Community Connect staff

Mighty Blog

Community Connect presents to Kohl’s Cares national partners

The Community Connect program at Children’s Minnesota – a family-support model that offers resources to address children’s health needs – was recently invited to present its family-centered stories and outcomes to Kohl’s Cares, which funds the program.

Children’s Minnesota presents its work

Children’s Minnesota, along with Texas Children’s Hospital, presented to eight Kohl’s Cares partners throughout the nation, with the focus being healthy development for kids. By bringing together partners with similar areas of program-focus, the goal was to build connections and for the partners to gain valuable knowledge from one another.

“This was such a terrific opportunity to cross-pollinate and advance work nationally around the social determinants of health,” said Pam Ross, director of community health programs at Children’s Minnesota. “We are thrilled that Kohl’s selected us to share our knowledge and learnings. Already, other hospital systems are inquiring about the progress we’ve made through Community Connect.”

How does Community Connect help families?

Community Connect is transforming Children’s Minnesota’s approach to health care by connecting families to existing community resources. Beginning with the proactive social determinants of health screening, clinicians at Children’s Minnesota make real-time referrals to onsite resource navigators who can design a responsive plan of action to help families on an on-going basis. Available resources include food access, transportation services, legal assistance, housing support, early childhood education programs and employment search assistance.

Community Connect program

As part of the presentation, Jessica Block, community health manager, shared a story about a young mother of two, who was only working two days per month because she had no reliable transportation or daycare, making it extremely difficult to find a job.

Through Community Connect, she was connected to the Transit Assistance Program for discounted Metro Transit fare and was provided a bus card onsite. She was also given instructions on how to book a taxi through her children’s health insurance company so she could make it to their medical appointments. Most importantly, her Community Connect navigator helped her understand how to apply for county benefits, including the Childcare Assistance Program. On the most recent follow up, the mother confirmed that she is now receiving cash, food and child care assistance through the county. She is grateful for the support, felt like things are finally getting better and is now excited about finding a job.

More about Community Connect

In 2019, Community Connect served over 2,000 families, and nearly 80 percent of participants surveyed said the program improved their family’s health and well-being. Top needs among patient-families include food, household goods, childcare, adult education and transportation.

Since 2001, Kohl’s has donated more than $7.4 million to Children’s Minnesota through its Kohl’s Cares program. Last year, Children’s Minnesota received a $500,000 two-year grant from Kohl’s Cares to support Community Connect program.

Kaitlyn Kamleiter