Nursing Professor Linda Strong Receives Daughters of American Colonists’ Award

Nursing Professor Linda Strong stands in the Ella Jackson Senior Center at Hall Neighborhood House in Bridgeport where she operates Aging with Grace, a community health outreach program.

News Story: May 27, 2015

Professor Linda Strong of Stratford, a nursing professor for the past 23 years as Sacred Heart University and a public health nurse for more than 33 years, was honored recently with an award of $1,000 from the Connecticut State Society—Daughters of the American Colonists (CTSSDAC). A check was presented to her by Christy Hendrie, a family nurse practitioner graduate of SHU’s School of Nursing and new State Regent for the CTSSDAC. The presentation took place at the Hall Neighborhood House in Bridgeport, where Strong operates Aging with Grace, a community health outreach program. The check will help fund the purchase of much-needed health screening equipment for anyone served by Hall House. Strong, Hendrie, SHU senior nursing students, representatives from Optimus Healthcare (which supports Hall House) and other CTSSDAC officials were onsite for the presentation.

The CTSSDAC was founded in 1921 and, besides its focus on preserving the history of early American colonists, it engages in mutual improvement and educational activities, establishes scholarships to assist needy students and makes contributions to charitable activities. Its funding is derived from membership dues and fundraisers. Each administration is three years long, and every administration gets to choose just one project to support. “My daughter, Sarah Hendrie Ekman, was a 2004 SHU graduate and interned in Public Health Nursing with Dr. Strong,” Hendrie explained. “She really respected Dr. Strong’s work. Sarah is now a cardio-thoracic step-down nurse at Danbury Hospital and credits Dr. Strong as an influence. Because of Sarah’s experience, I enrolled in the family nurse practitioner program. Those touchpoints and the needs of Dr. Strong’s program at Hall Neighborhood House drove my decision to support it.”

The facility, located on Bridgeport’s lower east side and serving the Greater Bridgeport community, offers several programs including ABCD (Agency for Bridgeport Community Development), which runs a daycare/pre-school for children ages 2-6; afternoon and evening summer activities for teens like sports, music and arts; and an Ella Jackson senior program, of which Strong’s platform is a part.

Strong founded Aging with Grace on April 19, 2001, working at first from quarters at St. Charles Roman Catholic Church and serving about 10 clients per week along with community walk-ins. “We relocated to Hall House in 2010, and now we serve a minimum of 43 people each week, on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.,” Strong said. “Breakfast comes out of my salary; the City of Bridgeport funds lunch; and I, along with SHU nursing students at all levels—from first professional degree to doctorate—and members from Optimus Health Care provide medical, social and housing services.”

The CTSSDAC donation will, specifically, go towards purchase of a pulse oximeter with heart rate monitor, a glucometer, stethoscopes, sphygmos, a locking cabinet, a cholesterol assessment machine, an A1C machine and related supplies.