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News from Unity

Unity Health System Program Helps Young Adult Mothers Get Driver’s Licenses

Rochester, N.Y. (March 25, 2011) - Unity Health System’s Healthy Start Center has helped six young adult mothers achieve an important milestone in life – getting their driver’s licenses. Three others are working towards the same accomplishment.

The Healthy Start Center is a federally-funded program that is operated by Unity Health System and the Perinatal Network of Monroe County. The center currently has 165 pregnant women and new mothers in the program, and provides a wide range of essential health care and social services. Providing the resources for clients to prepare for and receive a driver’s license was possible, thanks to a donation from M&T Bank. This funding covered fees for learner’s permits, driving lessons, 5-hour pre-licensing classes with the Morgan School of Driving, and the road tests.

Transportation is often a barrier for clients of the Center. “These young mothers don’t have the time, money or support system to get a license,” said Alise Gintner, manager of Community Perinatal Programs, Healthy Start, Unity Health System. “This is a project that gives them more independence, empowers them to be successful, and demonstrate they are able to accomplish challenging things in life.”

To be eligible for the driving program, clients need to complete 10 hours of volunteer work at Unity’s Children's Clothes Closet, 89 Genesee Street, where the Rochester community can get near-to-new or new clothing for children, baby furniture, children's books, and toys. While enrolled in the driver education program, clients are required to complete two hours of volunteer work at the Clothes Closet to earn one driving lesson. 

Kimberly Rodriguez, a client of the Center who received her license, is proud to have passed the road test the first time. “I’m very grateful to the Healthy Start Center for this wonderful opportunity. Getting my license was something I really wanted to do and wouldn’t have been able to afford to do on my own.”

The 20-year old has been in the Healthy Start program almost two years. “It has been very good for me and my daughter, Kylee. The program has helped me make positive changes in my life and be a better person.”

The Healthy Start Center was created in 1998 at Unity’s St. Mary’s Campus on Genesee Street. Services include pregnancy education, parenting skills, infant care, smoking cessation, nutrition counseling, mental health services, and job training. The program is designed to reduce infant mortality and low birth weight babies.

About Unity Health System

At Unity Health System you’ll find the friendliest and most compassionate people dedicated to providing the best possible health care experience. We have over 70 locations in Rochester and Monroe County, including Unity Hospital in the town of Greece and the Unity St. Mary’s Campus in Rochester. Key programs include our Joint Replacement Center, Family Birth Place, Spine Center, Diabetes Center, Chemical Dependency, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, plus the area’s most comprehensive range of services for older adults. ACM Medical Laboratory is the world’s fifth largest provider of clinical trials testing, with locations in western New York, York, England, and lab partnerships across the globe. Our shared commitment to delivering health care the way it should be is reflected in our 98% overall patient satisfaction rating.