In July, WFMZ and Lehigh Valley Live featured the RICHY project, a collaborative effort between DeSales University, Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Marywood University and Valley Youth House.
The RICHY project that provides onsite access to healthcare and a level of healthcare education that empowers young mothers to make their own healthcare decisions.
“‘Since they have the RICHY program, I don’t have to call off to go to an appointment,’ she said, referring to her job at McDonald’s. ‘Where I was living before wasn’t really stable to raise him – I’m so happy I came here.’
Valley Youth House officials say Chelsey’s childhood is typical of many of their young mothers. Her mother died when she was 3 and her father, when she was 13, when she then entered the foster care system.
While the young mothers and children have benefited from the access to care for their physical health needs, they’ve also been greatly helped through working with the social work students, officials said. The health care providers have let the women pick what they want to learn about, and they’ve selected mostly mental health topics, including healthy relationships and self-esteem.
‘It’s one place where the youth can get a lot of questions answered,’ said Lisa Weingartner, Valley Youth House’s director of independent living.”