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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Hosts Community “First Birthday Party” to Celebrate Akron Babies and Promote Healthy Futures

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Successful Full Term First Birthday event held at Summit Lake Community Center

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 08-02-2018

Akron, Ohio, August 2, 2018 – Yesterday, Mayor Horrigan and community partners hosted over 100 parents and children for a community “First Birthday Party” to celebrate all Akron babies reaching the important milestone of their first birthday.

Each year, roughly 2,500 babies are born in the city of Akron. However, tragically, not all of them make it to their first birthday. Certain Akron neighborhoods continue to experience unacceptably high rates of infant mortality, with rates being disproportionately higher among African American infants.

Mayor Dan Horrigan believes that advancing health equity is vital to strengthening and empowering Akron citizens and creating stronger neighborhoods. To further that objective and coordinate efforts to improve maternal and infant health, Mayor Horrigan hired Tamiyka Rose to serve as the Health Equity Ambassador for the City of Akron in April 2017. Over the past year, Ms. Rose has created an infant vitality initiative, Full Term First Birthday Akron (FTFB), with the mission to educate and inform Akron citizens of programs available in the community that promote healthy full term pregnancies and ensure every Akron child celebrates a first birthday. 

To further the mission of FTFB, last night the City hosted a First Birthday Party at Summit Lake Community Center. The event, held from 4:00 - 6:00 PM, included booths set up by local health, education, safety, and social service providers, as well as prizes and raffle giveaways donated by local businesses.  Free food and beverages were provided by Mustard Seed Market and Café and Sam’s Club, and a special ice cream flavor was created by Chill and served in honor of the event. 

“The purpose of the birthday party was two-fold,” Mayor Horrigan said, “to celebrate the monumental event of babies achieving their first birthday and to assist and educate parents and guardians on how to create a safe, healthy and financially stable environment in which their new toddlers and families can thrive.” 

Mayor Horrigan’s FTFB infant vitality initiative is a group of community organizations that are focused on removing barriers and providing wrap-around services to pregnant mothers who experience challenges in access to healthcare, housing, transportation and employment. FTFB’s three main priorities include; addressing structural racism and social determinants of health, reducing prematurity, and eliminating infant sleep-related deaths.

In 2016, Akron experienced 30 infant deaths, of those deaths 23 of them were African-American babies. In 2017, Akron experienced 29 infant deaths, of those deaths 18 of them were African American babies.  Even one less infant death is a step in the right direction, and data indicates that Akron is slowly closing the disparity gap. 

Mayor Horrigan extends a special thank you to all the sponsors of the inaugural FTFB First Birthday Party, including:

  • Presenting Sponsor: Medical Mutual of Ohio
  • Individual Sponsors: PNC Bank, Akron Children's Hospital, Summit County Public Health, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Summa Health, Fame Fathers, CareSource, AxessPointe, ASCA, the Akron Zoo, Summit County Job and Family Services
  • Additional donations: Mustard Seed, Sam’s Club (Cuyahoga Falls), Chill Ice Cream, Akron/Canton Regional Food Bank, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, City of Akron cabinet members.

For more information about how to get involved in the Full Term First Birthday infant vitality initiative, contact Tamiyka Rose, City of Akron Health Equity Ambassador, at (330) 375-2487 or [email protected].

 

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street
Akron OH 44308
Phone: 330 3386529
E-mail: [email protected]

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