• Mentor Spotlight: Amanda

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    I started mentoring in June 2018. It has already been such an amazing and rewarding experience.

    What makes the Nurture® Program so special?
    As a full time stay at home mom, it has been hard to find volunteer opportunities that fit within my children’s schedule. I love that I can send a text regardless of where I am. Additionally, the NurturePA mentor community is so amazing that I never feel like I don’t have a place to turn to get an answer if I don’t know it myself. In these few short months that I’ve been part of NurturePA, I’ve learned so much about the Pittsburgh community that I wish I had known myself when my children were babies. I love being able to pass that information along to the mothers I mentor.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    Becoming a new mother can often lead to feelings of isolation and lack of support, especially when a mother has no idea where to turn to find information. My own experiences with challenges to motherhood have sometimes led me on a wild goose chase to hunt down knowledge and resources that were not always easily identifiable or readily available to me. At NurturePA, the mentorship community is working hard to provide a vast array of resources for new moms, which they might otherwise not know are available to them. It has been amazing to be a part of this organization and feel like I’m helping and supporting other mothers as they navigate the challenges of new motherhood.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    I had the opportunity to see the enormously positive benefit of NurturePA very early on in my mentor journey. The very first mother I was assigned to support had a baby who ended up hospitalized due to some feeding difficulty. After numerous tests, it was determined that the baby needed to have surgery. I feel so grateful to have been given the chance to communicate with her during this time in order to provide her with resources to assist not only her baby, but also herself. I can’t imagine what a scary time that must have been for her and her family and I hope that having someone at NurturePA to turn to was able to ease a little bit of their anxiety.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I’m currently taking a break from my career in the counseling profession to stay home and care for my 3 year old and 5 year old (and 11 year old fur puppy). When I’m not busy chasing them around or exploring the Zoo or any of the numerous Pittsburgh area museums, I am training for my 4th half marathon or repainting some room in my house. As a Wisconsin native and Pittsburgh transplant, you can find me parked in front of the TV on most Saturdays during the fall as I cheer on my alma mater, the Wisconsin Badgers.

  • Mentor Spotlight: Dana

     

    danaHow long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    One year!

    What makes the Nurture® Program so special?
    At NuturePA, we connect with moms before they may even be aware of their needs, advice-wise, emotionally, etc. This offers a unique opportunity for us, as mentors, to establish trust and openness from the very beginning. Thus, leading to open lines of communication and the ability to give adequate support in the future.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I love the ability to connect with mamas from all different backgrounds. I had one experience, but all my moms had their own, unique experiences, too. It’s a treat to share what I’ve learned on my parenting journey, and I feel privileged to hear about other mom’s journeys.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    I’m currently working with a mama who struggles with depression. I believe the condition was preexisting, however, the disease has intensified since she’s given birth. I also dealt with something similar, and was easily able to identify with how she was feeling. With NurturePA’s bank of resources, and my personal experience, I feel like the mama and I were able to connect on a more intimate level. I certainly can’t “fix” her problem, but I let her know I’m here for her, understand what she’s going through, and that she can count on me to be there for her when needed. It comforts me to think this mama knows she’s got at least one person who’s firmly in her corner.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I married my partner of three years in June, and we parent a lively little 2nd grader. Aside from my volunteer work with NuturePA, I work as a bookkeeper and enjoy all things outdoors. I’m an avid runner and hiker. My family and I enjoy travel and exploring new territories together. We love the city of Pittsburgh and are happy to share its wonders with everyone and anyone.

  • Mentor Spotlight: Amy

    Amy M

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    I’ve been a mentor for about three years.

    What makes the Nurture® Program so special?
    NurturePA is special to me because it connects new mothers to current mothers for mentoring. Having a new baby can be unsettling for a new mother and having access to a current mom who has some resources to provide is comforting.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    It’s great to positively impact a new mom in various ways such as aiding with feeding tips, relaying community activities, and discussing developmental milestones.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    A baby has an intense impact on a mother’s life and once thrown into motherhood it’s nice to have a mentor to discuss joys, concerns and questions. I love letting mothers know they are doing a wonderful job and encouraging them to keep up the good work. (Motherhood is usually thankless as we know 😄)

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    Employed as a co-manager for senior living, I enjoy helping senior citizens find and maintain affordable and quality living. For fun I enjoy hiking, bicycling, board games and cards, and most of all spending time with family and friends.

  • NurturePA heart

    A Peek Inside the Nurture Program

    At NurturePA, our volunteer mentors support moms during the first three years of her baby’s life — all through an innovative text messaging program.

    Volunteer mentors use our custom developed software to share parenting information, make referrals to community resources, and, perhaps most importantly, build relationships during a critical time in the life of a mom and her baby.

    Here’s a peek at an activity a volunteer mentor may share with a mom.

    Activity: Making Choices at the Grocery Store

    Taking your toddler to the grocery store can be very educational! There are so many things to see and new words to learn! You can also use the time at the store to get your toddler involved with what foods you choose to buy. Choice making is a good developmental skill for your toddler to learn. Once he understands that he gets to pick one of the two options, you can use this strategy in many other situations throughout his day. Giving your toddler a “say” in what you buy at the grocery store may help you to know which foods he is really interested in and how to increase the chances of him eating the food you give him during mealtimes.

    How should this be done?

    • Go to the food item choices that you are giving to your child so that he can see what he is choosing from! He will not be able to only hear the words to make his choice at this stage of his development – he needs to see them, too!
    • Hold the items in front of him but far enough away from each other so that when he points to what he wants, it is clear which food he is choosing over the other. (For example: Hold an apple in one hand with your arm extended to the left and bananas in your right hand with that arm extended to the right. After he sees both food items, watch him to see which one he reaches for.)
    • Always use the names of the food items when you are asking your toddler which food he would like to buy. (Do not just ask “what do you want buy?” but rather, “do you want to buy apples or bananas?” This will help him label the foods that he wants/eats!)
    • Once he makes his choice, praise him for being such a good helper! (“Oh you want bananas! That is a great choice. Let’s put the bananas in our cart.”)
    • Only give food options that you are comfortable with him eating and that you are able to buy. This keeps you somewhat in control of what is going into your shopping cart!
    • Give him options that are in the same category. For example: apples and bananas are both fruits and both very good for your toddler to eat. Do not give your child the choice of apples or cookies. You do not want to give the idea that your toddler can choose a sugary snack over a healthy fruit! Once you are in the cookie or snack isle, you can give your toddler the option of two different snacks that you do not mind your toddler having as a treat – but again, then he will be making a decision in the same category and fruit will still be a selection that he has already made!
    • Carrying some food with you from home in your bag may be helpful to give to your toddler if he becomes too tempted with what he sees in the store! However, try not to take him grocery shopping when he is really hungry. That could be a recipe for disaster!
    • When you are leaving the store, praise your toddler for being Mommy/Daddy’s big helper!

     

  • Mentor Spotlight: Tracey

    Tracey

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    I’ve been a mentor since May 2016.

    What makes the Nurture® Program so special?
    We get to help moms connect with their babies and let them know they are not alone.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    That feeling when you get a heartfelt thank you from the mom that you helped through a rough time.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    Whenever I let a mom know that she is not alone when she has a particular issue she is facing, I feel that I am making a positive impact on both the mom and her baby.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I am a licensed massage therapist who loves to dance tap and ball room. I have a four year old son who likes to help me with my crafts. I am at my best when I am helping people.

  • Mentor Spotlight: Laura A.

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    Hi, I’m Laura. I’ve been a NurturePA mentor since the spring of 2017.

    What makes the Nurture® Program so special?
    NurturePA is special because new moms have someone to listen to concerns and offer guidance- no need to feel alone as a new mom who may be overwhelmed! The mentors are there to support moms by offering a friendly hello, helping them find resources in the community to support their baby, guiding them through their baby’s milestones, acknowleding concerns and helping to find answers. The text based program helps to pass along information conveniently.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    My favorite part of being a NurturePA mentor is hearing from moms! I love hearing about a milestone a baby has reached, or a proud mom moment.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    Our libraries are a great resource. They are more than a place to pick up a book or rent a video. They help build community by offering age appropriate classes to young and old. They are a place for parents and children to interact with each other. And of course resources like books, puppets, music to take home and use to interact with babies. I feel I’ve made an important impact on the life of a baby by providing library resources for the mom. The new mom discovered there are programs she can take her baby to at a very young age! Mom and baby can attend an age appropriate class and I’m sure the mom and baby will continue to use the library as a resource as the baby grows and the needs change.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    Before becoming a mom to my oldest I was a classroom teacher. Life with three school aged children keeps me busy! While not spending time with them I enjoy reading, knitting and walking.

  • Erin M and her children

    Mentor Spotlight: Erin M.

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    I have been a mentor for a little over three years.

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    There are so many ways NurturePA is special and unique. The fact that we are a text based program makes it easy for both mentors and moms to participate and communicate regularly and if need be immediately. I have also found that moms are very willing to open up and get real over texts. The program creates an informal and safe environment that new moms really appreciate. We are filling a need here that is often overlooked.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    As a woman I love helping other woman. New motherhood is beautiful, but raw and brutal at times. There is power in connection. Whether I’m sending important developmental information, a link to a resource I know could really benefit a mom that I’m working with or just sending a virtual hug or handhold I know I’m making a difference and lifting someone up who needs it. This is a program that I would have greatly benefited from after the births of each of my children. And as a busy mom with very little free time this is a program that I can participate in fully without having to get a babysitter or magically try to add more hours to the day. Humans need connections and relationships and both of those things are the real heart of our program. I am honored to be a part of building strong families in a city that I really love.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    There are two moments that really stand out to me…
    I had a mom who experienced postpartum depression and suicidal thoughts during my first year as a mentor. She felt safe enough to share her experience and thoughts with me and I was able to be part of helping her get the help she needed. She let me in and I was able to walk with her through a very difficult time in her life. And in the end it was such an awesome success story for this mother. We know that ppd is highly treatable with he right kind of help.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I live in Nashville with my husband and our three young children. Most of my days are spent trying to keep up with an incredibly energetic three year old, cleaning up after an 8 year old budding engineer who is currently building a skyscraper from the contents of our recycling bin, and learning the ins and outs of middle school while driving around an extremely social 11 year old. I enjoy reading, cooking and spending time outside (especially in my teeny tiny garden). I love being with family and friends, and volunteering at my kid’s schools.

  • NurturePA Highmark Walk

    Support NurturePA through the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

    The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is just around the corner! Check out our page: http://hcf.convio.net/nurturepa

    The Highmark Walk is an exciting opportunity to both raise awareness and funding to support our mission to support parents and nurture children.

    The walk will take place the morning of Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Stage AE.

    • 7:45 am — Check-in and registration
    • 9:00 am — 5K walk begins
    • 9:15 am — 1 mile walk begins

    We hope you’ll get involved and help support our mission. Here are a few ways you can do that…

    Register to walk in support of NurturePA.

    With a $30 donation, you will get a Highmark Walk t-shirt on May 12. 

    Make an impact with a donation.

    Highmark has generously covered all expenses associated with the walk, which means 100% of the money we raise will directly benefit the nurture program!

    Spread the word.

    Please feel free to contact Kara Droney at kdroney@nurturepa.org if you have any questions.

    We hope you will consider joining us in this exciting new venture!

    NurturePA Highmark Walk

  • Mentor Spotlight: Abby

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    About six months.

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    As soon as I heard about the Nurture PA program, my first thought was how helpful it would have been for me when my oldest was born. Becoming a parent is such a milestone and one of those experiences that really cannot be fully understood until it happens to you — especially because it changes day by day and sometimes minute by minute! I love that this program supports moms wherever they are in their journey, and in such an accessible way. Those connections are such a vital piece of uplifting and celebrating families, both virtually and in our communities.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I love being in a place in my parenthood journey where I have the mental and emotional space to reach out to other moms. As a new parent myself, I was exceptionally overwhelmed and isolated, but I kept it all on the inside, as many of us do. I love knowing that when I send a quick message to my moms they can feel that connection. It takes a village!

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    My goal is always to make new parents feel heard and seen. Everyone has different experiences/priorities/needs, so being able to listen to new moms, validate their feelings and give them space to unload if they need to is the best thing I can do.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself,
    I am a native Pittsburgher who boomeranged back after stops in several cities over the last 15 years or so. My husband and I are thrilled to be raising our kids — an almost 5 and almost 3 year old — in the city. I recently taught myself how to crochet, and am really enjoying exploring my new creative side!