Healthy Beginnings Endowment Celebrates 25 Years
Oge Young, MD
Concord Hospital Trust’s Healthy Beginnings Endowment recently marked its 25th anniversary, celebrating the area’s young families, the important programs that support parenting and early childhood development, and the generous donors who make those programs possible.
“I find it hard to believe it’s been 25 years since we established the Healthy Beginnings Endowment, enabling us to care for new babies and their parents when they leave our Hospital,” said Dr. Oge Young, a long-time obstetrician who founded the Endowment in 1996.
The Endowment provides grants annually to programs, services and projects that contribute to positive child development and parenting education designed to strengthen the health of the family. The Endowment has presented more than $1.1 million in grants. Three years into retirement, Dr. Young chairs the Endowment’s Advisory Board.
The Healthy Beginnings Endowment was born out of Dr. Young’s sobering observation that even though new parents want to be good parents, they often have not had good modeling or the resources they need to be the parents they want to be.
“For years, I would make rounds and worry about the young parents I was sending home with their beautiful babies,” he said. “I thought it’s all well and good that we delivered a healthy baby, but it will be in vain if we don’t care for them when they leave the Hospital.”
At the anniversary program on June 24, Concord Hospital Chief Advancement Officer Pamela Puleo recalled Dr. Young’s passion in proposing the Healthy Beginnings program and helping build it into a $1.3 million endowment that has guided countless young families.
The program also included presentations from programs that help young parents and newborns while in the Hospital, provide homecoming visits right after they go home and support early childhood education at school.
Speakers included Beth J. Slepian, President/CEO of Granite VNA, which presents “Baby’s First Homecoming” visits to help new parents who often feel lost after leaving the “bubble” of 24-hour expert attention at the Hospital.
By video, “Katherine,” a first-time mom with a one-month-old son, said the Visiting Nurse’s Homecoming visit was welcome and valuable.
“The tips and little things she gave me to do or try were amazing and made all of the difference in the world in easing some of the fears that I had,” she said.
Erin Collins, Concord Hospital’s Vice President of Nursing spoke of “The Family Place,” the Hospital’s maternity center, which makes childbirth a family experience and supports new parents and their babies.
Laurie Hart, the Concord School District’s Early Childhood Coordinator, said the Endowment has been a valuable resource for the District’s Concord Family Center and for the community’s young children and families.
Just as Dr. Young envisioned 25 years ago, the Healthy Beginnings Endowment has supported programs that help children and families get a healthy, positive start. Some programs bring young mothers together to discuss the challenges of caring for children. Others have offered father support groups, sessions for children of divorcing parents, free children’s books for new parents and music for pre-schoolers.
To recognize Dr. Young’s vision, Deanne Pelletier, Senior Philanthropy Officer at the Trust compared the individual programs supported by Healthy Beginnings to individual plants that join to create a wonderful environment.
“And so are the goals of the Healthy Beginnings Endowment Fund, creating an environment of learning and love,” she said when presenting Dr. Young a symbolic plant. “May this plant continue to grow and bloom like the programs supported by Healthy Beginnings.”
Dr. Young thanked caregivers in the early childhood and parenting programs and donors who have supported the Endowment.
“Our money becomes a currency of love when it makes a difference in the lives of individuals and the life of our community,” he said.
Concord Hospital Trust established a special 25th-anniversary fundraising campaign to help boost the Healthy Beginnings Endowment. To learn more about the Endowment, or to contribute, visit CH-trust.org or call (603) 227-7162.