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Asking for Help Made Easy

altIn 2014, Sheila Fontaine was searching for lactation support for her infant son, Emmett. She spoke with La Leche League, which recommended that she come in to speak with the lactation consultants at Baby Café held at the Children’s Board Family Resource Centers in Brandon. She brought in Emmett and was able to receive the assistance that she needed.

As time passed, Sheila became increasingly concerned about Emmett’s overall development. She felt that he was showing severe stranger anxiety, he was nonverbal, and at 18 months old he still was not walking. She began to worry and remembered that the Center offered child development classes, provided by Baby Bungalow. She decided to attend a Baby & Me class in late January of 2016.

While at the Center, Sheila shared with staff how concerned she was about Emmett. Furthermore, she was not sure what she could do to get help since she had lost her job in October and as a result, lost her health insurance. Center staff told her about the Mobile Medical Clinic provided by St. Joseph’s Children’s Advocacy Center.

The staff explained that Emmett would receive his well visit, immunizations, as well as hearing and vision screening. Equally important, she could speak with Luis Diaz, a child development specialist, who would conduct a development screening with her and Emmett. In addition, a health care navigator, Lourdes, would be available to help her with applying for health insurance.

In February, she brought Emmett to the Mobile Medical Clinic. Within a week after seeing Luis, Early Steps, an early childhood intervention program, called her for an appointment to evaluate Emmett. She excitedly reports that they have already seen him. Sheila is in disbelief that everything happened in less than a month!

Sheila says, “Every time I come here, I leave here crying tears of joy! The staff guided me through the path that I needed to follow. I can’t thank you enough! I didn’t know where to start – I had so many negative thoughts that no one would help me, that we would not qualify for any assistance! The less I could talk, the more you guys guided me! For some people, it is hard to ask for help. I am one of those people. But you guys make it WAY easy!”


Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County, Inc.
2806 North Armenia Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, Florida 33607

Phone: (813) 233-2800
Fax: (813) 233-2809

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