• Erica Tipton

    Mentor Spotlight: Erica

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    Over two years.

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    I am fortunate to have a strong and compassionate support system in my friends and family. I think this, maybe more than anything, shapes a woman’s experience as a new mom. It is such a challenging and emotional transition. Feeling that your experience is valid and  that your voice is heard and met with empathy is so powerful for new moms. I love that NurturePA has found a method (mom-to-mom mentoring) to provide this to new moms in a way (text message) that fits into  their busy lives. I love that I can be a part of that.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I love that even with two small and busy little boys at home, I can find time to volunteer with an organization that I think is so important to our community. If I can utilize my own parenting experiences, both the highs and the lows, to help another mom, even in a small way, it feels really good.

    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’ve been mentoring one of “my moms” for over two years! We have such a nice rapport and I truly feel like we’re sharing our real and honest experiences in motherhood with each other. Her gratitude makes me feel that our texts have been a positive support in her life.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself,
    Before I became a mother, I was a high school English teacher. Now, I’m a stay-at-home mom to two energetic and endearing little boys, 4.5 years old and 1.5 years old. They are incredibly funny and incredibly exhausting. When I have time to myself, I enjoy baking, gardening, roaming around Target, trying new restaurants in the city, and spending time with my friends and family.

  • Mary

    Mentor Spotlight: Mary

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    Since October 2016

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    While there are heaps of online resources to help new parents, the heart of NurturePA is the mentor/mentee relationship.  Having a relationship with new moms is crucial to supporting them, and it makes the text-based platform come alive.  It’s the perfect blend of new-age technology and old-fashioned personal connection!

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I am a child development geek, so I am passionate about sharing the treasure trove of NurturePA’s great developmental information and activities with my mentees.  I believe that understanding your child’s development is empowering, and I love being able to share that rich material with new moms.

    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 love it whenever a mom asks a question or finds something useful.  Once a mom was very worried about her baby’s eyesight, and she reached out to me for help.  Mostly I just listened and supported her with a caring presence, but it felt like we helped her to feel less alone with her concerns until a doctor could evaluate them.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself,
    I have long been a student of child development, and I have worked and played with babies and young children whenever I had a chance.  I grew up in Meadville, PA and went to Bucknell University and Penn State University.  After earning my Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, I worked a couple of years as a caseworker for Children & Youth Services (Lehigh County, PA).   Then, I spent 16 wonderful years “employed” as a Stay-at-Home mother with my 4 children (now ages 19, 23, 26, & 29) in Pittsburgh.  For the past 13 years, I’ve had the pleasure of being the Director of Shadyside Presbyterian Church Nursery School, where I’ve been privileged to work with an amazing staff, delightful children, and wonderful families.  Being a NurturePA mentor has given me a new and challenging way in which I can share my skills and contribute to the wellbeing of mothers and babies.  Thanks for the opportunity!

     

    Pictured Above
    Mary (center right) with her husband (far right) and their four children (from left to right), Matthew, Erin, Meg, and Daniel.

  • LaurenJ

    Mentor Spotlight: Lauren

    LaurenJ

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    A little over two years!

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    Becoming a new mom can be a very isolating time for some women and NurturePA helps to take away that sense of seclusion.  During one of the most vulnerable times of parenthood, the program allows a new mother to connect with someone who has been in her shoes, all without ever having to leave her home.  Since NurturePA is a text based program, there is also a sense of anonymity that allows moms to be more open, to ask the questions that they may be hesitant to ask in a face to face interaction, to share not only the joys but also the struggles of this wild and crazy ride.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I am lucky to have so much support in my life and I love that NurturePA allows me to give back in some small way, from the comfort of my own home and as my schedule permits.  I simply love connecting with others moms – whether it is sharing in the joy of a new milestone, commiserating about sleep struggles, or offering ideas and resources for any number of issues that may come up as a parent to a young child.

    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 is one mom that I feel I have made a connection with, even though she responds to my texts intermittently.  One time, after not hearing from her for awhile, she responded to my message and voiced concern that her son was not saying “mama” to get her attention.  She later shared that she was worried she wasn’t doing enough for her son.  I offered some strategies to encourage her son to better communicate, but also assured her that the fact that she was worried about not doing enough meant that she most certainly WAS doing enough, and that really seemed to put her at ease.  Sometimes moms need a little encouragement, too.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself,
    Before becoming a mom, I worked at The Children’s Institute as a feeding and behavior specialist.  I now stay at home with my three boys – ages 9, 7, and 4 – and they keep life interesting, to say the least!  I enjoy taking trips with my family, getting outside and being active, enjoying all that Pittsburgh has to offer, and hanging out with fellow moms.

  • katy rank lev

    Mentor Spotlight: Katy

    katy rank lev

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

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    I love the idea of a voice speaking to moms, just a small voice reassuring them that they’re doing great. Thinking back to the early days of motherhood, when not many of my friends had babies yet, I could have really benefited from another mom just consistently checking in and telling me my bond with my baby was special. I love that this program is like an extra hug for moms, with a side serving of information and connection to resources where needed.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I really find it fulfilling to give back. I’ve received so much kindness from other moms and it feels nice to just share encouragement. Parenting small people is tremendously difficult. If I can be of some small help, that feels really good.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    One of my moms was really struggling to afford diapers for her baby. I was able to speak with someone from the United Way’s 211 call center to identify diaper banks throughout the region and really connect this mom with a vital resource she needed right away.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself,
    I work as a freelance writer and I have 3 sons under 7, so most of my energy goes toward the gritty work of parenting very young children. I led our local chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network for many years, served on the board of directors at the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library, and became a peer breastfeeding counselor with Breastfeeding USA. All of those organizations were a great help to me throughout my motherhood experience! My youngest son starts preschool this fall, so I plan to celebrate that milestone by climbing a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado. If I have any breath left at the top, I’m going to dance for joy.

  • Ena photo

    Mentor Spotlight: Ena

    Ena photo

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    Since January 2016.

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    We get to help a wide variety of moms in an affordable and easy, yet high-impact way.  Texting is personal and familiar, but doesn’t seem intrusive.  It gives moms a safe and quick way to reach out for support.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I love hearing about milestones – like the baby’s first food or words or steps.  I also like being able to provide my moms with articles or activities to do with their babies.  Because I’ve been there before – having two kids myself – I know I would’ve appreciated getting the same types of articles and activities.

    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 have one mom who’s infant ended up with significant health issues and everything about what the mom expected life was going to be like dramatically changed.  I wasn’t sure if my check ins and words of encouragement and support were working, as she was intermittently responsive.  But then after about 9 months of texting, she told me how I made a big difference in what turned out to be a very difficult year for her.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself (could be about your career, your family or your hobbies and interests).
    I’m an attorney and work part-time.  My husband is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh.  We have two kids – a daughter who is almost 6 and a son who is 3.  I love to read, but don’t get a ton of time for that anymore.  Otherwise, I love spending time with family and friends in whatever way possible!

  • Kelli Maxwell

    Mentor Spotlight: Kelli

    Kelli MaxwellHow long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    6 months

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    New moms are pulled in a million different directions and relationships often suffer just when new moms need support the most. The nurture program allows them to get support and advice on their schedule when it’s convenient for them to reach out. Rather than worry about what they’ve seen online or wonder about what they haven’t had time to research, moms are able to chat with someone who has been there and has their best interest at heart.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I think the connection I’ve formed with some of “my moms” is the best part. It is incredibly rewarding to help them think through an issue, celebrate their successes, or simply listen to them describe how cute their baby is. My participation as a volunteer mentor has also allowed me not only the opportunity to give back, but the opportunity to reflect on my own parenting and how I might provide the most nurturing home for my daughters.

    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’ve been working with a second-time mom who bottle-fed her first son but was interested in breast-feeding her second. She didn’t think it would last too long, but we’ve been chatting and thinking through all of the challenges. She intended to stop at 6 weeks, then 3 months, then 6 months…. and just recently decided to keep going! She thanked me for the support and said she would have stopped long ago without it; I was grinning for days.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I am a mom to three incredible, inquisitive, high-spirited little girls, ages 6, 4, and 18 months and also juggle a full-time job as a dean at a local college. In my free time (what very little I have!), I enjoy listening to audio books, playing board games, and dreaming up my next travel adventure.

  • Kelly Conaway

    Mentor Spotlight: Kelly

    Kelly Conaway

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    I’ve been a mentor since April 2015. The very first moms I supported in NurturePA now have toddlers!

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    The program addresses an important need in a simple way that is both impactful and convenient. It is one-of-a-kind and innovative, and the people behind it are incredibly knowledgeable about the significance of a child’s earliest years.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I was first drawn to NurturePA because because mentorship had been a positive experience for me in the past. My little sister from Big Brother Big Sisters is all grown up and is still very dear to me. When I became a parent, I struggled to find meaningful opportunities to volunteer while staying at home with my children.  With NurturePA, mentoring can happen from any location on a flexible schedule. My favorite part of being a mentor is the genuine connection with new parents that develops over time by offering encouragement and information as their children grow. I especially enjoy sharing early literacy ideas. I also love learning about their baby’s milestones and discovering commonalities. Parenting is rewarding, difficult, humbling, and unifying!

    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 family that I support was going through a challenging time, so the mother asked for suggestions that could help her child understand it. In addition to sharing some local resources, I suggested a picture book to read that could help her child feel less frightened by the difficult situation.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I am a teacher and school librarian and enjoyed the ten years I spent in public schools. After my second child was born, I decided to step away from teaching to take care of my family full time. My husband and I have three children who are 4, 7, and 9.  As a family, we are often at soccer, baseball, gymnastics, and other activities, but we probably have the most fun when we are exploring our area and its amazing museums and resources. When time allows, I like to read, travel, and help in my children’s schools.

  • mentor-photo_lisa

    Mentor Spotlight: Lisa

    mentor-photo_lisa

     

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    Since May 2015

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    I feel lucky to have had a lot of support from local moms’ groups and friends and family after both of my sons were born. NurturePA is an easy way for me to pay my fortunes forward.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    I love that I can use technology to help new moms feel informed and maybe connected even though I have such little free time as a mom of two young boys.

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    Several of my moms seem genuinely appreciative and interested in the links I send them, especially ones with information about developmental milestones and tips on sleeping and feeding their babies.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    Before having children I worked as a physical therapist and yoga teacher. My capstone project for my doctorate degree was on prevention and wellness for postpartum women. I am excited to start teaching yoga again in January!

     

  • mentor-photo_emily

    Mentor Spotlight: Emily

     

    mentor-photo_emily

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    Since March 2013.

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    To me, the program is unique for several reasons. One, I think new moms appreciate having someone to confide in or ask questions who is not their significant other, mother, friend, pediatrician, etc. The anonymity gives them a completely safe space to discuss topics that perhaps they may not feel comfortable doing so otherwise. I also think the text-based platform is convenient for these women (as well as for mentors) who are already incredibly busy; it’s feels more intimate that email, yet is still an easy way to stay connected. Finally, the NuturePA managers have done a wonderful job creating a sense of community among the mentors through things such as the Round Tables, Facebook page, and community engagement (like participating together in two local walks this past year to raise awareness of maternal mental illnesses).

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    My favorite part is feeling like I have in some way helped another mom, even if it is in a very small way. I vividly remember the feeling (or feelings!) of being a new mom, and I undoubtedly relied on family and friends for their support and advice. I feel flattered that these women, who haven’t even met me in person, trust me in talking about such a personal facet of their life. And I love when they, unprompted, share something exciting with me, like a new milestone their baby just reached!

    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.
    One of my moms had a tough year. I pointed her toward several local resources, which she seemed appreciative of, but I felt like I simply was most helpful in providing her with an outlet to vent about her fears and frustrations. I tried to give her as much encouragement as I could– I was just so impressed with how strong she seemed and how much she fought to protect her children.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I’m a stay at home mom to a just-turned one year old girl and three and a half year old boy. They are very busy little toddlers and keep me on my toes!! It’s hard to fit in hobbies, but when I have time I like to cook, decorate, and spend time with my extended family. I also love karaoke, board games, and dancing at weddings. Prior to kids, I did consulting work and then ran a small craft-beer related business, but I’m still figuring out what I want to do when I grow up. 🙂

     

  • carey-and-sam

    Mentor Spotlight: Carey

    careyp

    How long have you been a NurturePA mentor?
    Two years.

    What makes the nurture® program so special?
    The program is supported by real moms, many of them early childhood specialists, who are always available to answer questions and lend support that is specifically tailored for each mom.

    What is your favorite part about being a NurturePA mentor?
    It’s rare to find a volunteer opportunity that is so convenient. I can participate from home on my own time. And it’s really fun and rewarding! I love chatting with my moms; they are all so different. Some moms need guidance and resources, some desperately need to be listened to, and some just enjoy talking about their kid with another mom.
    Tell us about a time when you feel like you made a positive impact on the life of a mom and her new baby.

    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 check in with my “moms” about once a week. Some of them respond often and some remain pretty quiet. One day, one of my “moms” who was previously quiet contacted me. She told me that she was dealing with some personal problems and that my regular text messages meant so much to her because she knew that someone cared and supported her. Even though she wasn’t responding, it did not mean she wasn’t listening.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I am a computer scientist turned chef turned stay-at-home mother of two boys. In my “free time,” I enjoy gardening, cooking, photography, playing the piano, organizing my life, and keeping in touch with my friends.