Boone County Community Against Violence and MU Health Care may have helped save a life in the future.

The organizations came together Sunday afternoon at the Columbia Boys & Girls Clubs for a public health expo. It taught lifesaving techniques to about 50 people who could become potential bystanders.

The community group’s founder, Shaunda Hamilton, lost her daughter Nadria Wright to gun violence in Columbia earlier this year. Hamilton’s daughter did not receive medical attention before first responders arrived on scene, so now Hamilton is giving others the tools to provide it.

Evan Spaulding, a paramedic who represented MU Health Care at the expo, teaches a free CPR class in his free time. He reached out to the community group because he wanted to teach CPR to people in underserved communities.

Residents of neighborhoods that are mainly African American or Hispanic are two to three times more likely to have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. African Americans and Hispanics are also 30%-50% less likely to have a bystander perform CPR on them.

The cardiac arrest survival rate in Missouri is 12%, and MU Health Care is trying to raise that number through its Save MO Hearts training. At the expo, Spaulding and others from MU Health Care provided training in hands-on CPR and automated external defibrillators, or AEDs.

MU Health Care also provided Stop the Bleed training, which teaches people how to reduce blood loss after a serious wound. The training is offered 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month in the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital Health Pavilion. Save MO Hearts and Stop the Bleed both offer private group training sessions.

Representatives from the Missouri Psychiatric Center at MU Hospital also attended the expo and provided information on the mental health side of crisis intervention and prevention.

Tori Metheny, a social worker for MU Health Care, said the Psychiatric Center’s goal is to get anyone who is in crisis, or is around someone in crisis, the professional help they need. Metheny also said the Psychiatric Center offers financing options and can point anyone who needs help in the right direction.

The Midwest Transplant Network booth signed people up to become organ donors and gave information about the misconceptions surrounding organ donation.

Lisa Britt, a spokesperson for the network, said she’s been alive 28 extra years because of her heart transplant. Britt, who wore a button in memory of her transplant donor, said she is still in contact with her donor family, and that the network frequently honors donor families.

Britt has had two children since her transplant and named her own daughter after her donor.

Another booth at the expo included information about how to administer naloxone, or brand name Narcan, during an overdose. The Boone County Fire District EMS had a booth, and MU Health Care offered blood pressure and cholesterol screenings.

Columbia Boys & Girls Clubs Executive Director Valorie Livingston said she wants her organization to be an active part of “our village.”

Columbia Boys & Girls Clubs serves over 700 families with children ages 6 to 18. Livingston said she has seen violence impact more and more families over her 10 years with the Boys & Girls Clubs.

“It’s not something you can ignore when the kids talk about their struggles at home or they talk about being scared. We want to be proactive and create a grassroots environment for activities like this,” Livingston said.

Columbia Boys & Girls Clubs is a 100% locally funded nonprofit and receives more than half of its funding from the community, Livingston said. The rest comes from grants, the United Way and local governments. In addition to after-school and summer programs, the club also offers mental health services and counseling to families.

The Columbia Boys & Girls Clubs is operating with a waitlist and looking to expand after-school programs.

“The more money we raise, the more families we can serve,” Livingston said.

It operates satellite after-school programs at Alpha Heart Lewis Elementary School and Derby Ridge Elementary School. Livingston said there are two more schools with space, but that the organization needs more funding to expand.

Hamilton said Boone County Community Against Violence is looking for volunteers, and that they will be organizing another event after the holiday season.

Supervising editor is Tynan Stewart.

  • I study investigative journalism and minor in business and philosophy. I love learning about different aspects of our society and meeting new people.

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