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Maria was young, pregnant, and having grown up in foster homes, had no family around to support her. Through the unwavering support of Annette Maldonado, a nurse in VNSNY's Nurse-Family Partnership program, Maria has learned how to be an attentive and caring mom, and her baby girl is thriving.
“Growing up, I really wanted a family,” says Maria, who bounced from foster home to foster home as a young girl. “I didn’t have a mom, and I really want to give my daughter what I didn’t have.”
“What she gives her is a lot of love,” says Annette.
Introduced in May as part of a remarkably successful national program, the Nurse-Family Partnership offers intensive nursing assistance, guidance and support to low-income, first-time mothers, like Maria, who live in the South Bronx. The thirty-year-old national program has a history of documented success at improving pregnancy outcomes and enhancing the long-term health and well-being of young, impoverished mothers and their children.
“I feel good that Annette is in my life,” says Maria. “A lot of girls like me don’t get this kind of opportunity. Annette just makes me so happy.” During Annette’s bimonthly visits, she weighs baby and mother, checks vitals, listens to stories about Violet’s latest milestones and discusses nutrition, as well as fields any concerns Maria might have about her baby or being a mom.
“The goal of the program,” says Associate Director M.J. Murphy, “is to create an environment where the child is appreciated and valued, learning and growing from day one.”
That nurturing environment is alive and well in the South Bronx apartment Maria shares with Violet’s father, Tito, as Maria holds, feeds and dotes on Violet until she drifts off to sleep.
“What stage is she in?” M.J. asks. Maria peeks into Violet’s bassinet and answers, “She’s in quiet sleep.” M.J.: “What could you do now?” Maria: “I could cook, I could clean.” M.J.: “How about when she’s alert?” Maria: “I could talk to her or sing to her.” And what do mother and daughter talk about? “I tell her that she’s beautiful,” says Maria, “and that she’s my little angel, my miracle baby.”
“She’s a natural,” says Annette. “She has that motherly instinct. I can already imagine Violet years from now, running, talking, sharing all her little ideas—and bringing a lot of joy to Maria.”
For more information about the Nurse-Family Partnership program, please call us at 1-800-675-0931, or click here.