Family Donates to Dr. Robert E. Appleby Health Centers

Family Donates $12,000 to Dr. Robert E. Appleby Health Centers
Posted on 11/06/2015
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Over 21 years ago, the first Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Center opened at Norwalk High School.  Today, the Appleby family donated $12,000 to the Human Services Council’s Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Centers, to commemorate the founding of clinics that provide free health care services to students who attend Norwalk Public Schools.

Dr. Appleby’s widow, Marjorie of Towson, Maryland Appleby Familyand their three children are the generous donors.  Their children are Ellen Appleby of New York City, Carol Appleby-Vanko and her husband Dave of Towson, Md., and her son, Dr. Robin Appleby and his wife Susan Hagan-Appleby of Brookfield, Conn.

In a meeting earlier this month, Mrs. Appleby said, “Bob would be so happy to see how far the program has grown and to learn about more expansions being made.  He was so passionate about helping people and loved being a part of the Norwalk community.   He worked with many good people to help execute valuable programs, such as Action Housing and School Based Health Centers.”  Marjorie remembers, at that time (early 1990s), Mayor Esposito would see Bob coming and say, “I know he (Bob) is going to ask me for something and I am going to give it to him.”  Dr. Appleby died in 1995, one year after the Norwalk School Based Health Centers were founded.

Dr. Appleby faced many adversities trying to start the school based program, but never gave up. He believed in creating a healthier community and treating those who could not afford it. His life was also enriched by the good will of others. While in WWII, he was given an aptitude test, scored well and by chance was one of three men selected and sent to medical school at John Hopkins. That opportunity enriched his life and provided him with the determination and spirit to provide support to the people of Norwalk. He started a storefront clinic in South Norwalk at a time when most doctors were leaving the area because I-95 was being built. He also set up “Action Housing” where he built over 200 houses for low to moderate income families. He then heard about the school based health center programs in Bridgeport and Stamford and was so impressed by them that he decided to start one in Norwalk.

Serving Thousands of Students

Today the Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Centers serve over 2,200 students, provide over 7,500 medical or mental health care visits a year and are able to return 92% of students back to class on the same day. 
The program has grown substantially over the last 20 years.  Full medical and mental health services are offered
in Norwalk’s three high schools; Norwalk High School, Brien McMahon High School and Norwalk Pathways Academy, and mental health services only in Norwalk’s three middle schools; Nathan Hale Middle School, Ponus Ridge Middle School and West Rocks Middle School.

“By providing easily accessible health care, school based health centers play a vital role in the health and well-being of our young people,” said Dr. Steven Adamowski, Superintendent, Norwalk Public Schools. “As a result of Dr. Appleby’s vision, thousands of students have already benefited from the comprehensive services available at Norwalk’s school based health centers. We are grateful to have the ongoing support of the Appleby family, and in partnership with the Human Services Council, we expect to continue expanding the availability of health services for our students.”

Dr. Appleby’s family, daughter Ellen and son Robin, were in attendance for this event.  In addition, the event included Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling; Reginald Roberts, principal of Norwalk High School; Anthony DiLauro, Executive Director of the Human Services Council; Carlos Reinoso Jr., Director of the School Based Health Centers, and the entire staff of HSC.

School based health centers (SBHCs) were created to provide a model of service delivery that ensures comprehensive care to children and adolescents. SBHCs improve the overall physical and emotional health of students in order to maximize their educational experiences and potential. In addition, the availability of on-site healthcare reduces absenteeism and encourages adolescents to take responsibility for their own well-being.

The Human Services Council, Inc. (HSC) creates and fosters programs that educate, safeguard and empower the people of our communities. HSC’s vision is for everyone to have the opportunity to reach their full potential. For 70+ years, HSC has been committed to improving the quality of life for thousands of individuals -- particularly youth -- residing in Mid-Fairfield County, Connecticut. HSC has been instrumental in the development of many local community initiatives, including programs for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, supportive housing/homelessness, child advocacy, medical and psychosocial health of children and adolescents, mentoring and volunteerism.  The Human Services Council is located at One Park Street in Norwalk.