Eliada’s historic dairy barn gets a new life

Fitness farm: The Eliada Homes barn — built more than 100 years ago and used for dairy operations— has been renovated and turned into a fitness center. photos courtesy of Eliada Homes

For more than a century, the dairy barn at Eliada Homes, the foster care nonprofit in Asheville, has stood as a landmark on the campus. Now, after a renovation into a modern fitness and recreation center, it will open its doors to the public July 25 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Following Eliada's founding by Dr. Lucius B. Compton in 1906, he brought a small tract next to a much larger farm. The owner of the farm left it, including the large dairy barn, when he passed away. In the early years, according to information from Eliada, the farm was key to the place's survival, providing necessary food and milk.

In 1927, the barn burned down and a group of Pennsylvania Dutchmen travelled with Compton to rebuild it, creating the curved roof — unusual in this area — that has become part of the barn's hallmark.

After farming activities were abandoned, the barn fell into disrepair, but since last year, a drastic renovation has turned it into a recreation center including a climbing wall, weight rom, pool tables and exercise equipment.

"Preserving Eliada's rich history is important, and so is creating an environment that honors the students in our care,” Eliada CEO says. “Renovating the historic dairy barn to the new Fitness & Recreation facility does just that, and we are so pleased with the finished product."

For more information about the open house event, contact Michelle Robinson at 254-5356, ext. 354 or email mrobinson@eliada.org.
— David Forbes

Helping mothers help themselves

A portion of a $1.6 million grant will help the Buncombe County Department of Health help more first-time, low-income mothers than ever before in its Nurse-Family Partnership program. “Babies don’t come with manuals,” says Jennings Garry, Buncombe County NFP supervisor. “When you’re a new mother with limited resources, it’s difficult to know all the things required to be a successful parent. By growing our team of registered nurses, we can empower more families to make a healthy start.”

Allocated to the state for its Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, the grant will enable Buncombe to hire an additional nurse for the NFP program, which started in 2009. NFP staff currently includes four registered nurses and a masters-prepared nurse supervisor.

“We started this program a little more than a year and a half ago … and we filled up very quickly," says Gibbie Harris, director of the Buncombe County Health Department and NFP site administrator. "This additional nurse will give us a chance to expand to more families."

Since the program's inception, 144 mothers and 100 babies have been helped. That's a benefit to the entire community. “From an early childhood standpoint, if these kids get a good start, then they are more likely to have less jail time, more education, and all these things that really make the whole community stronger,” says Garry. “The program's focused on moms and their babies, but the implications don't stop there.”

It's been successful in decreasing incidence of preterm labor, encouraging teen mothers to complete school or return to work and helping clients engage in healthy practices. In fact, 75 percent of the program clients have stayed in school, nearly 80 percent have started breastfeeding, and all the children get their childhood immunizations by the time they're 1 year old.

Some parts of Buncombe have higher-than-average rates of premature birth, infant mortality, poverty, crime, domestic violence, high-school dropouts, substance abuse, unemployment and child abuse. Mothers who enroll in NFP gain critical insights and real-world skills from a registered nurse to help them overcome such challenges and become knowledgeable, healthy parents.

Harris says, “Despite the strength of our Nurse-Family Partnership program, we have much more work to do in the community. We look forward to working closely with the N.C. Division of Public Health to strengthen Buncombe County families.”
North Carolina's Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program is a provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. For more information about the local NFP program, For more information go to http://avl.mx/3z or call 707-3069.
— Caitlin Byrd

— Send your health-and-wellness news to mxhealth@mountainx.com or news@mountainx.com, or call News Editor Margaret Williams at 251-1333, ext. 152


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