A child's first birthday is a cause for celebration for NorthShore Health Centers. Over a dozen families joined the NorthShore team for their second annual First Birthday Party for patients at Chuck E. Cheese, marking another successful year of healthcare.
“It is so important that we get to celebrate the children making it to their first birthday,” said Gervay Dickerson, Lead Event Coordinator for Northshore Health Centers. “The children get to come enjoy the party, their parents can get away from the real world for a while, and we can all have a good time. No matter what age you are, you can come to Chuck E. Cheese and have a good time.”
Gervay helped forge a partnership between NorthShore and Chuck E Cheese over two years ago. The venue is perfect for events like the First Birthday Party, where fun is everywhere and the space is accommodating. Families partied hard on pizza, cupcakes, and Northshore was there offering health screenings as well.
Mother Veronica Gamez said, “This event is so important because it gives the babies a chance to socialize and have fun. Even the parents can get to know each other and build a support system. NorthShore makes sure you’ve got the essentials. They are so helpful.”
The NorthShore team brought photo boards for pictures, handed out tokens for the games and rides, and gave each child an enriching toy wrapped up in birthday paper.
Always practical, the festivities included a quick survey to make sure that each family’s needs were being met. This is a huge part of NorthShore’s Family Care Program, and the reason they have events like the First Birthday Party. They connect families to the services NorthShore provides, and refers them to external services they do not.
“A baby’s first birthday is a significant milestone,” said Michelle Higel, one of NorthShore’s Family Care Coordinators. "In Indiana, we have a high infant mortality rate. That is why are here: to have fun, celebrate, and educate families.”
Their Prenatal Program teaching parents how to be healthy during a pregnancy. Like the Family Care Program, it keeps patients up to date on appointments, insurance coverage, and daily wellness plans. NorthShore teaches parents the dangers of tooth decay, when to start potty training, how long to breastfeed, the benefits of regular exams, and any other applicable health strategies.
If a patient needs help going back to school, quitting cigarettes, or paying their bills, NorthShore can get them assistance for that too.
“I love NorthShore,” Erin Staten, mother of 15-month-old Eve said. “And I love Michelle [Higel]. NorthShore is a good support system. They take their time with patients. They help you get insurance; I didn’t even know there were more incentives for insurance. Vendors come talk to you so you know what’s out there. I wouldn’t have known any of this if Michelle hadn’t gotten me into the program.”
For more information on activities and programs offered by NorthShore Health Centers, click here.