Sadly, while the overall poverty rates in the United States remained static in 2011, we have seen child poverty rates rise for the fourth year in a row. One of the best ways to tackle persistent child poverty is to provide support at the very beginning, when a mom is pregnant. This is when a vulnerable mom is most receptive to the support and guidance that will show her how she can escape the traps of poverty before she has her child.
Of all the antipoverty programs that GOOD+ Foundation partners with, the Nurse-Family Partnership program captured my attention and my heart when I came to understand exactly what this incredible program does- engage, support and educate pregnant, first-time mothers by pairing them with skilled, compassionate nurse home-visitors over a 2+ year period. The program attracts women who want to rise out of their circumstances and create a better life for their child, and the work begins before their child is born. The bonds that form between the nurse and the new mother are strong, often adding to that mother's support system in the form of mentorship and friendship.
GOOD+ Foundation recognizes the power of this program to truly change lives and provides the products and tools that new moms in the NFP program need to support the healthy development of their child. As a parent, I have been amazed how quickly the phases of childhood go by, and with each phase, a trail of related gear, toys, clothing and other well-loved items. I’ve also come to realize that the emotional and educational support at each phase that I received from my own mother, family members and friends, is something new mothers living in poverty don’t have and desperately need. This is everything from learning how to breastfeed and managing the stress of a newborn to early education planning and discipline strategies. Supporting new mothers who are under stress due to poverty significantly reduces child abuse and neglect, emergency room visits due to accidents, and even overall participation in the workforce by the mother. The combination of the proven NFP model with the high-quality product donations that GOOD+ Foundation makes to meet the unique needs of each NFP mom has been a wonder to watch over the years and I am truly honored to be involved in this incredible partnership. Together, we are working to make a lasting difference in the lives of these children who deserve so much more.