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2012 Health Care Heroes: B.A.B.E. (Beds and Britches, Etc. Store)

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Health Care HeroesCommunity Achievement in Health Care

Finalist: B.A.B.E. (Beds and Britches, Etc. Store)

St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital

 

Six vouchers for a convertible car seat, two vouchers for a crib blanket, one voucher for a pack of 12 diapers. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from noon ’til 4 p.m. you’ll hear voucher talk at St. Vincent’s Beds and Britches, Etc. Store, as moms-to-be and parents shop for clothing and other items for their babies. B.A.B.E. may look like a small, low-frills cousin of a retail baby store, but its impact is huge.

The incentive program, a collaboration among local hospitals and community service agencies, was created to encourage underprivileged moms-to-be to get the health care and education they needed to deliver healthy babies. The ultimate goal was to lower Marion County’s infant mortality rate, which ranked among the highest in the nation 20 years ago. African-American babies were particularly at risk.
 

BABE_Raidi_Rosaria_CommAch.jpg Sister Rosaria Raidl (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Participating health-care providers reward qualifying moms-to-be and new parents $5 or $10 vouchers for getting pre-natal check-ups; attending childbirth, nutrition and parenting classes and GED programs; and taking their infants to a clinic for well-baby visits and immunizations. The vouchers can be exchanged at a B.A.B.E. store for gently used or new maternity and baby clothes and other necessities.

St. Vincent sponsored the first area B.A.B.E. store, which opened in 1995 at 23rd Street and Park Avenue. It’s been going strong ever since under the management of Sister Rosaria Raidl, Daughter of Charity, who has seen it transform lives over the years.

“The moms have really taken the responsibility of keeping their appointments with the health-care providers and taking advantage of parenting and childbirth educational classes and other programs,” she said. Most moms-to-be Sister Raidl sees are African-Americans between the ages of 15 and 30. Some are as young as age 12.

Twice each year Sister Mary John Tintea, Daughter of Charity, spearheads a fundraiser for the store, collecting donations and selling raffle tickets. “The fundraiser is aimed at St. Vincent associates, who purchase thousands of dollars in raffle tickets each year to raise money for the store,” said Jon J. White, communications consultant for St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis. Donated items range from flat screen TVs to Indianapolis 500 race tickets.

Today five B.A.B.E. stores are located throughout Marion County. St. Vincent is responsible for two of the stores. Besides the original, it operates a store at 6940 Michigan Road. Other B.A.B.E. stores are sponsored by the Marion County Public Health Department, Methodist Hospital and Franciscan St. Francis Health.

While the demographic each serves is different, the common denominator is that their customers are all struggling financially. Without this program, they would not receive pre-natal care and education, and their babies wouldn’t receive the care they need to improve their odds of living beyond infancy. Since the program began, thousands of women have redeemed coupons, fathers are participating in larger numbers and Marion County’s infant mortality rate has fallen.

“The B.A.B.E. stores continue to play a critical role in promoting healthy pregnancies and reducing the infant mortality rate in Marion County,” said Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director of the Marion County Health Department.

“The B.A.B.E. program is fortunate to have such great community partners.”

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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

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