Healthy Beginnings Announces Rural Advocate Program


Healthy Beginnings, the Central Oregon nonprofit that has been providing free comprehensive health and development assessments for children from newborn to five for 23 years, is proud to launch it’s Rural Advocate Program.  “The Rural Advocate Program is a programmatic shift to provide a localized approach to our services. We are committed to honoring the diversity within Central Oregon’s rural communities by hiring community members who are passionate about early childhood development. We are excited to expand and strengthen our reach with rural advocates being the face of Healthy Beginnings in their own communities,” said Diane Murray-Fleck, Healthy Beginnings’ Executive Director.

Meet the Rural Advocates:

Prineville Rural Advocate, Ryleigh Shiner:
Ryleigh is a mom of two, who attended a screening and saw the value of having volunteer professionals “who are there to talk with you about your child, listen to you, not make you feel like a number or a “case” – no pressure, just caring volunteers who are there to help with your child’s future and health.”

Madras Rural Advocate, Michelle Ramos:
Michelle lives in Jefferson County with her husband and children.  She has worked in the Early Childhood Field for the last 15 years.  Michelle has worked for many non-profits in the Madras community that work with young children and families.  Michelle recently opened her own Early Learning and Care business, to provide quality early care and educational services to other children in the Madras Community.  Michelle is passionate about working with young children and families and empowering parents to be advocates for their children.  She is excited to start with Healthy Beginnings to provide resources for families and promoting healthy development for young children in Jefferson County.

Sisters Rural Advocate, Zoey Wavrin:
Growing up in Central Oregon provided Zoe with a unique upbringing. When she first moved to the area, Zoe attended a one room school house and spent weeks in Washington DC for “history class,” and went skiing on Fridays. Zoe then attended Sisters high school where she had the opportunity to play sports year round, explore creatively in school and participate in interdisciplinary outdoor education. Zoe feels that Sisters, Oregon is a wonderful community with a reverence for both art and science that has shaped her as an individual. Zoe graduated from Oregon State University, and is currently in the process of applying to medical school with the hope to one day serve a similar community.

La Pine Rural Advocate, Lori Henry:
“Children make your life important.”  – Erma Bombeck. Children have been Lori’s career and passion for 30+ years.  Lori graduated from Oregon State University with a BS in Home Economics and Math Education, with a minor in Early Childhood Education.  Lori has taught from preschool to 12th grade, and feels each has its own blessings.  As a mom who has lived in La Pine for 18 years Lori understands the struggles facing families in South County.  She is excited to be part of the Healthy Beginnings team.

About Healthy Beginnings
For nearly 23 years, Healthy Beginnings has provided Central Oregon families with accessible, free health and developmental assessments for children from birth to five years old. The organization also provides referrals to appropriate community agencies, follow-up services, information and support.


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