LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Nearly every day in Arkansas a baby dies. But there is a glimmer of hope in the tragedies. A group of ladies with hearts afire want to help.
Those heroes are graduate members of African American sororities. They are working with the state department of health forming an effort to curb Arkansas' high infant mortality rate. They are, Sisters United.
"Not only is this a tragedy for the family on an individual level, it also impacts the community harder than any other situation." The stats don't look good for infant mortality. Dr. Michelle Smith with the Arkansas department of health says everyday in Arkansas a baby dies before their first birthday and she says African American babies are twice as likely to die before turning two. "The Arkansas department of health wants to reverse this trend so we partnered with sororities." Those sororities are Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Theta. "They formed sisters united, and what they want to do is spread awareness about infant mortality in the African American community."
42 chapters are involved statewide. Smith plans to train the volunteers come fall.
One of them is Mercedes Alexander. "This gives us an opportunity to reach more people and help more women." The training will focus in on four main areas.
"One of the biggest focus areas is starting mothers on folic acid before they are even pregnant, I didn't realize how important that was." The other areas include; getting a flu shot during your pregnancy, breastfeeding and safe sleep practices. "They will take that information back to their sororities and hopefully implement their own programs and projects that will reach out into the communities where they reside."
Smith says, Sisters United is just now getting off the ground. They have a lot of work but one clear goal. "We want each child to celebrate day number 366, we want these children to live past their first birthday and beyond, and we want more people educated to see what they can do to increase the chances of that happening."
In all they plan to train 112 volunteers, during a six hour session.