Did you know an estimated 25% of Walton County children and 15% of Okaloosa County children have no health insurance? 60% of Walton County families have no dental insurance. Children’s Volunteer Health Network began in 2005, when one little boy’s crooked smile touched the heart of Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt. Tricia volunteered at an outreach program at her church, and every Tuesday, Tyler and his little brother were there “only for the cookies,” he would say. Tyler was disruptive, funny and had great leadership potential, but his jumbled mouth of teeth caused him emotional pain. He was called “Monster Mouth” and ridiculed by other children and, in turn, became a bully and show off. He was routinely suspended from school for fighting. Over a period of a few months, Tricia knew that Tyler needed to be helped or he would be a lost child. She also believed there were many more children like Tyler who could not afford dental or medical health care. Through a lot of prayer and research, the idea for Children’s Volunteer Health Network was born.

Volunteer doctors and dentists could donate their time, and volunteers would make sure the kids got to their appointments. In theory, it sounded great. Getting there was going to be a Herculean task. Tricia called 3 people in her church community and asked them to help form this faith based organization. All three of them said, “let’s do it!” The next step was convincing an orthodontist to see Tyler at no cost. With the first phone call placed and Tyler’s story shared, Dr. Runnels said, “Yes!” Tyler would get his braces. From that day forward, there was no going back. And for Tyler it was life changing. His grades improved, he became manager of his wrestling team and he learned that there was an entire community that cared for him.

Children's Volunteer Health Network, Inc., HEALTHY HAPPY KIDS, is a faith- based 501(c)(3) organization, established in 2005 in response to Walton and Okaloosa County's large population of low income families who are unable to access high quality health services due to the unavailability (or inadequacy) of insurance. CVHN seeks to enhance the lives of uninsured and underinsured school-aged children by facilitating free, immediate access to medical, dental, vision and mental health services by utilizing a network of over 95 local physicians, dentists and healthcare providers. CVHN also operates the 'Just for Grins' Mobile Dental Clinic that visits local elementary schools and the CVHN Dental Clinic located in Santa Rosa Beach. Since inception, CVHN has facilitated more than 42,000 procedures for over 7,000 local children. The value of these services is over $3 million dollars which were provided free to families in need.

“CVHN is like a band-aid to the healthcare crisis… one band aid at a time can help a runner complete a marathon, or comfort a child’s hurt finger. It’s the small things we do today that make a difference in the lives of these kids.”
- Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt

CLICK HERE to learn more about CVHN or join us at : www.cvhnkids.org