September Mission: Smoketown Family Wellness Center

September Mission: Smoketown Family Wellness Center

Every Month a Mission

September Focus: In September, we urge everyone to donate to Smoketown Family Wellness Center, via the Give for Good campaign on September 17, 2021.

According to John Dewey, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children.” 

At Smoketown Family Wellness Center, we seek to provide comprehensive, evidence-based medical care for children and wide-ranging support for families by meeting them where they are. We hope to normalize emotional and behavioral health needs by acknowledging the impacts of stress on health and building upon the strengths of our families to promote resilience.  

One of our dynamic team members is our family coach, Ramaia Coleman, with a background in social work. In addition to meeting with families in the clinic, she also now leads our parent advisory group that has participated in classes on topics of financial literacy and self-care. Ramaia has recently organized a series of yoga classes on Monday evenings.  

Our founder and fellow pediatrician, Charlotte Stites, birthed SFWC with a vision to work upstream to prevent chronic health diseases and disorders that lead to shorter lifespans. Many of our families face barriers of poverty, housing instability, unreliable transportation, and food insecurity. These inequities often lead to health disparities. Social determinants of health can be overlooked or inadequately addressed in a traditional medical setting with pressures of “productivity” on physicians. At SFWC, we value spending more time with our families to build trust, listen, and respond to families’ vital concerns.   

Through partnerships with Dare to Care and New Roots, we offer shelf-stable food as well as fresh vegetables to our families. Our 365 Healthy Living Coordinator, Shawn Wright, engaged community youth this summer to help in our outside garden plots; the students grew watermelons, carrots, beets, corn, peppers, and tomatoes. They even had the opportunity to cook the beets they grew.  

Shawn also led our youth empowerment club this past year; youth participated in a variety of activities including making stress balls, learning yoga poses, and crafting bird feeders. We partnered with Peace Ed., and Durk Davidson led students in exercises on conflict resolution and cooperative games.  

At SFWC, we believe in the importance of early literacy and the power of the written word; we participate in the national Reach Out and Read program which allows us to give free books to babies and children at their well checkups, ages birth through 5 years. Due to bountiful gifts from the library and donors including members of St. Paul, we are able to distribute books to older children and youth as well.  

We are planning programming for the fall and hope to have volunteers available to help community children with their homework on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Please contact me if you are interested in tutoring. 

We love collaborating with community partners that have similar passions to see communities thrive. I am grateful for St. Paul’s generous support of SFWC this past year through monetary donations, culturally-appropriate books, and volunteers.   

SFWC is a non-profit organization; though we bill insurances for our medical care, our operating costs for community programming come through grants and donations.   

If you’d like to get more involved, or learn more about SFWC, please contact me, and I would be happy to connect with you. If you’d like to support our work financially, please consider reserving your donation for Give for Good on Friday, September 17. You can donate in support of SFWC at this link. Every $10 donation counts!   

Thank you for your gifts of love, generosity, and prayers for Smoketown Family Wellness Center and the strong, resilient families we have the privilege of serving.  

Julia Lane Mitchell, MD 

To learn more about St. Paul’s partnership with Smoketown Family Wellness Center, please visit this page.