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Sikeston nonprofit receives extra funds to offer flu shots, study its future options

Sunday, July 22, 2012

SIKESTON -- A nonprofit organization based in Sikeston has received extra funds to keep more Southeast Missourians healthier during the flu season and to explore future expansion options.

Bootheel Counseling Services in Sikeston, which provides mental health services for Scott, New Madrid, Mississippi and Stoddard counties, received two grants from Missouri Foundation for Health totaling $27,680.

"We're always surprised and happy whenever we receive grants," said Cheryl Jones, executive director of Bootheel Counseling Services. "Missouri Foundation for Health is an amazing organization and has helped Southeast Missouri."

Bootheel Counseling was awarded a $9,780-mini-grant made under Missouri Foundation for Health's Services Delivery funding program. The funding will help reduce clients' seasonal flu risk through an educational campaign and vaccinations.

"We will be able to give vaccinations at no charge to our employees and to our consumers that may also want immunizations," Jones said, adding they will be available to most residents.

It will also benefit the community to have an additional source of seasonal flu vaccinations.

"We've been in that situation where a county health department runs out (of the flu vaccine), and we still have people who need to be vaccinated," Jones said.

Missouri Foundation for Health's "mini-grants" are designed to provide short-term support to organizations conducting small, targeted health improvement efforts.

"We have not had a grant like this in the past, but we feel it will be a real advantage to get employees and consumers immunized to prevent more illnesses," Jones said about the mini-grant.

Also receiving a Services Delivery mini-grant was Dunklin County Caring Council. It was awarded $10,000 to help provide asthma self-management training to students and school nurses.

Bootheel Counseling Services was also awarded a Strategic Organizational Development grant for $17,900 to help the organization develop a strategic plan.

"Several years ago we looked at ways -- both externally and internally -- we can develop and keep staff and provide the best support there as well as how we can best serve our consumers," Jones said. "So this is a similar thing where we will look again and develop a strategic plan."

The Strategic Organizational Development funding program supports specific, short-term interventions that help organizations and coalitions build capacity, improve operational efficiency and become more effective in improving Missourians' health.

"We are going to chart a path for the future with expansion," Jones said. "Although we recently added almost 4,000 square feet to our building (in Sikeston), we have doubled and tripled staff in our offices."

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