Help Make Our Moms Successful

06-13-2017


Rachel felt absolutely hopeless. Her husband lost his job and her family was facing eviction. To add to the tough situation, Rachel had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy. She needed a safe and stable house to raise her child and for her family to call home. United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Making Our Moms Successful (MOMS) program supported Rachel during this difficult time by providing the necessary resources and services for her to be the best mother she could—all while navigating life’s many challenges. She was provided a car seat, diapers, housing assistance, and free therapy sessions to process her situation in a healthy and productive manner. Rachel stated that the MOMS program was a “miracle” during one of the toughest times in her life.

The single best sign of a thriving community is that the children are well. Child well-being starts with effective prenatal care. The lack of effective prenatal care results in poor birth outcomes; low birth weight, premature birth, and a lifetime of costly health challenges for both babies and their mothers. This is especially true in Clayton County, GA, where the average low birth weight rate for the past 4 years has been 11.3% – some of the highest rates in Georgia. United Way and the Clayton County Board of Health partnered to implement MOMS to focus on improving the birth outcomes of women by making perinatal health resources available to mothers at home and employing trained home visitors to guide women through early motherhood. Using evidence-based curricula, home visitors establish bonds with young families, assess their living environment and teach young mothers valuable parenting skills. MOMS provides counseling, education, referrals, screenings and comprehensive prenatal services for women experiencing high risk pregnancies. In FY2015, the MOMS program served 117 participants, 95% reporting babies with a healthy weight (> 5.5 lbs.). In 2016 that number increased to 100% of babies born at healthy weight. As an additional service, United Way has been able to partner with local housing assistance programs to fund referrals so that pregnant, expectant, and new mothers are able to access safe, stable, and affordable housing if they are identified as being in danger of homelessness.

The MOMS program has been an ongoing initiative and partnership between The United Way of Greater Atlanta and the Clayton County Board of Health for several years. One of United Way’s women’s affinity groups, Women of Cole (Women of Cole), adopted MOMS as their signature program in 2016. In an effort to support a MOMS participant’s new and growing non-profit, WOC hosted numerous Pack the Purse parties in early 2017. During these events, hundreds of women came together to pack hundreds of purses with necessary toiletries and feminine hygiene products so that mothers in local homeless shelters would have a new or gently used purse and necessary items to make it through a hard situation. In addition, WOC continue to host fundraisers and events that highlight and emphasize the need to continue supporting the resources and services provided through MOMS. Currently, WOC are hosting a diaper drive in support of stocking the Clayton County Board of Health diaper closet. We are hoping to purchase over 3,000 diapers for pregnant and new mothers in the MOMS program. To support Women of Cole’s M.O.M.S. Diaper Drive starting May 25 on Amazon Smile, click here! Make sure to select United Way of Greater Atlanta as your charity of choice to give a percentage of your purchase back to the organization.

 

Maylott Mulugetta, Health Project Coordinator