A Place for Parents in Leland
In her more than 70 years as a Leland resident, Mary Boteler has witnessed the ebbs and flows of her small Delta community. In that time, she has concluded that success is a partnership that begins and ends with families.
“The only way we can make a difference is to start in the homes,” said Boteler, who serves on the advisory board of the Leland Medical Clinic. “And then you partner with the schools and the town to build a healthy place where people really want to live.”
In June, Boteler and other community leaders took another step toward that goal with the opening of the Universal Parenting Place – a newly renovated wing of the Leland Medical Clinic that provides free resources for parents and guardians to build on the emotional well-being of families.
Made possible through a $200,000 grant from the Memphis-based ACE Awareness Foundation in conjunction with the Delta Health Alliance, the new facility offers a “judgement-free zone” for parents to use with their children, providing access to licensed professional for counseling, information and support for family-related issues and concerns.
“I am personally very emotional today,” said Ellen Rolfes, executive director of the ACE Awareness Foundation as she prepared to help cut the ribbon on the new facility. “I was born in a little yellow hospital in the Delta, so I feel like I’ve come home.”
Rolfes said mitigating the root causes of adverse childhood situations can change the trajectory of an entire population of people. Regardless of the size of the problems, the Universal Parenting Place will offer solutions for families who wouldn’t otherwise have a place to go for help.
“I’m overwhelmed to think that in our beloved Mississippi Delta, we’re going to have this special place,” said Rolfes.
At the Universal Parenting Place, for instance, families can find resources for:
- Parenting tips and skills
- Funding for projects or new businesses
“It’s geared toward providing parents with a place where their children can come and do art or play games in a safe and secure setting,” said Anthony Wood, who oversees the program for Delta Health Alliance.
Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Leland Medical Clinic, the Universal Parenting Place will offer community events open to everyone in addition to art programs in conjunction with the Delta Arts Alliance; music; movie nights; father-daughter dances; and night and weekend events.
“I’ve received interest from other clinics asking about establishing this in their city,” said Wood. “I get community leaders expressing interest in our programs. We’re reaching out to everyone who comes in contact with a child to let them know who we are and what we are doing.”
The Universal Parenting Place is the newest addition to the Leland Medical Clinic, an important community center that is bringing needed care to a region of the country that historically has been underserved when it comes to health services. Housed in the old city hospital, the facility underwent a $1.2 million renovation to offer quality healthcare to residents who might otherwise be forced to travel to see a doctor or nurse practitioner. The renovation was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Karen Matthews, CEO of the Delta Health Alliance, said the Universal Parenting Place is part of an extraordinary team that is working to bring a high level of services to the community.
“The Leland Medical Clinic is the nucleus of what we want healthcare in the Delta to be like,” Matthews said.
For more information about the UPP at Leland Medical Clinic, call 662-686-3848 or email UPP@deltahealthalliance.org.