Kimberly Lyons, Education Coordinator
Genesee County Community Action Resource Department (GCCARD) Head Start
Shonté Terhune, IBCLC
Genesee County Health Department
Over the past 32 years, Kimberly Lyons has held many positions working with children and their families in Flint and Genesee County. For the last nine years, she has worked with Genesee County Community Action Resource Department (GCCARD) Head Start/Early Head Start. She has been fortunate throughout her career to have the support of strong, supportive female administrators who believe in family, and who have supported her dedication to breastfeeding. Kimberly has been able to continue to work alongside amazing community partners, supporting and advocating for breastfeeding families in our community.
Annie Heit received a grant for the Baby Café of Genesee County through the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and the MIBFN 310 Connect Flint project, which has an aim to improve breastfeeding outcomes. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Annie was unable to oversee the project. As a result, over last few years Kimberly has had the pleasure of managing that grant with assistance from Annie and many other talented individuals. The Baby Café of Genesee County is a weekly support group for breastfeeding families. Peer Lactation Counselors facilitate that group and provide clinical as well as social support to families. LaTashia Perry and Shonte’ Terhune are at almost every session and a few others rotate.
Baby Café is available to the entire community and is not just for breastfeeding moms. Dads, relatives, pregnant moms, or friends are welcome to attend. The Café is drop in so even if someone can only stop in for 10 or 15 minutes, they are welcome to or they can stay the whole two hours. The Café is located in an easily accessible, family-friendly location. The classroom is an Early Childhood room that GCCARD Early Head Start currently uses for social events, snacks are served, and a Medela baby scale is available for pre- and post-weight checks between feedings.
In addition to her role in the Baby Café, Shonte’ Terhune has worked as a health and breastfeeding educator for the Genesee County Health Department for four years. She started out as an outreach nutritionist and transitioned to a role centered around breastfeeding. She is an IBCLC and splits her time between two programs, the Lactation Project and the Healthy Start Lead Expansion Program. Under the lactation grant, Shonté presents the “Why Breastfeeding” Coffective office edition to pediatrician and obstetrician offices. These offices also receive the Coffective Checklist and office friendly breastfeeding posters. Shonté has presented to 19 clinics in the Genesee County area and during the Early Childhood Conference. This grant has also allowed her to work with the Hamilton Community Health Network Clinic OB Team, to provide prenatal and postpartum education in addition to WIC services to their clients.
In support of community outreach activities, Baby Café staff met with Gwen Reyes the Pediatric Residency Director at Hurley Children’s Hospital. Hurley Children’s Hospital recently started a breastfeeding elective for their doctors in training and wanted to include attending the Baby Café as part of their experience. Nurse Family Partnerships is also aware of the program. The shared goal is to increase awareness of resources in the community and knowledge about breastfeeding.
The Flint community is involved and prepared to support breastfeeding at many levels: from Coffective training to CLC training all the way through to the successful networking efforts of Baby Café staff. Coordination efforts include providing welcome bags to families attending the Baby Café with breastfeeding information and receiving a SILVER Michigan Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award at GCCARD Head Start in March 2018 for the Lactation Room created for staff and families to use. Breastfeeding must be seen as a community issue, enabling families to thrive where they live, work, and play.