ETSU, Ballad Health announce Buccaneer Building Blocks partnership

Published 3:10 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2022

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Helping families write the first chapter of lifelong success of their children
JOHNSON CITY – A baby’s first steps, a sweet smile or first words are among the milestones families will always cherish. Those treasured moments are just the beginning of so many dreams and new goals to achieve. East Tennessee State University and Ballad Health held a news conference on Tuesday, July 26 at Niswonger Children’s Hospital to announce a partnership that aims to create a foundation for the success of all children and their families across the Appalachian Highlands called Buccaneer Building Blocks.
The initiative is dedicated to developing a strong support system for lifelong learning, early childhood education and college access. Beginning in August, families of all newborn babies delivered at Ballad Health facilities will receive an information packet with resources for early college planning and an ETSU onesie highlighting Buccaneer pride to welcome them to the ETSU family.
“The Buccaneer Building Blocks program allows me to feel the same excitement of a new beginning, similar to my role as a women’s health nurse practitioner holding newborn babies after delivery – each one with a future full of bright possibilities and opportunities,” said ETSU’s first lady, Donna Noland. “This new beginning is not only filled with hope but also resources committed to providing lifelong support for children and families across the Appalachian Highlands.”
The ETSU family is committed to working with communities and key partners, like Ballad Health, to enact positive change that results in the improvement of the quality of life for people across the region and beyond. “The babies who are going to don these outfits represent the next generation of the Appalachian Highlands — so we want them to be outfitted with every opportunity for success,” said Chris Jett, CEO of the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network.
Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of resources about early childhood education, developmental milestones and tips for families to invest in their children’s future through college access planning located on the Buccaneer Building Blocks website, Families will also find information about 529 College Savings programs for Tennessee and Virginia, monthly college savings gift card prizes to help jumpstart proactive planning options, health care resources and links to Dollywood’s Imagination Library.
Families across the region are encouraged, if they are comfortable doing so, to share pictures on social media of their babies wearing the “Cutest Buc” onesies and use the #CutestBuc hashtag.
“ETSU is committed to helping families celebrate the joy of a new baby and is honored to partner with Ballad Health to help families and their children write the first chapter of lifelong success that amplifies the region for future generations to come,” said Noland.

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