazy.’
But it’s not just about addressing immediate concerns, it’s also about fostering a culture of understanding and acceptance around mental health. Audelia Martinez, Chief Financial and Operations Officer at Le Jardin, emphasizes this. “Our staff has really educated our parents on what mental health means,” she says, underlining the importance of dispelling the misconceptions that have lingered for too long.
Better health outcomes and mental well-being from a young age are a stepping stone on the path to breaking the cycle of poverty. Martinez points out, “Research shows that it’s better to invest in the younger years and families so you can have these outcomes instead of investing in the jails.”
In these early years, Le Jardin is sowing the seeds for a brighter, healthier tomorrow, breaking down barriers, and fostering a community where everyone has a chance to thrive. For more details and ways to get involved, visit their www.lejardinccinc.org