2022 CCME Foundation Impact Stories

Connect to Purpose - 2022 Grantee: Southwestern Child Development Commission Family Nurse Partnership

The Southwestern Child Development Commission’s Family Nurse Partnership program provides services to first-time pregnant women in the western most seven counties in the mountains of North Carolina. The goal of the program is to achieve healthy pregnancies and healthy babies while helping the individual mothers achieve their life goals. In addition, all families within the Family Nurse Partnership program are eligible to have access to high quality daycare options so they may return to work or school.

Based out of a modest office in Sylva, North Carolina, this program serves not only first-time mothers during and through their pregnancies but also their children born of the pregnancy for the first two years. These counties have documented high incidences of drug use and large numbers of children living the foster care system with fewer hospitals and medical care providers than other areas in the state. Oftentimes, the people who live in the far western part of the state have fewer choices when trying to access medical care along with fewer transportation options available to do so. The Family Nurse Partnership helps these new mothers access appropriate healthcare by promoting the important of early and regular prenatal and postnatal care and helping them identify the resources available for all needs after delivery of their babies.

The CCME Foundation funds were used to assist with the operating expenses of the program. This included mileage and vehicle maintenance for the nurse home visitors. Some nurses travel as much/more than one hundred miles in a day. One nurse shared that she had driven two hundred miles the day before visiting with her clients. Nurse visitors have required educational needs and these funds were used to pay for this. The grant helped fund a new interpretation service for all seven counties served so the nurse home visitors are able to communicate with the Spanish speaking population (and others, if needed). Supplies, such as infant scales, nursing equipment, sanitizing requirements, educational materials for the new mothers, and developmental toys and tools for the babies are just a few expenses that the grant helped to cover in this effort to have health pregnancies, deliveries, and babies. A nurse home visitor, Angie Parker shared a story about how she had noticed that one of her client’s babies was not reaching for toys or other items during a recent developmental screening. Because the young mother did not have any developmental equipment for her baby, Angie was able to bring a playmat and toys that hung over the playmat. By that evening, the baby was reaching and swatting at the toys, which she had never done before. This kind of story and many others like it show how such small, simple changes in a newborn’s daily life can affect and improve her development long-term.

To learn more about this amazing program in western North Carolina, please visit: https://www.swcdcinc.org/nurse-family-partnership.

Connect to Purpose - 2022 Grantee: Hospice & Home Care Foundation of North Carolina

Despite the trend of patient care moving more and more into the community, many RN nursing education programs in North Carolina are focused on hospital-related care. Because the need for hospice and home care services have increased, so have the need for RNs. It has become imperative that this element of patient care be more significantly integrated into the training and education provided to nursing students as an essential part of the healthcare delivery system. With the support of the SECU Foundation and the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina’s (AHHCNC) charitable Foundation, The Hospice and Home Care Foundation of NC, with input from key partners such as the North Carolina Board of Nursing and North Carolina Community College System, developed a clinical rotation and onboarding model for use in RN-level nursing education programs and home care and hospice agencies for a 3-Year pilot project, which concluded in September 2022. The project included clinical rotations and other exposure opportunities through nursing education with the intention of providing a more robust educational experience in home care and hospice and how they fit into the overall healthcare delivery system. The model included on-boarding mechanisms to help prepare new nurses in their agencies. In addition, the program adds an additional pipeline to help fill the great need for home care and hospice RNs.

Because of the project’s success and the ongoing need to expand around the state, the Hospice & Home Care Foundation of North Carolina was awarded a CCME Foundation grant in 2022 to build upon this initiative, already proven to help address the serious shortage of RNs in home health and hospice services in North Carolina. The original model developed by the Hospice & Home Care Foundation was included in seven (7) school and agency partnerships; all seven are continuing the model long-term and even expanding upon their original plans. The seven pilot project partnerships included Cape Fear Community College and Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, East Carolina University and 3HC Home Health and Hospice Care, Inc.; Appalachian State University and Trellis Supportive Care, Gardner-Webb University and Hospice of Cleveland County, UNC-Chapel Hill and Transitions LifeCare, Inc.; UNC-Pembroke and HealthKeeperz, and Surry Community College and Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care and Hugh Chatham Health at Home.

Lory Byrd, DPN, Associate Director for Academic Programs, Health Sciences with the North Carolina Community College System stated, “As healthcare continues to change and grow, nurse education must change to meet the workforce demands. Hospice and home health are critical in healthcare. Pursuit of positive patient outcomes require us to develop a workforce that will be prepared to meet critical needs in home health and hospice.”

The CCME Foundation grant supports the statewide roll-out of the model for one year under the leadership of Project Director Susan Harmuth and support of Hospice & Home Care Foundation Executive Director Judy Penn, with long-term project management transition operationally to the AHHCNC. The organization’s model is garnering national attention and it is planned for pilot project results to be included in a future journal publication. Lastly, it is the intention of the Hospice and Home Care Foundation to of bring the model to South Carolina next.

According to a student participant from East Carolina University: “Prior to this experience, I had given little thought to the role nurses play in public health. Home health has given me a more potent display of the ways public health affects people’s daily lives; it is all around us. I have been inspired by patients’ stories, saddened by their hardships, and ultimately encouraged by the role I get to play in their stories, both individually and on a broader scale. This class has given me new perspective that I did not know I needed. I hope that my experiences at the bedside will continue to motivate me to press into these issues that affect the American public throughout my career.

To learn more about this project please visit: https://bit.ly/AHHCFoundation.

Connect to Purpose - 2022 Grantee: South Carolina Immunization Coalition

The South Carolina Immunization Coalition includes a wide range of volunteer community and technical experts and organizations with the mission to promote the overall health of South Carolinians by uniting vaccination champions to encourage and implement evidenced-based practices and strategies that enhance the uptake of recommended vaccines. Champions include lead researchers in the immunization field from South Carolina-based universities, Beth Poore with the state of South Carolina public health and education, private sector vaccine professional Bill Matthews, and state-wide state health and provider leaders and professionals.

The CCME Foundation grants were used to support the “Every Visit is a Vaccine Visit” EV3 campaign in four South Carolina counties: Cherokee, Chesterfield, Jasper, and Lancaster, all determined as highest need for education and action to increase vaccination rates among school-aged children. EV3 was designed to promote vaccine confidence messaging to help parents and caregivers in their decision-making, improve access to vaccination services for school-aged children, and improve access to immunization educational opportunities for healthcare professionals in these underserved areas of South Carolina.

The Coalition was able to provide a toolkit for vaccine partners, virtual training sessions for health community members, and vaccine education social media campaigns. In addition, the Coalition has partnered with two leading researchers from the University of South Carolina and Duke University to facilitate a three-hour Motivational Interviewing for Vaccination Promotion workshop for immunization professionals – free of charge. Motivational Interviewing is a client-centered approach designed to help people find motivation to make a positive behavior change. These trainings help healthcare professionals learn and practice these core skills when meeting with families and presenting them with vaccine information.

Lastly, the Coalition has partnered with schools to work with school nurses and deploy mobile vaccination clinics in support of the vaccination needs of school-aged children, complete with a drawstring pack of free school supplies for participants. The mobile vaccination effort went from one clinic to twelve in just a few weeks, and this initiative will extend to include the beginning of the 2023 school year. Coalition Director, Alexandra Hayes, stated, “This is not something we’ve been able to do in these counties before, and we plan to expand our reach to everyone within those communities and are looking into the border counties to be able to expand our outreach next year.” The Coalition hopes to continue its current model and replicate it across the state in underserved counties and communities and perhaps even within older adults.

To learn more about this impactful campaign in South Carolina, please visit: www.scicvax.org.

Connect to Purpose - 2022 Grantee: Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center

The Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center in Summerville, South Carolina is a nationally accredited Children’s Advocacy Center, offering the community many benefits to assist children who have experienced significant trauma through child abuse and neglect. Serving both Dorchester and Berkeley counties, the CCME Foundation grant was used to help fund the Berkeley Children’s Advocacy Center initiative, a satellite center supported by Berkeley County citizens, supporters, the Center’s Board, and clients. Because of the financial and transportation barriers often preventing disadvantaged clients in the rural areas of the Lowcountry from accessing the Dorchester Center’s services, the Berkeley County satellite center will remove these hardships and help children and their families within their own community.

This new facility, which is being constructed on donated land, was supposed to open at the end of 2022; however, due to permitting issues, the Berkeley Center is expected to open later in 2023. The CCME Foundation grant supported the hiring of staff to replicate the clinical services available at Dorchester for this new satellite Center in Berkeley County.

The newly renovated Dorchester Center serves children and their families by providing forensic interviews and forensic medical exams for child abuse victims in a supportive, child-focused environment. Forensic interviews are fact-finding interviews where children are questioned in a non-leading, developmentally appropriate manner about their experiences. The forensic medical exams are non-invasive medical examinations conducted by trained child abuse pediatric providers, which will document any significant findings, diagnose and treat injuries, and note the child’s condition. In addition to the support of community and government agencies, the Center provides clinical treatment services, such as trauma-focused therapies for children and their families, support groups, advocacy services, and prevention and education for children, their families, and the community. Using a multi-disciplinary approach in a caring, nurturing environment, the Dorchester Center is dedicated to creating communities in which children and families live free from abuse and are free to reach their full potential.

One mother with several small children and no employment brought her children into the Center for a forensic interview. Because of what was uncovered in the interview, this mother decided that she needed to get her family out of their abusive home immediately and to another state where she had family that could help her. The Dorchester Center Victim’s Advocate was able to get her gift cards and supplies for the long trip, so she could get her children to her out-of-state family members safely. The Victim’s Advocate contacted the Child Advocacy Center in her new state to get the children the trauma-focused treatment that they needed, and the mother planned to come back to Dorchester for when the legal case against the father began. Both Executive Director Kay Phillips and Director of Grants Management Damita Holcomb reflected on this success story and the tremendous impact it had on their staff and the work they do for abused children and their families.

In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Social Services, law enforcement, solicitors, the Medical University of South Carolina, schools, and other medical and mental health professionals, the Dorchester Center fully embraces its motto, “Hope – Heal – Empower.”

To learn more about the work of the Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center, please visit: www.dorchesterchildren.org.

Connect to Purpose - 2022 Grantee: Carolina Caring

Realizing a need for consistent and thoroughly trained CNAs to care for the patients at a hospice and end-of-life care organization, Carolina Caring Chief Operations Officer Susan Nelson had an idea: have an in-house CNA Training Program to better prepare CNA students working for her hospice. For over forty-three years, Carolina Caring has helped those with serious illnesses and end-of-life care. Noticing the need to recruit prepared hospice and serious illness CNAs, this innovative hospice staff came up with an excellent plan to address its own internal needs by proposing this training program for grant funding.

According to Ben Dungan, Carolina Caring’s grant administrator, the state-approved CNA curriculum does not include much hospice and end-of-life care training. Therefore, many CNA new hires feel unprepared and sadly, inadequate when working in a hospice environment. The in-house training program addresses this profound need to better prepare hospice CNAs as professional healthcare providers and to provide the best care possible for its hospice patients. The program includes the full state-approved training and CNA testing but also includes additional hospice-specific training through simulated common scenarios, shadowing, and mentorship within the organization. CNAs who graduate from this program will be better prepared for what to expect, as they will have been trained first-hand by Carolina Caring staff and experts.

The CCME Foundation grant funds were provided to Carolina Caring to cover the state-approved equipment, supplies, and the cost of the curriculum to establish this in-house CNA program. The course includes the normal six-week CNA curriculum but also includes an additional two weeks of hospice and serious illness training at the facility. The first class of ten students began in March 2023, and Carolina Caring has planned its second class for August – already, there is a waiting list. They hope to be able to hold two class per year and increase learning opportunities each session. Ben Dungan stated, “We are building the plane as we’re flying it.”

Students accepted into the program receive all materials, uniforms, testing fees, and a stipend for living expenses (students typically must leave other employers to be able to take the course) during the training period before beginning employment with Carolina Caring. In addition, students agree to commit to working for Carolina Caring for a minimum of six-months following graduation and state testing. Barbara Lloyd, a student in the CNA program shared, “With your help, it’s helping me to fulfill my dreams…and with hospice, now I have the opportunity to do what they did for my mom.”

To learn more about this innovative and exciting new project that is addressing a gap in healthcare, please visit: www.CarolinaCaring.org.

Connect to Purpose - 2022 Grantee: AWAKE Child Advocacy Center

Adults Working and Advocating for Kids’ Empowerment (AWAKE) is the only child advocacy center in Jackson County, North Carolina - serving both Jackson and Swain counties - which coordinates services for victims of child abuse. Tucked away next to the railroad tracks near sleepy downtown Sylva, AWAKE serves children and their non-offending caregivers by providing child medical evaluations for child abuse victims in a supportive, child-friendly environment. The main goal of the child medical evaluation is to ultimately enhance their quality of life. Abuse and neglect cause tremendous trauma within the lives of the children; however, the results of this trauma does not have to have permanent effects. AWAKE works to help children through this most difficult time.

The AWAKE team uses a multi-disciplinary approach through forensic interviewing, which utilizes a trained professional in gathering recorded information from the child in a child-friendly way to limit the number of times he or she must talk about the abuse itself. Case managers assist families and children through the entire process from the first report of abuse until they decide that they no longer need AWAKE services. Mental health professionals provide trauma-focused therapy to children and their families at no cost. AWAKE has also recently added a support dog to the staff named Tuck, who can sit with the children when they are waiting, when in the District Attorney’s office, and while conducting court preparations. In addition, AWAKE provides training about child abuse and neglect and information about the resources available to the community. Lastly, AWAKE funds full medical evaluations. These are meant to first promote healing by giving children agency and ownership over their own bodies and by addressing the psychological and social challenges that come from child abuse and trauma.

Following the child medical evaluation, the provider will make recommendations to child protective services and law enforcement to ensure the child’s safety. The full evaluations cost over $6500 per month, which ensures fulltime medical coverage for victims. The CCME Foundation grant funds were used to cover these medical evaluations for almost eight months. Crystal Jones, AWAKE Executive Director stated, “With your help, we were able to provide medical services and forensic interviews to over 156 children.”

To learn more about this impactful and much needed Child Advocacy Center, please visit: www.awakecacenter.org.

Connect to Purpose - 2022 Grantee: EmmanuWheel

Sometimes we do not realize how much we take for granted by simply having the ability to walk down the steps, get into our cars, and drive to the hospital or the doctor’s office to receive medical care. For many living in poverty, this is a major barrier to accessing healthcare, and for the mobility impaired living in poverty, it is especially difficult for them and for the family members or friends trying to help them.

EmmanuWheel sets itself in Lexington, South Carolina and is the only organization in the state that strives to build one wheelchair ramp every week in the tri-county area of Lexington, Richland, and Saluda. In service to its mission and woven within its foundational Christian faith in practice, EmmanuWheel relies on volunteers and a small staff to fund, build, and provide wheelchair ramps for those who cannot afford them, with the intention of making a lasting improvement within their lives. Clients include those who are mobility impaired due to accidents, illness, or other degenerative diseases and are referred to EmmanuWheel through social service, hospitals, primary care offices, rehab facilities, churches, and other community organizations.

Operationally, the managing director, Chris Sharpe, is directly involved with the fifteen (15) ramp building teams and provides training and oversight directly on the sites. In addition, he works to forge relationships with other organizations to partner in building ramps and engages in mentoring volunteers with local schools and businesses.

Recently, CCME Foundation Executive Director Steven Martin visited a wheelchair ramp site in Lexington and was able to meet with Mr. Sharpe and Donna Groomes, EmmanuWheel’s Fundraising Director. In 2021, the CCME Foundation provided nominal grant funds for EmmanuWheel to purchase lumber for four ramps. Because construction costs have risen dramatically over the past two years and because of the tremendously impactful work the organization and its volunteers are doing, the CCME Foundation decided to award a second nominal grant in 2022-2023 to assist EmmanuWheel in building more ramps in service to those who need them.

To learn more about this small but tremendously impactful organization, visit their website at www.EmmanuWheel.org.

To learn more about the CCME Foundation, visit https://www.thecarolinascenter.org/foundation/.