Looking for a special and fitting way to pay tribute to former Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) Trustee Mary Rumberger, whose warm heart had a special place for the well-being of children, WPHF is helping establish a school-based health clinic and related wellness programs at the Morning Star School.
The school, which has served special needs students from throughout Central Florida for more than 50 years, was important to Mary, who passed away in October. She was a longtime member of the Morning Star Auxiliary and served as its president from 1992-94. The school has about 40 students and includes classes from pre-kindergarten through high school.
To date, $36,750 in WPHF trustee and staff discretionary funds have been donated to Morning Star School for the clinic as well as other health and wellness initiatives to honor Mary’s legacy of working with children and youth.
The vision, beyond establishing the health clinic, is to assist with the placement of learning and skill-building gardens on the campus as well as creating a demonstration kitchen to teach the students, staff and parents how to prepare and cook healthy meals. A mural will be created and painted in the health clinic to create a warm, healing space.
In addition, plans call for creating a dedication plaque and an outdoor memorial honoring Mary.
Tori Sheahan, nurse practitioner at the school-based health center at Glenridge Middle School and coordinator of the WPHF- supported School Nursing Initiative in Winter Park Consortium schools, and Pam Flaherty, nurse practitioner at the Winter Park High School school-based health center, are helping Morning Star’s leaders determine the best way to outfit the clinic, including necessary equipment, supplies and education needed for school staff, volunteers and parents.
WPHF staff also will be working with the Nemours Children’s Hospital’s Florida Prevention Initiative team to modify Nemours’ Healthy Habits for Life curriculum to fit this special-needs student population, and will connect Morning Star leaders to other partnership opportunities for health and wellness efforts. (The Healthy Habits for Life curriculum, which encourages healthy eating and lots of activity, is being offered in child care centers in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville that have students feeding into Winter Park Consortium schools. WPHF provides grant support for the program.)
Stay tuned for an announcement about the Morning Star School clinic’s opening tentatively planned for March. WPHF Trustees and staff, Children & Youth Work Group members, and Mary’s family will be invited to a special dedication ceremony.