South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) is hosting a program aimed at bringing literacy and community resource awareness to new parents.
Talk with Me Baby
Named Talk with Me Baby, this state initiative is funded through the Georgia Department of Public Health, to better equip parents to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life. Talk with Me Baby is made possible by a grant from the United Way of Atlanta and is a collaborative effort among organizations (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, DPH, United Way, Marcus Autism Center, Get Georgia Reading and Atlanta Speech School).
Administered locally by the Georgia Home Visiting Program for Lowndes County, Program Director Berinda Nwakamma, MSW, said, “We visit new parents at SGMC on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Over the past 90 days, we have visited approximately 215 families and have referred 40 families to our First Steps program.”
“First Steps provides families with resources, such as a community resource guide and age-appropriate parenting information on child health, safety, school readiness and family economic self-sufficiency.”-Berinda Nwakamma, Program Director
In addition, the program instills the importance of hands-on early learning.
Feed Me Words
“We provide parents with a complimentary baby bib that reads, ‘Feed Me Words’,” Nwakamma said. “We recommend reading early and often since there is a correlation between literacy and brain growth. Using the Parents as Teachers curriculum, we educate patients that 85% of brain growth occurs in the first 3 years of life.”
Community resources, such as the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which is hosted locally by the Rotary Clubs in Valdosta, can provide reading materials for those on a budget. When children are enrolled in the program, they receive a free book a month from birth to age five.
“Our resources are for all socio-economic groups,” Nwakamma explained. “Early learning has a direct correlation to a community’s economic growth and workforce development.”
“This program offers important free resources for our patients and babies. It’s a great opportunity to bridge the word gap and promote literacy and other family-focused resources.”– SGMC’s Unit Director for Women & Children Cathy Swilley, RN
For more information on the Talk with Me Baby program, contact Nwakamma at 229-671-8462.