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Raysel’s Story

Charitable Care Nurse family partnershipNurse-Family Partnership (NFP)

When Raysel* got pregnant at age 18, she had not yet finished high school. “Devastated,” she abandoned her dream of going into military service. Two years and three children later (her first child was followed by twins), Raysel has a new dream and is well on her way to making it a reality. She is pursuing a nursing degree, and hopes to become “that person in a young mother’s life: an ear, a shoulder to cry on, an inspiration.”

“That person” in Raysel’s life is Denisse Castellanos, a VNSNY Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) nurse. Denisse has been working closely with Raysel since her first pregnancy and will continue until her oldest child, now 15 months, turns two. In regular visits to Raysel’s Bronx apartment, the two discuss infant nutrition and safety, child development, and Raysel’s educational plans, which include getting her GED and then heading to Bronx Community College. “I can’t imagine where I’d be without Denisse,” says Raysel. “She’s that person in my life who listens to everything, no judgment, and helps me come up with solutions.”

“From the beginning, Raysel had a million questions,” adds Denisse. “I like the fact that I can help young mothers with such a major life change, when they feel they’ve lost control and don’t know where to turn.” Lately, Denisse is helping Raysel navigate the two most pressing issues in her life: time management as a full-time student and mother of three, and toddler tantrums. (“Stay cool and communicate with him,” Raysel notes. “It works.”)

The proud owner of a 3.6 GPA, Raysel will begin Lehman College’s nursing program in the fall. She sees herself going into pediatrics, obstetrics, or even the NFP. “Denisse is such a huge inspiration to me,” she says. “I hope I can be that for another young mother.”

* The patient’s name has been changed for privacy.

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