Springfield’s Rocking Horse gets $50,000 to help kids impacted by drugs

A Springfield medical health center will receive new money to help local kids who have lost a parent to drugs.

CVS Health distributed a $50,000 grant to Rocking Horse Community Health Center Friday morning that will be used to help Clark County children who have been impacted the most by the opioid epidemic. The money will also go to help children whose parents are addicted to drugs.

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“We are going to educate children who are unaware of what opioid overdoses are doing,” said Rocking Horse Chief Medical Officer Dr. Yamini Teegala. “I think by educating families and children who have lost loved ones we hope to see that we are increasing awareness and giving them a safe place to talk about addiction and being able to provide them support as they go through this painful process of losing a loved one or having a loved one that is addicted.”

The money will be spent to develop a program named SAFE (Substance Abuse and Family Education), Teegala said. SAFE will identify and provide support and psychological education to children and families at the community health center and the surrounding areas who are impacted by the opioid crisis and other drug-related issues, she said.

She said there are resources for patients right now, but not so much for the children who are suffering too because of their parents’ addictions.

“It’s sometimes hard to focus on the children … but they are being affected by the chronic disease,” she said. “To be able to provide an education and get into the schools to talk to families to tell them we are here for you, I think that is very important for children.”

The money will also be spent on a counselor who will go into schools, Director of Behavioral Health at Rocking Horse Robert Fitzwater said.

EXTRA: Rocking Horse to serve Clark County kids with no dental care

“We do a lot of talk therapy,” Fitzwater said. “We are going to use this money to teach addiction education and to provide grief counseling inside the rocking horse facility.”

He said its always tough to help a child who’s lost a parent to drugs.

“There is a lot of confusion,” Fitzwater said. “The kids are going to through the stages of grief. They can’t understand what addiction is.”

The counselor will be available to go to any school in the area, he said.

The money was given to Rocking Horse as part of CVS’s community investments to improve the health and wellness of in Ohio.

“We are committed to making meaningful investments in the communities we serve to support our colleagues and customers,” said Eileen Howard Boone, the senior vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy in a statement. “The organizations we are partnering with are helping us deliver on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health and are truly dedicated to helping those who need it the most.”

CVS also gave a $50,000 grant to a health care provider in Cleveland and a national organization that funds missions across Ohio.

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