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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Daily Real Estate News  |  August 29, 2007  |   REALTORŪ Secures Free Medical Care for Needy
When real estate practitioner Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt and her husband, Mark, relocated to Grayton Beach, Fla., from Memphis three years ago, she was facing empty nest and missing her four grown children. So she decided to reach out to help other children.

Within three months, she was volunteering at a club for elementary school children at the Point Washington United Methodist church, where she worshipped. She was struck by the number of cases of children who needed medical care but whose parents lacked health insurance and were unable to pay for treatment.

Carlisle-Northcutt decided to do something about it. She started a network of medical, dental, and mental health professionals to provide care and prescriptions to needy children.

Such efforts have led Carlisle-Northcutt, ABRŪ, CRSŪ, GRI, a practitioner with Stellar Properties & Investments LLC in Grayton Beach, Fla., to recently be named as one of 10 finalists for REALTORŪ Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards.

Expanding Reach

Her source of inspiration for the medical network came after meeting an 11-year-old boy named Tyler at the Point Washington United Methodist church. “He was adorable but a troublemaker,” Carlisle-Northcutt recalls. “I also saw he had terrible teeth, couldn’t chew, and couldn’t close his mouth. It was a medical necessity that he get help, but his mother couldn’t afford it.”

Carlisle-Northcutt realized she had three choices: Do nothing, pay for his dental work, or find someone to do it for free.

She picked Dr. Scott Reynolds’ name from the phone book, and he agreed to do the work at no charge. From that, she began her nonprofit Children’s Volunteer Health Network, which was born in April 2005.

In just two years, the Santa Rosa Beach-based organization has grown to a paid staff of three and has helped 300 children in Walton and Okaloosa counties secure care from 80 medical professionals. More than 100 volunteers provide transportation to appointments if parents can’t.

Besides ensuring the children’s health, her goal also has been to keep the children in school, which becomes tougher if they're not healthy. “If they stay in school, they can change their lives,” says Carlisle-Northcutt, who has contributed more than 2,200 hours in the last 16 months, donated $17,000, and raised $277,000.

“Tricia’s love of children may have led to her efforts, but so did her disbelief that quality health care isn’t available to everyone,” says Charlotte Blanton, CVHN’s office manager.

In its short life, CVHN has already expanded its mission to include a tutoring and mentoring program that helps children do better in school and improve their self-esteem; a Christmas-gifts program for needy families; and a mobile dental clinic that will travel to 40 schools beginning this fall, providing education about taking care of teeth and preventive care.

“The idealist in me hopes for the day CVHN will no longer be needed; the realist in me hopes that we’ll establish a clinic and compensate our doctors,” Carlisle-Northcutt says.

The Good Neighbor Awards is a grant program recognizing REALTORSŪ who make exceptional volunteer contributions to their communities. Of the 10 Good Neighbor finalists, five winners will receive $10,000 grants for their community projects and will be honored at the REALTORSŪ Conference & Expo in Las Vegas on Nov. 14. The remaining five finalists will receive $2,500 grants for their cause.

The Good Neighbor Awards is supported by founding sponsor eNeighborhoods Inc., and cosponsors Lowe’s and LandAmerica.

Contact Carlisle-Northcutt at Stellar Properties & Investments, LLC, 850/231-4491; tcarli9614@aol.com.

Contact the Children's Volunteer Health Network, Inc. at 850/622-3200; char@childrensvolunteerhealthnetwork.org; www.childrensvolunteerhealthnetwork.org.

— By Barbara Ballinger for REALTORŪ Magazine Online

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