Agency Q&A: Thrive Virginia
Tell us about your current role and your professional background.
I have been employed by Thrive Virginia (formerly Quin Rivers) for the past 18 years. As the Healthy Families Program Supervisor, my responsibilities are to create strong community partnerships, coordinate and facilitate the Healthy Families program’s Advisory Board, improve and maintain the program’s referral and resource network, provide accurate assessments of families who have been referred to the program, provide direct supervision to staff, maintain and update the Healthy Families Program’s policies and procedures, maintain and update the program’s data collection and other management systems.
I have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Service with a concentration in Management. I have 18 years’ experience in a strength-based home visiting program, seven years with a Virginia Head Start program, eight years as a Therapeutic Foster Parent and two years of service as a Residential Counselor for adults with intellectual disabilities.
What is the mission of Thrive Virginia?
The mission of Thrive Virginia is is to strengthen individual, family and community development to eliminate poverty and build self-sufficiency.
How does Thrive Virginia work support the Born Healthy component of United Way’s Steps to Success?
The Healthy Families program provides client services that align nicely with United Way’s Born Healthy Step. Specifically, the program provides the following components:
- The program strives to enroll pregnant women as early in their pregnancy as possible. During this stage, the program provides information on proper nutrition and the importance of prenatal care. Additionally, program staff members provide transportation to prenatal care and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) appointments. Staff members educate program participants on fetal growth and development and the effects of risky behaviors through the use of an evidence-based prenatal curriculum.
- Family Support Workers visit with prenatal mothers and share information on fetal growth and development, proper prenatal nutrition, the avoidance of risky behaviors and the importance of receiving on-time and frequent prenatal care from their physician. This is done to help reduce the rate of birth complications and low birth weight babies.
- Family Support Workers assist families in attaining a primary health care provider within two months of the child’s birth. During the course of home visits, the Family Support Worker shares information on the importance of having a primary health care provider.
- The Family Support Worker shares information on the importance of immunizations and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ current immunization schedule.
- Through use of curriculum, we discuss home environments needed to support child development, with sensitivity to cultural differences. We bring activities for children to do alone or with their parents during home visits and some materials are loaned on a rotating basis. We discuss stress and mental health issues and teach program participants effective problem-solving strategies and goal-planning methods.
What do you think is the biggest value United Way brings to Thrive Virginia?
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg funding significantly supports Thrive Virginia’s Healthy Families program described above. Specifically, the funding provides for Family Support Worker’s salaries, mileage costs associated with home visiting and client services expenses. United Way’s funding is less restrictive than the other two grants that fund the Healthy Families program; thus allowing us to provide essential basic needs and services for program participants.
How have needs in our region changed over the past 10 years?
In the last ten years, the Healthy Families program has observed the following changes in the program’s service area (Charles City County and New Kent County):
- An increase in father participation
- A decrease in teen pregnancy
- An increase in the number of grandparents as guardians or primary caregivers
- An increase in the number of children who are ready to start school