By Lauren Brant
Gordon’s Western Community Health Resources office held their open house on Thursday, August 3 after moving from the 100 block of N. Main to 229 N. Main St. a year ago.
Director of WIC Amy Bond is pleased with the new location. “We like the privacy because people can park in the back and come through or on the side and come through,” said Bond.
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is the most well-known service WCHR offers. They also provide family planning, pap tests, community support, birth control, and youth transition programs.
Youth Transition Services is for people ages 16 to 26 who are diagnosed with a mental illness that results in functional deficits. The program gives knowledge, skills, and activities to better prepare youth for adulthood. On average, a person will partake in the program for 6 months to 2 years. Gordon-Rushville High School’s school nurse, social worker, and school resource officer coordinate families’ needs through WCHR. Gordon-Rushville High School Guidance Counselor Sherry Retzlaff said the school uses YTS for students diagnosed with a persistent mental illness or substance abuse. “YTS workers assist those youth and provide resources in quite a few areas: personal care skills, home maintenance, personal finance skills, medication knowledge, social skills, educational skills, crisis planning and sometimes housing assistance,” wrote Retzlaff.
Community Support Services is similar to YTS but is specifically for people who are 19 years old or older who have mental illness concerns. The program helps them live independently in the community and allows them to set goals. “Whatever the issues are in their life that are dragging them down or not allowing them to succeed, we come in and help them,” said Amy Leija.
WIC is a government funded service that offers guidance for pregnancy and family planning, STD checks and parenting classes, to list a few.
WIC is designed to help vulnerable populations monitor their nutritional intake. The program started from a research study on an African American children population in the south. In 1975, the program was made permanent as studies showed how malnutrition impacted growth. Children experienced developmental delays caused by anemia. The program focuses on children five years old and younger since they experience a big transition from birth to five years old. The mothers are breast feeding or using formula during the first year. Then, the children are weaned off breast milk to table food, expand their diets, learn potty training and attend preschool.
Even if people don’t have insurance that covers the many programs at WCHR, the staff can develop payment plans and sliding scales for patients. “I would just encourage anybody to call,” said Bond. “If they have a need that needs to be filled, call, because if we don’t provide it ourselves, then we know somebody that does.”
The WCHR clinics have four Panhandle locations in Gordon, Chadron, Alliance, and Crawford. To schedule an appointment, contact the office 432-2747 or 1-800-717-1231.