Introducing seven NFP graduates who will advocate before Congress to expand the program
DENVER, COLO. (March 22, 2022) — Nurse-Family Partnership announced today the new class of Parent Ambassadors, who will share their stories as new parents and the impact of the Nurse-Family Partnership ® (NFP) program with Congress and other policymakers. This year they are working together to expand the Nurse-Family Partnership program to serve more families.
These Parent Ambassadors are graduates of Nurse-Family Partnership, which partners first-time moms affected by social and economic inequality with a registered nurse throughout the first 1,000 days, from pregnancy until her child’s second birthday. Each nurse works with each family to build the lives they want for themselves and their children.
When their child turns two-years-old, each mom enrolled in Nurse-Family Partnership graduates and is encouraged to join a community of fellow NFP alumni. Program graduates are invited to apply to be selected as a Nurse-Family Partnership Parent Ambassador.
Parent Ambassadors serve as advocates for NFP families and work to increase access to the program nationwide for the next two years. The group helps spread the word about Nurse-Family Partnership by sharing their personal story and advocacy participation through outreach opportunities such as speaking at events, attending legislative meetings and posting on their social media. They also are a sounding board for leaders at the National Service Office for Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First to ensure the program is continuously responsive to the changing needs of families.
One of the main policy goals for the Parent Ambassadors in 2022 is talking to members of Congress about the timely reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and need to expand to serve more families. MIECHV is a vital federal funding stream that helps Nurse-Family Partnership improve outcomes for expectant mothers and babies.
“Nurse-Family Partnership parents are the most effective champions and the strongest voices who can share the impact of the program and the power of their relationship with their own nurse,” said Sarah McGee, chief policy and government affairs officer for the National Service Office for Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First. “We are excited to have the Parent Ambassadors share their families’ successes with members of Congress and advocate on behalf of all Nurse-Family Partnership families.”
Parent Ambassadors are leaders among NFP’s alumni group called Raising Strong, which is a network of about 2,500 graduates of the program. In this role, they are charged by the National Service Office for Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First with reaching current NFP families and graduates to provide support in expanding parent advocacy. This new class is the third group of Parent Ambassadors to advocate on behalf of Nurse-Family partnership since 2019.
Nurse-Family Partnership is proud to announce the members of the new class of Parent Ambassadors.
Effie Alofoje-Carr, 35, of East Lansing and Metro Detroit, Michigan found NFP unexpectedly when she was newly pregnant with her son. She was laid off and unbeknownst to her, struggling with maternal depression. Effie was visiting her local health department when she saw a sign for the Ingham County Health Department Nurse-Family Partnership and called right away. Connecting with NFP changed the trajectory of motherhood for her and she credits the one-on-one nurse visits to helping with many other family successes. She spent time serving the Lansing area in maternal, infant and child health and education by working as a project coordinator. Effie feels she was called to this type of work after seeing first-hand the positive impact NFP had on her family. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University and enjoys spending time with her husband and their 8-year-old son. Effie graduated from NFP in August 2015.
Carolina Juarez Hernandez, 28, of East Harlem, New York contacted Metropolitan Hospital New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Nurse-Family Partnership in 2018 when she was preparing to have her daughter and needed encouragement in becoming a mother. Carolina credits her NFP nurse for supporting her emotionally when her daughter was born prematurely, as well as being by her side while she struggled with postpartum depression. Not long after, her family suffered loss through the COVID pandemic. Carolina’s NFP nurse connected her family to resources in the community to aid in food security and assisted her in finding a job. She is now a student at the City University of New York’s Hostos Community College studying to become a maternal and infant health social worker – inspired by her own parenting journey. Carolina graduated from NFP in March 2021.
N’Kenge Howard, 37, of Dallas, Texas entered into the WiNGS Dallas Nurse-Family Partnership in May 2019. She was 24 weeks pregnant and in premature labor with her daughter. She was unprepared and scared since she lost her son during a premature birth four years earlier – also born at 24 weeks. Her NFP nurse calmed and comforted N’Kenge over the phone as she was worried about the health of her premature daughter who was admitted to the newborn intensive care unit. Afterward, her NFP nurse provided counseling and education with love, kindness and compassion which gave her the tools she needed to become a more confident parent. N’Kenge now holds an associate degree with high honors in liberal arts and science and communications from Sinclair Community College in Ohio. Her toddler now signs and responds to over 30 American Sign Language (ASL) signs. She enjoys spending time with her daughter and her 6-month-old son. N’Kenge graduated from NFP in July 2021.
Camille McCrorey, 32, of Spartanburg, South Carolina found out she was pregnant while attending her third year of nursing school at University of South Carolina Upstate. During a routine visit to her local health department, she found the Spartanburg Regional Hospital Nurse-Family Partnership and enrolled for support and guidance for her expectant daughter. Over the following two years, Camille’s NFP nurse provided trusted information and helpful resources to prepare her for motherhood, helped her find an accelerated nursing program nearby so she could finish school and helped locate affordable housing. Camille completed her education as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and registered nurse (RN) and now works as a staff nurse on a local COVID unit. She is planning to begin an RN to Bachelor of Science of Nursing (BSN) program this year. Her child now is a thriving middle schooler and an amazing role model to her younger sister. Camille graduated from NFP in April 2012.
Jennifer Reynolds, 29, of Eugene, Oregon started receiving educational resources from her NFP nurse when she was four months pregnant with her son. She found Lane County Nurse-Family Partnership through her local WIC program and enrolled to build confidence in becoming a new parent and assure a healthy start for her son. When her son turned two, Jennifer attended community college and proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Science in psychology. She now is a full time lead pharmacy technician in her hometown while her son is exceling in kindergarten. Jennifer graduated from NFP in July 2018.
Jessica Thiel, 34, of Cleveland, Ohio was introduced to MetroHealth Nurse-Family Partnership by her doctor at her first prenatal appointment. Her NFP nurse comforted her through pregnancy and provided additional encouragement as she was going through her pregnancy alone. After her son was born, her NFP nurse preformed regular health screenings which resulted in findings of developmental delays. Jessica credits her NFP nurse for these findings as they were previously overlooked by the physician at her son’s wellness checks. Jessica’s NFP nurse made the process of beginning intervention services early on in his development easy for her. Her nurse even shared free beneficial resources like signing up for a book delivery program and children’s museum access. Jessica graduated from NFP in June 2021.
Alondra Zepeda Santillan, 24, of Modesto, California met her partner in 2015 and they became first-time parents in 2019. During her pregnancy, Alondra and her partner were introduced to the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency Nurse-Family Partnership which improved their relationship and gave them the tools they needed to maintain a healthy environment for their son’s arrival. Alondra’s NFP nurse provided her with resources to heal from past personal trauma and connected her with a therapist. Because of her nurse’s positive influence, she was able to overcome many hurdles that had previously closed off opportunities in her life. Alondra found a passion for teaching and is a tutor and community advocate. Alondra graduated from NFP in September 2021.
The Parent Ambassadors began their work in February by attending a virtual training session to strengthen and grow their advocacy skills. The group is prepared to embark on sharing their stories as advocates on behalf of Nurse-Family Partnership. To track their progress and learn more about the Parent Ambassadors, visit our website.