Catawba County News

School Nurse Recognized for Effort

School Nurse Recognized for Effort

Published: October 11, 2023


HICKORY – Catawba County Public Health School Nurse Amy Phillips was presented with this year’s North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition Award for Individual Achievement at the North Carolina Public Health Association’s Fall Educational Conference on September 27.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation supports the awards program, which recognizes public health workers and programs that improve the health status of children. The program honors North Carolina public health professionals and departments for innovative, creative and successful approaches to improving the lives of our younger generations. The award includes a monetary grant that is given to the state public health association for a scholarship in the name of the award recipient.

Nationwide, there has been an increase in grandparents and other family members who are raising school-aged children. This could be because a biological parent has died or is imprisoned, or could stem from a situation where Social Services has been involved. These families face unique challenges: Grandparents and caregivers are sometimes unaware of services available to them, and many have had to take up raising children in a technological world that is quite different from when they raised their own children. In addition, the children they are raising sometimes have physical, social or emotional needs that can be met through the School Health program.

Phillips discovered that grandparents and other family members raising school-age children in Catawba County might need additional support and developed the Grandparents Café pilot program at Oxford Elementary School in collaboration with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments and other community partners to address these needs. Because of its success, it is being expanded into additional schools.

“I have served students in Catawba County for many years and never expected a program to have such an impact,” Phillips said. “It is a privilege to serve the students, grandparents and other non-biological parents at Oxford Elementary School and I’m thankful every day for the partners who came together to make Grandparents Café such a tremendous success.”