Since January 2009, HealthWorks! has been spreading “infectiously contaminating fun” to children of all ages.
The children’s health education center will welcome a special guest to Tupelo on Monday night. Former first lady Laura Bush will be the keynote speaker at the sold-out Celebrating HealthWorks! dinner in Tupelo. The Daily Journal’s Michaela Gibson Morris asked Health Care Foundation President Dean Hancock about the center’s first five years, its capital campaign and plans for the future.
Q: HealthWorks! will celebrate its fifth birthday in January. What has been the best gift the center has given the region?
A: Having Mrs. Bush come and celebrate with us now will be hard to top in January, but the staff is making plans for a fifth birthday celebration in late January that will offer a lot of fun-learning activities…for kids of all ages! Since opening in 2009 and having more than 125,000 attend the center, we now know through research data that HealthWorks! works. That is great validation that the center is an important part of the overall health improvement now happening in our state’s elementary schools.
Q: How is the capital campaign going? How will the money be used?
A: Today, HealthWorks! is a $6.7 million charitable investment, funded and operated entirely through individual and corporate donations and grants. The current “Delivering the Promise” campaign was started earlier this year to help eliminate the center’s $1.8 million capital debt remaining since the completion of our initial campaign in 2006. Currently, we have raised $1.4 million toward that goal and are hopeful we will reach it very soon.
Q: How would you like to see HealthWorks! grow in the next five years?
A: HealthWorks! has grown and evolved to become much more that it was when opened in 2009. The staff continually works on innovation and program improvements, so we believe the next five years will be another exciting period for us. Today, the center is more than a school field trip and community health education resource center. It is becoming a recognized and important resource for children’s and family health literacy that is improving the health of the people of this region … and beyond.