Advocacy Efforts

Advocacy

Healthy Child Initiative (HCI):

The Junior League of Charlotte’s community programs, projects and advocacy are all focused on the physical, dental and mental health needs of children aged 0-17 years and their families in the Charlotte community.

Dental Health

The Junior League of Charlotte will:

  • Provide education and awareness for the community on the dental health issues facing children ages 0-17 years.
  • In partnership with community, develop programs focusing on preventative dental health for children age 0-17.
  • Encourage ongoing community dialogue regarding dental health needs of children and their families to foster long term solutions.

Facts To Know

  • The Surgeon General deems dental health in our children a “silent epidemic”. Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases 5 times more common than asthma.
  • 1 out of every 4 children in America is born into poverty. Children living in poverty suffer twice the tooth decay as their more affluent peers.
  • Oral problems can impact self-esteem, cause pain and unnecessary suffering leading to problems eating, speaking and attending to learning. More than 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental related illness.
  • Preventive care can help reduce many dental problems. The most effective preventive agent for tooth decay is fluoride.
  • The Partnership for Children’s Dental Health housed at Community Health Services provide some statistics:
    • 4 out of 5 children entering kindergarten in Mecklenburg County have untreated decay.
    • 4 out of 5 children with Medicaid can’t access dental care.
    • Out of 443 licensed dentists in Mecklenburg County only 11 currently accept Medicaid.
    • Nearly 50% of children entering CMS kindergarten have never seen a dentist.

Mental Health

The Junior League of Charlotte will:

  • Focus on educating the community about mental health issues
  • Help to provide additional support where needed
  • Assist in removing the stigma associated with children’s mental health issues

Facts To Know

  • 10-12% of NC children experience serious emotional disturbances (SED)
  • Suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24 in Charlotte 2002
  • According to the 2001 NC youth Risk Behavior Survey, 20.8% of middle school students reported in 2001 that they had seriously thought about killing themselves
  • In 1997, 11.3% of middle school students and 8.8% of high school students reported that they had tried to kill themselves.
  • The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill tell us “the best treatments for serious mental illness today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals [both adults and children] have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.”

Physical Health

The Junior League of Charlotte will:

  • Provide education and awareness for the community on the physical health issues facing children ages 0-17 years
  • Increase awareness of the lack of services available to adequately identify and care for children with health related issues
  • Partner with the community to develop programs focusing on preventative physical health education to improve the lives of children age 0-17
  • Provide support for the families of children that have physical health needs
  • Encourage ongoing community dialogue regarding physical health needs of children and their families to foster long term solution.

Facts To Know

  • Recent studies indicate childhood obesity to be an epidemic. The number of overweight children has doubled in the last 20 years
  • Adolescents get 11% of their calories of sugar from soft drinks. Soft drinks not only contribute significant amounts of calories and sugar to children and adolescents diets; they are replacing milk as the beverage of choice. Only 36% of boys and 14% of girls are getting enough calcium.
  • Research shows that there is a direct link between good nutrition and the ability to learn, play, grow and develop. Well-nourished children have higher test scores, better school attendance and fewer behavior problems.
  • North Carolina currently has a higher percentage of overweight children than the national average
  • Overweight children and adolescents are likely to experience other health issues such as:
    • Type 2 diabetes also known as adult-onset diabetes
    • High cholesterol and blood pressure levels which are risk factors for heart disease
    • Sleep apnea, which can lead to problems with learning and memory
    • High incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease and asthma
    • Have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults

Past JLC Initiatives