AlohaCare, one of Hawaii's largest health insurance plans, has awarded $5,000 to Malama Family Recovery Center through its annual AlohaCare Community Conscience Award. AlohaCare provided six grants totaling $30,000 to organizations with programs focusing on the prevention and/or treatment of common health issues affecting Hawaii's general population; projects addressing the needs of Hawaii's elderly and disabled populations; and initiatives to improve access to preventive health care services.
Malama Family Recovery Center, which does business as Malama Na Makua A Keiki, provides comprehensive substance abuse services for women and children through education, prevention, treatment and referral. According to a release, MFRC is the only agency on Maui that provides gender-specific substance abuse treatment services, with priority given to pregnant and parenting women. Each year, the organization serves between 50 and 60 women.
The AlohaCare grant will be used to support BabySAFE (substance abuse -free environment) Prevention Program in Maui County, developed in 1992. At its peak, the program served approximately 600 women per year. In 2009, the program was eliminated due to budget cuts. In 2012, MFRC revived the program for Maui County with funding from HMSA Foundation. The AlohaCare grant will supplement these funds, extending the program through 2013.
BabySAFE staff member Megan Morrow points out to Patricia Sales details of a poster depicting the different stages of a baby’s development during pregnancy.
"Funds from this grant will directly allow BabySAFE program staff member Megan Morrow to continue physically going out into the community and talking to pregnant women and new moms," said Lisa Ponichtera, clinical director for Malama Family Recovery Center. "This outreach does much more than educate about the effects of substance abuse during pregnancy and treatment options available. By meeting with women face-to-face, Murrow provides a safe and comfortable environment for individuals who feel that they do not have anyone to turn to."
"The BabySAFE Program allows me to 'talk story' with these women and build a rapport with them so that they can feel comfortable opening up to me and expressing their concerns and feelings," added Morrow. "This truly is the first step to recovery because without these one-on-one interactions, many women in the community would not know that (Malama Family Recovery Center) is there for them when they need it and that they can ask for help and get better."