Florida Covering Kids & Families conducts state-wide back-to-school campaign
As a result of last year’s highly successful Florida KidCare Back-to-School outreach campaign, the Agency for Health Care Administration asked Florida Covering Kids & Families of the University of South Florida’s Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies to coordinate this year’s campaign and to provide technical assistance to targeted areas across the state. The Chiles Center is housed in the College of Public Health’s Department of Community and Family Health.
A major thrust of the Back-to-School effort included organizing news conferences and enrollment fairs during August in four parts of the state: Orange, Polk, and Gadsden counties and the Tampa Bay area. Each event offered speeches by elected official community leaders, free giveaways for children, and Florida KidCare information, along with on-site program enrollment. The intention of each of these events was to encourage parents to put health insurance for their children at the top of their Back-to-School checklist. Media coverage for the events included TV, radio, and print.
The 34th Street Church of God hosted the Tampa Bay enrollment/press event, which was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Kids Healthcare Foundation, and held on August 18th in Tampa, FL. The press event kicked off with Reverend Tom Scott, and featured Rich Robleto, Executive Director of Florida Healthy Kids Corporation; Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner; St. Petersburg City Council Member Steve Kornell; Gerry Chambers-Skinner, a Florida KidCare parent; and Melanie Hall, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Kids Healthcare Foundation. There were over 100 families that received Florida KidCare education and six families completed applications during the event for a total of 11 children.
In Orange County, 1,000 people attended the Fuel My School – Commissioner Jennifer Thompson’s Back to School Event on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at the Orlando Magic Recreation Center in Meadowoods, FL. There were 350 families that received Florida KidCare information and 21 families that received application assistance during the enrollment fair. The Back to School press conference was sponsored by the Orange/Seminole Florida KidCare Coalition. News conference speakers included: Commissioner Jennifer Thompson; Richard Robleto, Executive Director, Florida Healthy Kids Corporation; Tammy Weaver, Orange County Council PTA President and Florida KidCare Parent; Rick Roach and Daryl Flynn, Orange County school board members; and a special message in Spanish by Madelaine Pluz, a Florida KidCare parent.
In Polk County, 5,000 people attended the United Way Family Fundamentals & Community Partners’ Back-to-School Bash on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at The Lakeland Center in Lakeland, FL. There were 350 families that received information about Florida KidCare and 94 families that received application or renewal assistance during the event, thanks to the efforts of the various Polk County Florida KidCare Coalition partners. The back-to-school press conference was sponsored by Family Fundamentals, United Way of Central Florida and featured the following speakers: Dwanna Hill, Florida Healthy Kids Corporation; Lynne Simpkins, City of Lakeland Community; Debra Wright, Polk County School Board; Shawna Butler, Director of the Family Fundamentals program at the United Way of Central Florida; Terry Worthington, President of the United Way of Central Florida; and D’Shay Pressley, a Florida KidCare kid.
The Gadsden County press/enrollment event was hosted by the Gadsden County Healthy Start and the Gadsden County Florida KidCare Coalition. There were 250 individuals who attended the Good Start Back2School Event, on August 18, 2012. 100 families received information about Florida KidCare and 10 families received application or renewal assistance while attending the event. The back-to-school press conference featured Dwanna Hill, Florida Healthy Kids Corporation; Maximo Martinez, Gadsden County Health Council; Johnnie Mae Jones, a Florida KidCare Parent; and Joy Anderson, Gadsden County Healthy Start Coalition.
Florida Covering Kids and Families’ statewide Back-to-School outreach efforts also included forming partnerships with businesses and other prominent organizations across the state. These collaborations include Publix Pharmacies, Wal-Mart Pharmacies, the Florida Prosperity Partnership, Florida National Guard Family Support Services, Florida Realtors Expo, United Healthcare Workers East, Energizer, the City of Tampa, the Airman and Family Readiness Center at MacDill AFB, the United Way of Northeast Florida, the United Way of Citrus County and the United Way of Hernando County. In addition, Florida Covering Kids and Families has been tracking back-to-school events that feature Florida KidCare outreach efforts across the state. 41 out of 67 counties have hosted back-to-school events. Since June, there have been 323 back-to-school events offering Florida KidCare information and application assistance to families throughout Florida.