First Born Los Alamos Gains Strong Financial Footing

Local Pediatrician, Dr. Tom Csanadi works with Program Manager Kelley Baer to launch the First Born Los Alamos County program. Courtesy photo

FIRST BORN News:

First Born of Los Alamos County has just received funding for a three year cycle to serve families in Los Alamos County. First Born is a relationship based home visitation program designed to support first time families starting prenatally through three years old. 

According to local Pediatrician Dr. Tom Csanadi: “I am very pleased to see the re-vitalization of the First Born Program. As a New Mexico conceived, nationally recognized program it is robust in curriculum and evidence-based to improve outcomes. First Born is grounded in a strong focus on supporting families of all backgrounds and in emphasizing preventive healthcare. We can impact an infant’s growth and development as well as family functioning with crucial early intervention services; particularly, as is my own experience, through home visits. This is precisely what First Born has to offer.”

More than 100 Los Alamos families benefited from the First Born visits and curriculum in the past. Alison Ticknor, one of the earliest program participants said, “I started meeting with a First Born Home Visitor even before my daughter was born. I was instantly comfortable and at ease with my Home Visitor and felt a huge sense of relief knowing that someone who was a mother herself and professionally trained in child development was on my side. First Born became the foundation of my support system in Los Alamos.” Ticknor continues, “Where else can you find a program that will send a trained professional to your house each week for three years of your first child’s life, equip you with a brilliant child development curriculum, and offer unwavering support all for free? I feel very fortunate to have been part of the First Born program. It was a tremendous experience and I am forever grateful to them for giving my young family a great start.”

The First Born Program fills an unmet need in the unique demographics of Los Alamos where many first time parents are celebrating the arrival of a new family member geographically far away from extended family without the daily assistance of grandparents, aunts or uncles. A weekly visit from a knowledgable and caring home visitor can be a welcome support.

The previous program was unexpectedly interrupted and a group of concerned and dedicated local health professionals and parents banded together to form a board for a non profit organization to restart this valuable program. First Born Board members are Cathleen Hewlett Masser, Susan O’Leary, Dr. Tom  Csanadi, Katie Bridgewater and Marvel Harrison. With hard work and the assistance of seed money and a grant writer from the LANL Foundation the new Board received funding from the State of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. 

Kelley Baer, the interim program manager said, “This current funding will provide services for up to sixty families per year over the next three years, and employment opportunities for a program director, nurse and several home visitors.”

Those interested in the positions posted, volunteering  or ‘soon to be new families’ please contact firstbornprogramlanm@gmail.com.

LOS ALAMOS

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