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Blue Ribbon Foundation Supports Head Start Screenings in Lackawanna County

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
September 17, 2013
Pictured above at a recent hearing screening are: L-R, Kate Wilcox, a graduate student studying speech language pathology at Marywood University, and Lawrence Abbatiello, age four, of Dickson City.

Wilkes-Barre, PA — Recent funding from The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania will help provide speech, language and audiology screenings to at-risk children, ages 3 to 5, at 14 Head Start Centers across Lackawanna County.

The Foundation recently approved a $12,589 grant to Marywood University’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic for the program.  An estimated 350 youngsters will be screened in the coming year, and participants identified with hearing loss and/or speech-language delays will be referred for early intervention.

“Speech and language development is an important part of every young child’s health,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation.  “An outreach program like this one is the only opportunity for some children to be screened.”

In addition to the screenings, 15 Head Start teachers will be trained to recognize speech, language and hearing delays and learn how to incorporate exercises into classroom activities to stimulate speech-language skills thanks to this Blue Ribbon grant.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  During its first decade of service, The Foundation has awarded nearly $10 million in grant funding to 170 nonprofits to help meet the health and wellness needs of more than 186,000 at-risk individuals.