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United Way of Lake County makes sure children are kindergarten ready

Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 18:24:46-05

LAKE COUNTY, Ohio — More than half of the kids in Lake County old enough to enroll in kindergarten aren't ready for it, both in mind and body, but United Way of Lake County is offering free health services to kids to assist in that department.

Katie Hodge’s three-year-old son, Logan, is doing well, but his foundation wasn't always stable.

"I was nervous. I didn't feel like I was going to have that mom instinct. I didn't know what to do, I had never really been around kids,” Hodge said.

Hodge said that Logan was born 12 weeks early and for a while it felt like Logan’s developmental delays were adding up.

"We started speech therapy, because he wasn't talking,” Hodge said.

As Logan grew, he endured muscle issues.

"He couldn't hold his head up,” Hodge said.

Neither could she. The weight of being a first-time mom was heavy. Hodge needed someone to help make sure that Logan didn't fall into the large group of toddlers who aren't kindergarten ready.

"Sadly, 51 percent of Lake County kids right now do not demonstrate the skills necessary to enter kindergarten,” Jennifer McCarty said.

McCarty runs United Way of Lake County. It partnered with Crossroads Health to help give families the tools to thrive.

"If it wasn't for Crossroads Health, there would be kids who would not have a chance to have a good life in Lake County,” McCarty said.

Crossroads Chief Clinical Officer, Children’s Services, Amber Thomas said therapists visit clients regularly.

Hodge didn't have to pay for the help she received. But without the services, McCarty said Lake County would pay the price as a whole.

"A stronger community leads to a stronger economy and a better community,” McCarty said.

"I don't really know where Logan would be if we didn't have those services,” said Hodge. "I definitely have more confidence as a mom."

For more information on receiving assistance, contact United Way of Lake County at 440-352- 3166.