CelebrateOne's mission to stop trend of infant mortality

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COLUMBUS - The statistics are not good: every week two to three babies in Franklin County die before the age of one.

CelebrateOne's mission is to reverse that trend and help babies live through their first year of life. The organization recently scored a federal grant to put more help in Columbus communities-- linking new moms with familiar faces--and critical connections to keep their babies alive.

These “faces” are part of what’s called the CelebrateOne Community Connector Corp. They are community health workers who will work on the front lines in eight Columbus neighborhoods with one mission.

“To connect moms and families to the supports they need to make sure they have a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby at birth and to make sure that baby gets what they need from the time they’re born to their first birthday, “said Ericka Clark Jones, director of community strategies for CelebrateOne at Columbus Public Health.

Dyneccia Taylor, an 18-year-old high school senior, credits her connection with Community Connector DeLena Scales at St. Stephens Community House with helping her and her daughter, Mi’Angel, thrive. They met one day when Dyneccia was trying to make a doctor’s appointment.

“She said I have my daughter’s first appointment at Linden Close-to-Home,” but I would like to get some food from the pantry but I'm cutting it close,” Scales said.

Scales said it’s because she’s from the community and is not someone from the outside she is able to make inroads with young women like Taylor. She and other Community Connectors work to get young women and families the support, supplies.

The part-time Community Connector Corp members are working in eight Columbus communities: Linden, the Hilltop, Franklinton, Near Southside, Southeast side, Near East side, the Morse Road-- 161 area and Northeast Columbus, near Agler Road.

The federal grant runs three years and will allow Celebrate One to have 72 community health workers across Columbus--specifically focused on CelebrateOne and infant mortality. A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Training includes certification at Ohio State's school of nursing. The city is hiring for its next Community Connector Corp.

Click here to apply.