Hometown Hero Realtor® Builds Medical Network of 80 Doctors, Dentists and Health Professionals
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Visit Children’s Volunteer Health Network online here or call (850)622-3200.
No one knows the meaning of “Pay it forward” better than Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt, a sales associate with Stellar Properties & Investments LLC in Grayton Beach.
After attending a weekly outreach program at her local church, Carlisle-Northcutt was amused by one little boy who “was disruptive and funny and reminded me of one of my own boys,” she says. “There was one glaring problem—his teeth.” Wanting to help, Carlisle-Northcutt paid to have braces put on the child. “His grades went up, his self-esteem went up—the turnaround was amazing,” she says.
From there it mushroomed. “He had a brother who needed help and a cousin, and it just went on,” she says. That’s when Carlisle-Northcutt decided to found Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN), which provides free medical, dental and mental health care to children without insurance.
“Different churches started funding us, and our volunteers stayed and became full-time workers, and it was an incredible transformation of a community showing love in the lives of these children,” says Carlisle-Northcutt.
In only two years, CVHN has provided healthcare to more than 300 children (totaling more than 1,200 appointments), using a network of more than 85 doctors, dentists and mental health professionals, all of whom donate their services.
CVHN serves low-income children in two counties where access to healthcare is limited; for example, in one of those counties, there is only one dentist who takes Medicaid patients, and even he no longer takes new patients.
“Now we do medical, mental, dental and mentoring,” she says. “We take care of the whole child. If a child has a need, we want it taken care of immediately. We want them to know that this isn’t a handout—it’s a helping hand up,” she says.
Children’s Volunteer Health Network Inc., Healthy Happy Kids, is a faith-based 501(c)(3) organization, established in 2005 in direct response to Okaloosa and Walton counties’ large population of low-income families unable to access high-quality health services due to the unavailability (or inadequacy) of insurance.
“We’ve really have been blessed in our industry and in the community,” says Carlisle-Northcutt.