The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc. was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation to support its Save My Life program, a culturally sensitive prenatal and postpartum support program targeting pregnant women and new parents in the Newtown community.
Created in 2006 in response to alarming racial disparities in maternal and infant health, the Save My Life program addresses poor birth and health outcomes, such as low birth weight, premature birth, and fetal and infant death, which are statistically more likely to be experienced by Black women. The program offers support and education, provided in group settings or home visits, about a variety of health, pregnancy, and baby care-related topics. Classes are offered free-of-charge at various locations throughout the Newtown and North Sarasota areas and cover topics such as childbirth education, breastfeeding, nutrition, safe sleep, preconception and inter-conception health, smoking cessation and more. Save My Life also offers free, in-home breastfeeding support after the birth of the baby; through the Safe Sleep Sarasota initiative, program participants also receive free “Safe Sleep Survival Kits”, which include a convertible bassinet, upon completing the program. The program is led by Newtown resident and childbirth educator Beverly Phelps, CLC, who has more than 25 years of experience working with pregnant women and new mothers. It reaches more than 100 pregnant women, new mothers, and women of childbearing age each year.