Katharine Lang had been visiting Ashland since she was a teen in Michigan, participating in a traveling repertory theatre company based in Portland.
However, it wasn’t until she and her husband, Ron, moved here in 2012 that she understood the depth and breadth of poverty in the community.
As a couple that believes in giving back to their community, the Langs were excited about supporting the School Nurse Program, which was established in 1997.
“When I was a child, every school had its own school nurse,” Katharine recalled. “And as a child who grew up with only a father—who thought a Band-Aid and aspirin would fix anything—I ended up in the nurse’s office a lot! These days, with COVID, poverty, homelessness and non-resident immigrant parents, there’s a greater need for school nurses that’s not being met. Children need to know that someone’s there for them to talk to, provide healthcare and help with needs that aren’t being met at home.”
Supporting the School Nurse Program
The School Nurse Program works to meet the physical and mental health needs of K-12 school children in Ashland, Talent, and Phoenix. Nurses are embedded in the schools and are often the first medical provider a student sees. They provide a full complement of preventative and responsive health services in a continuous, need-based manner for mental, dental and physical health. Nurses work in partnership with educators and family members to identify and address the health needs of children.
Currently, services are provided at seven school sites in Ashland, and six school sites in Talent and Phoenix. Students have access to nurses through offices located in the school districts. The goal of the program is to promote positive outcomes for students by providing comprehensive health services which include prevention, assessment, early identification/intervention and care coordination.
“It’s shocking to realize that in the September 8, 2020, Almeda Fire, about 700 school children in the Phoenix-Talent School District alone lost their homes to the fire,” Katharine lamented.
“Our hope is to expand the program by getting the word out to others about what an important service these nurses provide. Having grown up lower middle-class, Ron and I are grateful to be in a position today to give the foundation funds to focus on these local needs.”
For more information, contact Kathleen Mackris at 541-482-0367