Introducing seven NFP graduates who will travel the nation telling their stories and advocating for the evidence-based program
DENVER, COLO. (March 12, 2020) – For first-time moms, life can be scary, exhausting, lonely and overwhelming. Learning to navigate the challenges of caring for a tiny new life with a skilled nurse can change the trajectory of a family for generations.
The team at Nurse-Family Partnership ® (NFP) provides specially trained registered nurses who make home visits throughout pregnancy and for the first two years of a child’s life to first-time moms facing poverty and some of the toughest problems life can throw their way.
Nurse-Family Partnership is a 40-year-old evidence-based community health program that helps mothers experience healthy pregnancies and improved birth outcomes, and teaches parenting skills, child development and strategies to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
The Parent Ambassadors, who are graduates of the national Nurse-Family Partnership program, will engage policymakers and the public on the local, state and national levels to build awareness and understanding of the benefits of the program to families and communities.
“Our Parent Ambassadors are effective advocates in sharing their stories on how Nurse-Family Partnership changed their lives,” said Sarah McGee, chief policy and government affairs officer at NFP. “Their stories make a difference to policymakers and community leaders and demonstrate what it takes to build a strong family and brighter future for their children.”
Parent Ambassadors will serve as advocates for NFP families and work to increase access to the program nationwide. In addition, they will share their experiences with NFP leaders to ensure that the voices of NFP moms are heard and the program is continuously responsive to the changing needs of families. They will also help Nurse-Family Partnership reach more expectant moms – spreading the word about the program through social media and personal outreach.
Since its launch last year, the Parent Ambassadors have contributed more than 475 volunteer hours to Nurse-Family Partnership and spent 268 hours in training and doing personal advocacy for NFP with members of Congress. In addition, the women haves sent action alerts to rally support for the program.
Parent Ambassadors also work closely with NFP alumni, a group of about 800 graduates of the program who seek to share their voice with leaders across the country, and provide support and advocacy for expanding the program.
Each cohort of Parent Ambassadors will serve for two years. The 2020 group includes:
-Iantheya Brown, 30, of Columbia, S.C., who was pregnant and dropped out of college at age 23. She felt unprepared and lost, but her NFP nurse helped her navigate daily life so she didn’t feel so alone. After her son, Jameer, was born, Iantheya reenrolled in college and graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in speech, pathology and audiology. She and Jameer graduated from the S.C. Dept. of Health & Environmental Control Midlands Nurse-Family Partnership in December 2014. She now works as a speech therapist assistant and will finish her master’s degree in social work later this year.
-Chelsea Lawyer, 27, of Tacoma, Wash., who was introduced to NFP by her mother-in-law in 2014. At the time, Chelsea was new to the area and felt somewhat isolated. She felt nervous about becoming a new mom. Her nurse taught her what to expect and connected her to mom groups and community organizations. Because of her NFP nurse, Chelsea also discovered her love for parent education, and is now a lead facilitator for a support group for mothers of color and their children. She and her daughter, Esther, graduated from Nurse-Family Partnership at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in June 2016.
-Tana Martin, 33, of Grand Rapids, Mich., who considers her time working with her NFP nurse as one of the most important periods in her life. Her NFP nurse empowered her to use her voice and personal strengths to be more than “just a mom.” Tana currently serves as a parent representative on local leadership groups, alongside community leaders and professionals focused on early childhood. She and her daughter, Mai, graduated from Nurse-Family Partnership at Kent County Health Department in October 2017.
-Faryal Najeeb, 34, of Bayville, N.J., who was relatively new to the United States when she became pregnant. Having no family or friends nearby, she felt extreme isolation and slipped into depression. Her NFP nurse guided her throughout the pregnancy to learn the skills to ensure a healthy pregnancy and gave her confidence to be a great mom. Faryal and her daughter, Maryam, graduated from the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Nurse-Family Partnership of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in December 2016. Now she is a full-time mom to her daughters.
-Naomi Tanatty, 31, of Denver, Colo., who grew up in a low-income household and longed for a brighter future for her children. Her husband is from an underdeveloped country where there is limited access to information about child development and safety. Their NFP nurse helped them gain the confidence to be the best parents they can be. Now they can educate his friends and family on how to safely take care of a child. Naomi, her husband and their daughter, Noella, graduated from Nurse-Family Partnership at Tri-County Health Department in September 2019. She currently is a freelance writer.
-Tori Valdez, 25, of Phoenix, Ariz., who received critical support from her NFP nurse in dealing with domestic violence during her pregnancy and after her child was born. With the help of her nurse, she was able to successfully leave the abusive situation and is currently pursuing a degree at Arizona State University. She and her daughter, Karita, graduated from Nurse-Family Partnership at Southwest Human Development in Phoenix, AZ in May 2019.
-Kathy Ward, 29, of Riverside, Calif., who said her NFP nurse was much more than just a nurse. She interpreted doctors’ notes so that Kathy could better understand and address her daughter’s health issues. Her nurse empowered her to share her story to help other moms gain support. Kathy along with her daughter, Lieghanne, shared their story with California state legislators at the state capitol to help advocate for funding to expand NFP. She and Lieghanne graduated from Nurse-Family Partnership at Riverside University Health System-Public Health in October 2018. Kathy enjoys driving busses for her local YMCA and is enrolled in school at NorthWest College to be a medical assistant with hopes of becoming an NFP nurse.
The Parent Ambassadors began their work with a training session at the NFP national headquarters in Denver in February. Their training includes instruction in storytelling, grassroots organizing and advocacy. This year they will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress to discuss the importance of Nurse-Family Partnership in their lives.
Over 40 years of research show that Nurse-Family Partnership is successful in improving maternal health and birth outcomes, preventing child abuse, reducing childhood injuries, increasing children’s school readiness and reducing juvenile crime.