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June 5, 2008

Johnson County program for women, families wins Purdue award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A prenatal educational and resource program in Franklin, Ind., is the winner of the seventh annual Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award, sponsored by Purdue University's College of Consumer and Family Sciences.

The awards, announced by Dean Dennis Savaiano, honor organizations that have a direct impact on the community and improve the lives of families. The winner, The Partnership for Healthier Johnson County's Ready or Not, Here I Come! program, sponsored by the partnership's maternal and child health action team, will receive a certificate and a $1,500 cash award.

The Starke County Youth Club Inc. in Knox, Ind., was a finalist for the award. That program will receive a certificate and a $500 cash award.

"These two programs are wonderful examples of how collaboration within a community can truly make a difference for Hoosier families," said Karen DeZarn, coordinator of the award committee and Purdue's consumer and family sciences Extension assistant program leader. "We are proud to be able to give a boost to these organizations."

The Partnership for Healthier Johnson County's Ready or Not, Here I Come! program targets teenage, uninsured or underinsured women in their first trimester of pregnancy and seeks to increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy. This program directly links service providers and participants and provides face-to-face contact. Ninety-four women and their families, a total of over 200 participants, attended the Ready or Not, Here I Come! program in 2007.

The Starke County Youth Club Inc. addresses the needs of the community's children, many of whom live in poverty. According to a 2005 report, nearly one out of every five children under the age of 18 in the county live in poverty, and the county ranks last statewide in per capita income.

The club's after-school program offers hands-on centers to improve math, science and literacy skills and provides homework assistance and one-on-one tutoring. Since the program's inception in 2005-06, the three serviced school districts reported an absenteeism rate of less than 6 percent and improved ISTEP scores. More than 300 adults and parents have registered with the program.

Nomination forms for next year's Inspiring Families and Building Communities Award will be available in 2009 on the College of Consumer and Family Sciences' Web site at http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/

Writer: Kim Medaris, (765) 494-6998, kmedaris@purdue.edu

Source: Karen DeZarn, (765) 494-8252, kdezarn@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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