Jocelyn's New Beginnings
by Jennifer Buck, Manager, Harris Health System Community Involvement
The birth of a child can be an exciting time in the life of a family. But some families who have limited resources or support, also find it to be a time of stress and uncertainty. Thankfully due to the generosity of Kay Bollinger and her family, the mothers and babies at Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) Hospitals won’t have to worry. They have Joselyn’s New Beginnings.
Jocelyn’s New Beginnings is an infant care support program that provides baskets full of newborn essentials to new mothers at Harris Health System, ensuring that all mothers who need it, receive tangible support to care for their newborn.
Named in memory of Kay’s granddaughter, Jocelyn’s New Beginnings donates annual funding for approximately 75 baskets a year. That is 75 families that would have otherwise gone without. The program began in September 2008 when Kay visited Ben Taub Hospital and met with Nursing, Child Life, and Case Management staff to determine the unmet needs of mothers who delivered at Ben Taub. Learning that many new mothers had little to no support once their babies were born weighed heavy on Kay’s heart. She knew she could make a difference, one mother and one baby at a time – to give them a great start at their new beginning. That is when Jocelyn’s New Beginnings was born.
When the program first began, Kay purchased all the supplies herself and hand-delivered the baskets to the hospital. However, after moving out of the Houston area, she could no longer support the program in that way. Kay began donating the funding annually to the Harris County Hospital District Foundation (HCHD Foundation) to support the program. Working together, the HCHD Foundation staff in partnership with Harris Health System’s Community Involvement staff and volunteers purchase the supplies and assemble the baskets.
Now in its 11th year, the program is stronger than ever. Because of the unwavering commitment and generous support that Kay Bollinger and her family provide, the program that first started at Ben Taub was recently expanded to Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital as well. Now all mothers who deliver at either Ben Taub or LBJ Hospital who need help, receive it. Nursing staff and case managers work together to identify mothers who need extra help in providing basic essentials for their baby after delivery. Every mother who needs one will receive a basket upon discharge.
The program is much loved by all, including volunteers and staff. Once the supplies are purchased, community volunteer groups assist with basket assembly. Put together beautifully with all the essentials a newborn would need it is truly baby shower worthy.
Since the program’s inception, and due to the Bollinger family’s continued support, funds are also available to provide infant car seats when needed. Pack-n-plays are also available for those babies who need a safe place to sleep once at home. None of this would be possible without the compassion of Kay Bollinger. She saw an unmet need and determined to meet it and countless mothers and their babies in Harris County have been blessed because of it. And that is priceless.
Mr. and Mrs. Bollinger along with daughter in-law, HCHD Foundation Operations Manager Carolyn Amos, and Harris Health Nurses
Emery Weiner students with New Beginnings baskets