Healthy Families Alexandria, a program of Northern Virginia Family Service, hosted a reception in honor of 25 years of providing Alexandria families with the tools to promote health child development and prevent child abuse and neglect.
Since 1993, Healthy Families Alexandria, a program of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), has served nearly 6,000 families in the city of Alexandria through voluntary home-visiting services to first-time parents to promote healthy child development and prevent child abuse and neglect. Supporters — who have helped supply the program with basic needs, such as diapers and cribs, as well as educational resources for new parents to develop their parenting skills — gathered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on May 21 to celebrate the program’s impact.
The reception also honored three Healthy Families Alexandria’s community partners — Center for Alexandria’s Children, Child Protective Services and Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia — and featured a keynote speech from community advocate Rob Dugger and client testimonial from Glenda Salmeron.
“When I got pregnant with my first child in 2001, I had never even held a newborn baby, and I was scared because I didn’t have any family in the area,” shared Salmeron, now a family resource specialist with NVFS’ Healthy Families Prince William program. “After my baby was born, I developed serious postpartum depression. I had no idea that I had been depressed because I had never experienced not being depressed; for me, being depressed was the norm.”
“Healthy Families Alexandria was there during one of the most important moments of my life,” she added.
Healthy Families works with families whose children range from prenatal to age 5, with an emphasis on the earliest years, which are the most critical for individual and family development. Healthy Families Alexandria has provided these services to a diverse group of parents facing unique challenges such as language barriers, socioeconomic stressors, and increased risk of depression that can negatively impact family relationships.
“Healthy Families Alexandria has shown for 25 years that building brighter childhoods is a lifelong mission, one that is larger than any of us,” stated Michele Powell, chief programs officer at Prevent Child Abuse Virginia.
NVFS’ Healthy Families Alexandria program, along with the support of its volunteers, advisory board, and the local and state government, looks forward to another 25 years of impacting local families.