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Registration Open for New Moms 2024 Sneaker Ball!

Register today! New Moms will be celebrating over forty years of partnering with young moms and their children at our Sneaker Ball on Friday, April 12th, 2024. 

PURCHASE TICKETS

When: Friday, April 12th, 2024 from 6-10pm
Where: The Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609
What: Featuring a live and silent auction, paddle raise, New Moms presentation, live Bright Endeavors demo, and delicious food & drink.
Attire: Cocktail attire + sneakers

Please join us for a vibrant evening as we raise funds to ensure young moms can find safe and stable housing, a path to employment, and tools to develop strong parenting skills. Step into your favorite kicks and into an evening of celebrating young moms taking bold steps toward bright futures, changing their stories for generations to come!

Ticket Information

  • Individual Tickets Pricing:
    • Early Bird Plus: $200 – January 16-February 8 – use promo code “EARLY BIRD PLUS
    • Early Bird: $225 – February 9-March 15 – use promo code “EARLY BIRD
    • Regular: $250 – March 16-April 12
  • Become a Gala Ambassador: As an Ambassador, your efforts are vital to the success of the event.
    • Gala Ambassador benefits:
    • Your name is prominently listed as an Ambassador on our invitation, website, signage, and multimedia presentation screened during the event
    • 10 tickets to the Gala (valued at $3,000)
    • Insider Gala updates

PURCHASE TICKETS


     Photos from past galas:

40 Years Strong: New Moms’ FY23 Annual Report is here!

Our 40th anniversary is coming to a close. We are filled with gratitude and excitement to share the incredible impact your generosity has made possible!

Your support has been instrumental in fostering brighter futures for the families we serve. In this 2023 Annual Report, we have compiled an overview of the initiatives, projects, and success stories that have been fueled by the generosity of our community.

You will find evidence of the power of generosity, and how it can create multi-generational change. From equipping young moms to pursue thriving futures, to strengthening comprehensive programs that meet the needs of young families, your commitment to New Moms has been a driving force behind our success.

Please click here to view our report. We hope you enjoy it, and thank you for being part of this essential work!

With deepest gratitude,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D. New Moms President & CEO

Legacy Giving: Next Generation Society

Create a Lasting Legacy through New Moms’ Next Generation Society

Your support of New Moms has made an immeasurable difference in the lives of young moms and children we serve. Today we are launching the Next Generation Society, which provides an opportunity to further extend your impact and create a lasting legacy through planned giving. By including New Moms in your estate plans, you can ensure that your values and commitment to families continue to resonate for generations to come.

New Moms was tremendously honored to learn that Beth & Chris Lye made a planned gift to the organization. 

Naming New Moms as a beneficiary in your estate is a simple and powerful way to leave a legacy gift that will have a multi-generational impact. When you do this by December 31, 2023, you will be named an inaugural member of our Next Generation Society.  

If you plan to, or have already made a legacy gift to New Moms, please let us know by filling out this form or emailing? jhammond@newmoms.org so that we can personally thank you. 

Even if your gift is anonymous, we would like to include you as an inaugural member of our Next Generation Society and acknowledge the difference you’re making in our community. Together, we can change lives — now and in the future. 

JOIN THE NEXT GENERATION SOCIETY

Tax ID/EIN: 36-3265804

Thank You for Supporting Operation Santa 2022!

Since 2020, holiday celebrations have looked a little different here at New Moms. For three years now, Operation Santa has allowed New Moms’ holiday gift program to grow stronger, better support families, and involve more people, fostering the strong CONNECTION to our community that is integral to our mission and vision. This year, over 80 volunteers participated in Operation Santa, with ages ranging from 10 to mid-70s. We watched as multiple generations, as well as families and businesses, came together to surround our families with LOVE and to create lasting memories together. 

Engagement Specialist Jane Rasweiler reflects on community support for Operation Santa: “Our volunteer sign-up filled so quickly, it was unbelievable! People were really enthusiastic about coming out to support Operation Santa. I felt that when they were working with us opening boxes and packing gifts—performing an actual labor of love—they felt a true connection to their community.” 

Operation Santa experienced another record-breaking year in gift donations. This year, 2,092 gifts were donated from the registry and another 250 were dropped directly to New Moms! That’s 2,342 total gifts you generously donated — and the most we’ve ever received!

We want to sincerely thank everyone who participated in Operation Santa. Volunteers, donors, and supporters like you help champion what is most important this holiday season: love, connection, and the endless possibility of young families in our programs to create a thriving future in the new year. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Enjoy our scrapbook:

Thank You for Supporting Operation Santa 2023!

Since 2020, holiday celebrations have looked a little different here at New Moms. For four years now, Operation Santa has allowed New Moms’ holiday gift program to grow stronger, better support families, and involve more people, fostering the strong CONNECTION to our community that is integral to our mission and vision. This year, over 80 volunteers participated in Operation Santa, with ages ranging from 10 to mid-70s. We watched as multiple generations, as well as families and businesses, came together to surround our families with LOVE and to create lasting memories together. 

Operation Santa experienced another record-breaking year in gift donations. This year, we received more gifts after the registry closed, so you generously donated a total of 2,395 total gifts.

We want to sincerely thank everyone who participated in Operation Santa. Volunteers, donors, and supporters like you help champion what is most important this holiday season: love, connection, and the endless possibility of young families in our programs to create a bright future in the new year. We wish you a healthy and happy holiday season!

BONUS: This year we asked volunteers to fill out our “Operation Santa Volunteer Guestbook.” Check out some responses from our volunteers on their:

  • Favorite Operation Santa Gift for Kids & Moms
  • Favorite Holiday Movie
  • Volunteer Job for That Shift
  • Best Holiday Tradition

What We’re Grateful for at New Moms

This month, we had our staff write down what they are thankful for on a feather and add it to a turkey cutout at the Transformation Center in Chicago. As you can see—they all have many different things to express gratitude for! What are all of us at New Moms and our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, thankful for? YOU! In this time of Thanksgiving, we wanted to share with you all how thankful we are for you and your investment in the bright futures of young families! Check out this video below to hear from New Moms staff about the other specific things they’re grateful for (including you):

Because of you:

  • We hired two new onsite mental health therapists (like Grace, featured in the video above!), who will provide mental health supports to young families—a critical resource that will help build their resilience and increase well-being!
  • We provided 40,212 nights of shelter to 74 young moms and their 98 children this past year.
  • Our lobby at the Transformation Center in Chicago is overflowing with packages for Operation Santa, ensuring every young family in our programs will have a special Christmas with gifts under the tree!

Our mission could not be achieved without you. Thank you for being part of the New Moms community! We wish you a safe and blessed holiday with your loved ones.

Trick or Treating Fun at New Moms!

New Moms staff served up spooktacular fun for residents this Halloween! Moms were provided with costumes for their kiddos, and once they were all decked out, the kids toured the Transformation Center to seek out new goodies in each corner. The ghoulish gathering culminated in the cafeteria with arts and crafts, games, and a monster mash dance party! Check out pics below from the eerie event.

Happy 40th Birthday to New Moms!

On September 12, 2023, New Moms officially celebrated our 40th birthday! September 12, 1983, marks the day that New Moms became incorporated as a nonprofit. We gathered together families, staff, and friends to celebrate this momentous milestone. The event was a big hit and featured sweet treats from our employment partner, Candycopia, plus an ice cream truck; some entertainment for the kids with The Chicago Red Stars and their mascot, Supernova, face-painting, bubbles, a timeline of our history on our windows, and an unveiling of a new painting for our Transformation Center lobby from artist Angelica London, titled “Unconditional Embrace”. And of course, the celebration wouldn’t be complete without us singing Happy Birthday to New Moms!

We are so grateful for all of you being part of our mission for the last forty years, and for the future to come!

Celebrating Black Breastfeeding

August is National Breastfeeding Month, and August 25-31 is Black Breastfeeding Week. This important time celebrates the incredible strength, resilience, and bonding that comes with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nourish little ones, but it’s essential to acknowledge the unique challenges faced by Black mothers. 

For over four decades, breastfeeding rates among Black women have significantly trailed those of white women—rates among Black women are approximately half those of white women. Consequently, there is often an assumption among medical professionals that Black women don’t breastfeed, leading to a lack of education and support in this crucial aspect of maternal and infant health(1). These disparities are alarming, especially considering the profound implications they have on the health and well-being of Black infants.

The reasons behind these disparities are complex and multifaceted. They span racial and socioeconomic lines and are rooted in both structural and cultural factors. Lack of support from medical professionals, limited access to breastfeeding role models, and the historical trauma of Black women being used as wet nurses during slavery are all contributing factors (1). 

Here at New Moms, our team of doulas work to bridge this gap in breastfeeding through education, support, and access to parenting resources for our young moms. Nyehla, one of our talented doulas, chatted with her participant Jasmine about her breastfeeding journey with her son, Gadget, in celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week.

Jasmine’s journey with breastfeeding started before Gadget was born, when she faced uncertainty about the practice.

“Several of my friends tried breastfeeding but it didn’t work out for them.” Jasmine explained. “My mom tried breastfeeding me and my sister when we were little and it didn’t work out for her either. Knowing that breast milk is best for him, since he gets all the nutrients, the immune boost, and the [good gut] bacteria—I was determined to try.”

When Gadget was born, Jasmine learned to overcome the challenges by listening to her body, especially when it came to varying supply levels. 

 “The hardest part for me was the engorgement because it was like a constant pain. Even while feeding him at night, I would be spraying milk out of the other side, like almost every time. It was a lot to adapt to—how much I needed to attend to myself to make sure I was comfortable. But after a while it got easier and the engorgement went away. I got to a point where I would know what I needed to do,” Jasmine said.

After breastfeeding for several months, Jasmine is able to reflect on her journey with pride.

“I am proud that I’ve been able to keep myself healthy enough to keep up with it and that he’s getting all the nutrients that he needs. He’s growing appropriately and it’s all because of the work my body is doing.” 

As Jasmine continues on her own breastfeeding journey, she offers insight and encouragement.

“The challenges will always fade away if you give it enough time. The hardest part of doing something new is the waiting period to see if it works. You just kind of have to wait it out, like give it 3-4 weeks and if it’s really not working, do what you gotta do because your baby has to eat. But if you wanna try it, don’t be mad at yourself if it’s not working. I went through a point where my milk supply dropped and I had to start supplementing with formula. I struggled with that a little bit—feeling like I was failing because I couldn’t make enough for him. You’ve just gotta remind yourself that there’s so many factors that go into how much milk you’re producing that it’s not necessarily something that you can control or care too much about.”

If you would like to learn more about the history of Black breastfeeding, check out the article referenced above here. If you are interested in working with our doulas or attending prenatal or parenting classes, look for opportunities here! 

  1.  “The History of Black Women & Breastfeeding,” Irth, Narrative Nation, February 25, 2021, https://irthapp.com/the-history-of-black-women-breastfeeding/#:~:text=As%20slaves%2C%20Black%20women%20were,against%20their%20domineering%20slave%20masters

Become a New Moms Family Friend!

No one should parent alone. Become a Family Friend and support young moms as they lead their families into thriving futures!

When you become a Family Friend you commit to being a stable partner in the life of our families through a monthly gift. For as little as $10 a month, you can provide sustaining support to young moms and their children so they know they are not alone on their journey towards thriving futures. 

Becoming a Family Friend is Easy!

  1. Go to our donate page at newmoms.org/donate
  2. We suggest you create a donor account so you can easily update your credit card and contact information whenever you need to! If you already have a donor account just click “Sign in”
  3. Under “Choose Your Gift”, toggle the donation form to “Monthly”
  4. Choose your giving amount from the available amounts, or click “Other” for a custom amount
  5. Click “Customize Dates” if you want to be billed on a specific date of the month
  6. Click “Give”!

BECOME A FAMILY FRIEND


Family Friends play a vital role for New Moms families.

Every family needs a friend who they can rely on for the big and little things that come up in their lives. Family Friends create slack in our lives–providing support, sharing a cup of sugar, or holding a baby so mom can shower. At New Moms, we create slack so young moms can move out of crisis and work toward their goals–offering housing, job training, parent coaching, and more. Become a Family Friend of New Moms today and help to create slack for young families.

Why Become a Family Friend?

  • Have a multigenerational impact on young families at New Moms
  • Every $1 donated to New Moms has a $3.51 social return on investment
  • Provide stability for New Moms so that we remain a strong resource for young families
  • As a Family Friend, you will receive exclusive updates and stories on the impact of your contribution

Every family needs a friend who they can rely on for the big and little things that come up in their lives. Now’s your chance to be a Family Friend to young families at New Moms!

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY OF FAMILY FRIENDS


Want to Increase Your Monthly Gift? It’s simple!

  1. Go to our donate page at newmoms.org/donate*
  2. Click “Sign in” to log in to your donor account. **Don’t have a donor account? Email Lauren at lcallaghan@newmoms.org and provide the amount you want to increase your gift to–no need to proceed to the next steps
  3. If you have a donor account and are logged in, switch to the tab “Recurring Gifts”
  4. Find your recurring gift to New Moms and click “Edit”
  5. Under “Amount and Restriction,” click “Edit”
  6. Choose your new giving amount from the available amounts, or click “Other” for a custom amount
  7. Click “Save Recurring Details”!

These instructions only apply to recurring donors who give through New Moms’ online donation platform. If you give through ACH or a 3rd party, you can contact your bank or 3rd party institution to increase your donation amount.
* Exciting update: You now can give a gift through ApplePay, PayPal, or set up a direct deposit from your bank account!

Flood Relief for New Moms Families

GIVE A GIFT HERE

Create a fundraising page

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER HERE


November 13, 2023

Just over 4 months ago, New Moms’ Transformation Center incurred catastrophic damage due to flooding. We faced numerous obstacles as we worked to repair and recover, including supply chain issues, vendor availability, and slow bureaucratic processes. Without exaggeration, your support made it possible for our amazing staff and families to weather this overwhelming challenge. I am grateful to share some positive updates on the progress that has been made to date, because of your generosity:

  1. Moms and children who were residents of our Transformation Center Housing program had been temporarily moved to hotels in the suburbs while the building was unlivable. On August 13, following the restoration of electricity and fire safety panels, those families were welcomed back. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that, while the HVAC system incurred some damage, it was still able to function and provide cool air throughout the building during those hot late summer days, albeit inconsistently.
  2. The elevator in our four-story building was damaged significantly by the flooding. Elevator repairs have been slow due to supply chain issues and parts shortages. This has been a critical challenge–without a functioning elevator New Moms could not accept new housing applicants due to Chicago Housing Authority protocols. However, in the week of October 23rd, the first major phase of repairs to the elevator was completed, making the elevator fully operational. We are grateful that our residents no longer have to use the stairs, and that we are now able to welcome new residents into our Chicago housing program!
  3. Finally, the flooding destroyed all historical documents and program materials that were stored in our basement, along with New Moms’ computer server. While the physical items are lost, we are grateful to our IT partner, Network It Easy, who built a temporary backup server to hold the organization over for a short time while we move to the cloud–a project we had planned for in the near future, but accelerated our timeline due to the flood.

Our community of donors stepped up to support New Moms during this time, helping us raise just over $400,000! The cost of damages has reached just over $650,000 and continues to climb as we work towards full repair. Insurance has not yet approved our claim, and we have secured pro bono legal support to navigate this process. We anticipate that it will take a total of 12-18 months for our case to be sorted.

Thank you for coming alongside New Moms and ensuring that young families can continue to access services.


August 16, 2023

Today our families moved back home to the Transformation Center!

This morning, families were picked up from their hotels and taken to the Transformation Center. New Moms staff were ready and waiting to help them carry their belongings up to their apartments. Each family received boxes of both perishable and non-perishable food from Beyond Hunger and the Chicago Food Depository, along with a grocery store gift card, so they could restock their cabinets and fridges.

New Moms coaches will continue to support every one of our families in our Housing program to help them transition into new routines. Moving families back into the building is a big step in the process of recovering from the damages incurred by the flood.

There has been great progress made on repairs to the Transformation Center, including having electricity, a functioning HVAC system, and WiFi. But the work is not done. In addition to making the elevator operational, there are many ongoing repairs that will be addressed in the coming days and months to get the facility back to strong working order. These unexpected costs have mounted to over $800,000.

During this crisis, New Moms programs continued without interruption. Coaches from our Housing program continued to provide support to families while they were housed in hotels, and our Family Support, Job Training, and College Success programs continued to be a strong resource to young moms!

You make this possible! Your faithful and generous support continues to make New Moms a reliable resource for young moms and their children in Chicago. Thank you for partnering with New Moms so that we can work to see every family thrive!


July 26, 2023

Our staff and external contractors are still hard at work to get the Transformation Center back up and running. Here are a couple of updates on the status of the building as of today:

  • Families: Coaches continue to maintain constant communication with our families, updating them on the status of the building and making sure they are comfortable while in temporary housing at long-term hotels.
  • The building: Repairing the Transformation Center requires the coordination of many, many contractors as they work to rebuild all the systems that were impacted by the flood and fire. This includes significant electrical work as well as repairs to the elevator, HVAC system, fire protection system, and other technology. We’re grateful for contractors who are working diligently to get repairs made. Our electrician has had a crew working on the weekends since they began to speed up the repairs. Faced with the challenge of needing a 200lb part that was only available in two places in the country, our electrician drove 40 hours roundtrip to Nevada over the past weekend to pick it up so installation could continue. We are grateful for all the helping hands that are at work, getting the building ready for young families to return home.

Thank you to everyone for supporting us through this flood recovery and for your patience as we continue to rebuild.


July 20, 2023

EXCITING MATCH ANNOUNCEMENT!

We are excited to provide an update on our flood recovery fundraising efforts. Generous New Moms supporters have offered to match all donations up to $30,000. 

This means that your gift will go twice as far to help our team provide essential support for our families who have been displaced because of the effects of the flooding in our Transformation Center.

Due to the significant electrical damage, the building is still under a complete power outage. We are working diligently with contractors to make the repairs needed so our families can move back into their homes at New Moms.

We anticipate at least $100,000 of unexpected costs that will not be covered by insurance. With this generous match, your gift today will be doubled up to $30,000 and help us cover these costs. Click here to donate and double your gift today.

Creating your own fundraising page and inviting your network to donate is a powerful way to support New Moms and help fulfill this match. Click here to sign up to fundraise for New Moms.

Your support means the world to our families and staff during this very challenging time.


July 18, 2023

On Sunday, July 2nd, New Moms Transformation Center in Austin, along with much of Chicago’s West Side, experienced extreme flooding. Initial flooding in New Moms’ basement was exacerbated by an electrical fire connected to our building. ComEd and the fire department disconnected the power for the repair, which stopped power to the sump pump. We took in several inches of water which dislodged a water tank in our pump room. The tank broke away from a pipe, filling our basement with more than 6 feet of water. 

The end result was a catastrophic failure of all systems in the building. The building continues to be under a complete power outage with significant electrical damage, an inoperable elevator and HVAC system, computer servers lost, and many historical documents destroyed.

Our first, and most important concern is the well-being of the young families who live at the Transformation Center.  

Our amazing staff quickly worked to find safe and stable housing for the families living in this building. Our team is providing food and essentials, cash assistance, transportation, and ongoing coaching and support. The families that live at the Transformation Center have all experienced homelessness in the past. Ensuring they are housed and supported is critical as we work to make the building livable again.   

Our expected loss may be as high as $500,000, and we are waiting to hear what will be covered through insurance. We are anticipating at least $100,000 of unexpected costs that will not be covered by insurance. The essential support for our families has already surpassed $50,000.

We are reaching out to you, our community of support, to come around us as we wade through these flood-related challenges. We need financial & volunteer support.

GIVE A GIFT HERE

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER HERE

We will continue to send updates on our flood recovery, the impact on our families, and the support needed to ensure they are well supported. Thank you! 


Current Fundraising Totals

https://secure.qgiv.com/event/new-moms-flood-relief/widget/6555771/?etype=event&entity=1009441

Employment Partner Profile: Bartleby’s Ice Cream Cakes

New Moms connects young moms to a variety of resources during their time in our programs. One that is very important and special, is the connection we provide to potential employers. Meet Rachel Kamins. Rachel runs a successful small business and is a proud employment partner of New Moms.

A creative by trade and a lifelong ice-cream enthusiast, Rachel had an epiphany after reading a short story titled “Bartleby, the Scrivener” by Herman Melville. 

“The main character worked in an office and one day just stopped doing what his boss told him to do. He just kept saying ‘I would prefer not to’ no matter what his boss asked. When I read that I was like, oh my God, I wish I could say that! That’s how I feel too!”

After honing her skills through family birthday cakes and sweet treats for friends, Rachel took a leap of faith and founded Barleby’s Ice Cream Cakes in January of 2019. As she grew the business, she realized that she needed a kitchen assistant to keep up with orders, especially during peak seasons. As she assessed her needs, she realized she could create the work culture that she had always wanted, avoiding the bureaucratic hierarchy that she turned away from when starting her own business. 

“My mission when I started the business was to create an organization that would be different from the places where I worked and felt uncomfortable—that were very hierarchical and rules based or that didn’t want people to use their own judgment or make decisions by themselves. Places that were very confining. I want to create a workplace that’s respectful of individuals and lets them, you know, be who they are.”

She also wanted to ensure her business was a safe and welcoming place for working mothers as well, acknowledging the unique stresses and challenges of parenthood.

“I’m a mom and when I had my two kids, there were times when I really felt totally confined in the workplace. It’s like you’re supposed to pretend like you don’t have a kid when you go to work for an organization. You know, like if you’re tired, no matter what you have to show up, if your kid needs to leave daycare or school early, they tell you to figure it out. I wanted to make a place that was not like that.”

When she set out to hire an assistant, she wanted to partner with an organization that could connect her to people who could benefit from a more flexible, understanding workplace. She first encountered New Moms through a Bright Endeavors candle sale, and decided to reach out, which is how she met Shakyra.

“I talked to her on a video chat and I really liked her right away. She had a really good attitude and was very pleasant to talk to. I brought her in for some trial shifts and she was really on the ball—good at following instructions and really good at asking questions, which is super important to me. We hit it off! We like hanging out with each other and we work well together. We’ve worked together going on two years now.”

Although Shakyra was an outstanding worker at Bright Endeavors, quickly becoming a shift leader, she found job hunting challenging. 

“It was very hard for me to find a job. I had been to over fifty interviews before New Moms—I never had any experience before then. At first my communication skills weren’t as good as they are now. I didn’t know how to have a proper conversation. They (interviewers) kept asking me, what’s my major skill? And I was like, I don’t know, I never really worked in a professional setting.”

At Bartleby’s, Shakyra was given the opportunity to embrace her strengths and show off her talents. Here in her first full-time job, she is building skills and techniques that help her in all aspects of life, all with the support of her boss Rachel.

“Rachel has been very helpful through this whole process, even with everything in my personal life. We try to keep it professional, but sometimes I have a hard time managing my stress and I’ll talk to her about it and maybe she can give me a solution. She always helps me all the way around. It’s just been great.  I actually like coming here—I like my job. I don’t just do it for money. I actually like what I do.”

Both women are happy for the work being done at Bright Endeavors to help prepare young moms for the workforce. 

“From what I’ve seen, Bright Endeavors provides really amazing job skills—soft skills for sure. You may not be able to find someone who has experience in your direct line of work, but Bright Endeavors will have taught them the really important things like time management, professionalism, and communication,” Rachel said.

“Bright Endeavors was very supportive about everything, even as far as helping with clothing and transportation. They gave us great job training and helped us with interviews. They showed us how to create resumes and things like that. So all of those tips were great.” Shakyra said.

If you would like to learn more about Bright Endeavors and our job training program, go to newmoms.org/job-training. We would love to welcome more employment partners into the New Moms community, so click here if you are interested in becoming an employment partner: newmoms.org/job-training/hire-a-graduate

Space to Grow

GIVE A GIFT

Dear Friends, 

I want to tell you about the incredible work being done at New Moms to foster a community where young moms have the opportunity to build strong foundations for the lasting success of their families.

Life doesn’t stop for a young woman when she becomes a parent. She still has dreams and hopes for her life, and the life of her child. But when a young mom is stifled by poverty, it’s difficult to achieve her dreams.

At New Moms, we believe in nurturing the strength, skills, and potential of young moms to help create the conditions needed to flourish. Kiara was 19 years old when she and her infant daughter, Karsyn, were living in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment with seven family members. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she taught herself to cook to pass the time. With the encouragement of her family, she began selling her food and posting her cooking content online, which led to massive social media success. 

Kiara and her New Moms coach, Tenecainfant daughter, Karsyn, were living in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment with seven family members. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she taught herself to cook to pass the time. With the encouragement of her family, she began selling her food and posting her cooking content online, which led to massive social media success. 

Despite her dedicated effort to start her own business, and her promising talent, Kiara became homeless after the death of her father. She learned about New Moms through the staff at the homeless shelter. 

Kiara and Karsyn found a stable home at New Moms, along with a community of support who leaned into her strengths. Kiara’s New Moms coach encouraged her to enroll in culinary school. She began to grow her catering business, eventually taking on high-profile clients like Chicago Bears Wide Receiver, Darnell Mooney. With true grit, Kiara graduated culinary school and is now taking business classes at The Hatchery Chicago to develop her catering company. 

“Everything I’m doing is for Karsyn—I have to build a better life not only for me, but for her. I’ve always had a rocky relationship with my mom so I’m just trying to break that cycle.”

For 40 years, New Moms has come alongside young moms like Kiara who have audacious goals and amazing potential. We provide a stable place to live, job training and academic coaching, and family support, so that their dreams can take root and flourish. We can’t do this work without you. Your generosity helps us continue to provide life-changing support to over 400 young moms and their children each year.

As our Fiscal Year 2023 comes to an end, I want to invite you to imagine the generational impact we can make together. We need your help to raise $30,000 before June 30, 2023 so that New Moms can continue to be a strong and reliable resource for young moms and their children. Will you give a gift to help create sustainable, multigenerational change by investing in young moms?

With hope and love,


Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D. President & CEO

P.S. Click here or below to watch a video of Kiara’s story! https://player.vimeo.com/video/823535075?h=d784eccb8c

#SpaceToGrow

Honoring Black Maternal Health Week

In September 2017, one of the world’s most celebrated athletes, Serena Williams, gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Less than 24 hours later, she began to experience serious trouble breathing. She alerted her attending nurse and physician immediately, describing her symptoms in detail, including her history of pulmonary embolisms. Despite her insistence, the medical team did not believe her and proceeded with a series of unrelated tests that delayed the treatment of life-threatening blood clots in her lungs. Fortunately, Williams persisted and survived.

There were several things working in Williams’ favor during this ordeal. Ironically, at the most harrowing moments of her health crisis, her fame and wealth would not save her. What ended up being her most important life-saving tools, however, were her personal agency, an innate understanding of her own body, and her fierce advocacy for herself.

At New Moms we believe in the beauty and power of motherhood. But we also acknowledge the risks, challenges, and uncertainties of bringing life into the world.

Statistically, young Black and Brown moms, the exact demographic we serve in our programs, are three times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth complications. This is an unacceptable injustice.

In our programs, we continue to work towards improving access to quality maternal care and addressing systemic racism in our community to help ensure that all mothers have the care they need to thrive. Our coaches, doulas, and program staff trust and support young moms making critical decisions about their own health and lives. We believe moms when they share their pain and struggles and help amplify their voices to ensure they are heard in the spaces where it matters most. We have learned, through 40 years of practical experience, that when young moms refine their parenting skills, are empowered to use their voice in their own care, are in tune with their bodies, can access quality health services, and are partnered with strong health advocates, they too persist and thrive. 

In honor of young moms, particularly those most impacted by maternal health disparities, we honor Black Maternal Health Week. Initially created by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), Black Maternal Health Week was established to raise awareness of the diminished maternal health outcomes of Black and Brown women in America. On April 10th, 2023, President Biden formally proclaimed April 11th through April 17th National Black Maternal Health Week.

We are excited to celebrate the autonomy, intuition, joy, and advocacy of young moms not only in Chicago but nationwide. For more information on Black Maternal Health Week, please visit blackmamasmatter.org

– Blog written by Chief Operating Officer, Pamela Bozeman

Q&A with New Moms Doula Nyhela Irsheid

World Doula Week – a time to celebrate, uplift, and create awareness of doula work all over the world – is from March 22nd through March 28th this year. Here at New Moms, we are proud to have four doulas on staff who are here to provide physiological, social, emotional, and psychological support to families in our programs before birth, during labor and delivery, and throughout the postpartum period. Our doulas also facilitate prenatal support groups, breastfeeding classes, and much more. Read below for an in-depth interview with New Moms doula Nyhela Irsheid!

Tell me about yourself. What’s your background? What drew you to working as a doula and working in a support career?

I am a product of a single mother of 4 children, hot combs fired on the stove, underserved public schools, grit, grace, community care, government-assisted programs, seasoned food, and Black 90s sitcoms. Among other identities, I am a black queer community birth doula, childbirth educator, and lactation counselor currently serving families in the West Suburbs of Chicago. My academic and professional background are rooted in community health. In undergrad I studied public health, women’s studies, and Pan-African studies where I learned about health and healthcare disparities within the Black community caused by racist structures, policies, practices and norms. Because of my positionality as a Black woman, I was interested in understanding why Black babies and birthing people were dying at disproportionate rates compared to their white peers. Later, that question inspired me to explore innovative, community-based strategies to counteract this systemic and preventable community health crisis. My commitment to social justice, fascination with human physiology, and reverence for childbirth eventually led me on the path to birthwork. Many experiences in my life have led me here, actually. One of the most influential people being my mama, Ms. Sabrina a.k.a. “Deeny”. She was a death doula, although she wouldn’t use those words to describe herself. She was called on by friends and community folks to witness and care for them before their transition. She witnessed elders and people who were chronically unwell take their final transition breath, while I witness babies take their first transition breath. She taught me how to care for others. I often smile to myself reflecting on how it all came full circle. 

Those are really wonderful observations and insights. I feel like a lot of this type of work that women do is unrecognized yet so incredibly powerful, but historically was never acknowledged as work or labor.

When I explain doula or birthwork to elders, family members or anyone who isn’t familiar with the term, I point out that doulas have always existed. Before it became a paid profession, a doula was your sister, best friend, favorite aunt, grandmother, community herbalist, healers, or spiritual leaders – people who had witnessed or experienced childbirth and were called on for their wisdom, support, and guidance. Although there wasn’t an official title or if there was, they were called by different names. Birthworkers (i.e., doulas, midwives) have always existed. 

Were there any formative moments for you, when you were attending a birth or during your education? 

When I meet with families prenatally, we talk about reframing our understanding of discomfort and pain. For instance, when we experience discomfort or pain in the body, those bodily sensations send a message to our brain, telling us that something is wrong and to seek care or treatment. In childbirth, however, if we are not careful, that mindset will convince a birthing person that they are sick or dying. On the contrary, they are expanding and birthing. So it’s important to discuss and reframe our understanding of pain together. I tell them, “these surges (i.e., contractions, waves) are serving you. They are bringing you closer to your baby. When you tense or contract your body in response to the surge, it becomes challenging for your baby to descend. Breathe through the contraction and surrender control.” That insight as a doula has served me in my spiritual life when I experience a challenge or discomfort. I remind myself that the surge (i.e., challenge, discomfort) will eventually pass. I encourage myself to remain soft and open during the surge (i.e., challenge, discomfort). And I ask myself, “how is this serving me?” and trust that something good will come of it. Essentially my experience as a doula is teaching me how to surrender in grace, over and over again.

Why should someone want to work with a doula?

Doulas provide informational, emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual support to expectant parents and families. Doulas discuss bodily autonomy and agency with families and remind families that although their clinical care team are knowledgeable about childbirth, they are the expert in their own body and well-being. Doulas educate families on various childbirth related topics so that they feel confident making informed decisions and support with facilitating discussions between the clinical care team. Several studies have shown that doula support has a significant impact on birthing people having positive birth experiences and outcomes. 

What is the process like working with participants at New Moms?

At New Moms, pregnant youth can choose to partner with our Doulas, supporting them from 27 weeks pregnant through 8 weeks post-birth, including in the labor and delivery room. Ideally, meetings are in-person and in the home because it’s a safe and comfortable environment to discuss sensitive information. But we are flexible! Doulas at New Moms sometimes meet families at local libraries, parks, schools, or virtually to name a few – whatever is most convenient for the family. In addition to discussing childbirth, infant feeding, postpartum care, personal and parenting goals, doulas at New Moms facilitate a weekly prenatal and postnatal group and connect families to community resources related to housing, childcare, employment, and education.

Interested in learning more about doula services at New MoInterested in learning more about doula services at New Moms? Click here!? 

A Dream Revived

When Langston Hughes asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” I wonder if he knew that nearly 75 years later his words would still resonate with young families across the United States. 

Families whose dreams of economic mobility and family well-being sometimes feel like they are drying in the sun. Families who are often made to believe they are the root of their dreams being deferred–if only I’d tried harder, if only I’d paid more attention to the details, I would be a lot farther along. Hughes understood that the deferral of dreams often occurs deliberately through institutional barriers. He encouraged us to ask “why?” and pave a new path forward for reviving dreams.

In my work at New Moms, I see mothers and their young families holding on to their audacious dreams:

Dreams of receiving quality prenatal, birth, and postpartum healthcare. Dreams of parenting practices that ensure their child’s well-being. Dreams of achieving employment and educational goals that will be fulfilling and family-sustaining. Dreams of financial literacy support that consider personal values. Dreams of exploring and maturing Spirituality in a non-judgemental environment. And most importantly, dreams of a life of abundance — where necessities are covered so that we can live outside of scarcity and basic survival. 

When I see moms come into our programs, I understand that they already have what they need to achieve their dreams — grit, love, determination, and resourcefulness — and I see how our Executive Skills approach to coaching can help reduce stress and create the slack that allows moms to move beyond survival and into a thriving future.

My role at New Moms is all about teaching Executive Skills, the 12 brain-based abilities that govern how we organize, react, and get things done. Everyone has them! However, experiences of scarcity, systemic racism, or violence can affect the development of Executive Skills and can naturally create barriers that get in the way of our dreams. By exploring these skills and learning about themselves, moms can better leverage their strengths and mitigate their struggles, to help create a clearer path to lasting success.

As I reflected on Hughes’ question, I thought again of the families we serve at New Moms. I thought of the hope I see every day and the audacious dreams of our young moms. I decided it was time for a new perspective on “A Dream Deferred”:

Guest blog by Karlyn Boens, New Moms Learning and Innovation Project Manager in Program Leadership. 

Register today for New Moms 40th Anniversary Gala!

Register today! New Moms will be celebrating our fourth decade of partnering with young moms and their children at our 40th Anniversary Gala on Friday, April 28th, 2023. 

PURCHASE TICKETS

When: Friday, April 28th, 2023 from 6-10pm
Where: The Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609
What: Featuring a live and silent auction, paddle raise, New Moms presentation, live Bright Endeavors demo, and delicious food & drink.

Please join us for a vibrant evening as we raise funds to ensure young moms can find safe and stable housing, a path to employment, and tools to develop strong parenting skills.

Ticket Information

  • Individual Tickets: $250 per ticket
  • Become an Anniversary Gala Ambassador: As an Ambassador, your efforts are vital to the success of the event.
    • Anniversary Gala Ambassador benefits:
      • Your name is prominently listed as an Ambassador on our invitation, website, signage, and multimedia presentation screened during the event
      • 8 tickets to the Gala (valued at $2,000)
      • Insider Gala updates

PURCHASE TICKETS


Browse and bid on the silent auction!

Click on this GiveSmart link to register and start bidding today!

Anyone can bid on the silent auction, even if they’re not present at the gala. Feel free to forward this email to friends who aren’t attending.

Silent auction items include: Four tickets to the Taylor Swift Eras tour, a date night at The Langham, a U.S. men’s soccer jersey signed by the whole team, and much more!

BROWSE THE SILENT AUCTION


Fifth Third Foundation

First United Church of Oak Park

KPMG

Prinz Law Firm

McShane Construction Company

Capraro Law

Good Heart Work Smart Foundation

Ozinga

Spaulding Ridge

Cause Strategy Partners

Homewood Disposal

Oak Park Apartments

Network It Easy

Protiviti

Smith, Gambrell & Russell

Deloitte

Meridian

Huntington Bank


     Photos from past galas:

Year-in-Review 2022

With the knowledge that we only share a brief period of time with the young moms in our programs, we understand that each moment spent partnered with them is precious. In 2022, we made efforts to maximize our time together by deepening our model with innovative technology like the New Moms app, expanding our programming by launching a new Academic Coaching Pilot Program, and sharing our resources and model through The Hub. 

Each month brought new challenges, milestones, and goals for New Moms as we strove to ensure young families in our community could lay strong foundations for their futures. We sincerely thank each and every member of the New Moms community who helped support our mission in 2022. Read below to check out our top accomplishments of 2022!

Top Ten Accomplishments From 2022…

In January 2022, New Moms launched our Academic Coaching program, an intentional investment in the postsecondary persistence and achievement of young moms. The long-term impact will have lasting, positive influence on families and communities—leading to more mothers of color graduating from post-secondary programs and working in family-sustaining, living-wage jobs. In 2022 we had 25 young moms enrolled! While in this program, moms will receive monthly stipends, childcare support, and individual/group coaching (among other services) as they pursue their degrees.

“[Academic Coaching] has provided me with so many opportunities I never thought I could have. New Moms has genuinely changed my life for the better and I am so excited to see where it goes.” – Mikah,    Academic Coaching and Family Support participant


In early 2022, we piloted a new supportive coaching technology, the New Moms App! After two years of planning, discovery work, and partnership with the behavioral health software developer, Ayogo, the New Moms App is now part of the suite of tools we use in our coaching to accelerate young moms’ goal achievement.


New Moms launched The Hub! A core pillar of New Moms’ Strategic Plan is to fuel the national conversation and The Hub @ New Moms is doing just that! Over the past calendar year, they have trained over 500 practitioners representing over 150 organizations on the brain and behavioral science of Executive Skills, an essential way to highlight individuals’ strengths, deepen programmatic equity, and center on participant goals. The Hub has trained partners virtually and in-person nationwide, including in Portland, OR, Boston, New York, Denver, Nashville, Lancaster, PA, Scranton, PA, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.


New Moms was able to grow our staff by adding 10 new positions this year! New positions include a housing program manager, a contracts and billing manager, an IT operations manager, coaching positions, and a director of policy. We are excited to expand our team in order to partner with more young moms in new and exciting ways each year!


Bright Endeavors moved into a brand new facility! They doubled their physical footprint and expanded their capacity to create their home fragrance products. On top of this, their organic business growth, coupled with a grant from the Justice Advisory Council, will allow them to grow the Job Training Program by 30% over the next three years. This means we will be able to serve several dozen more moms each year!


Bright Endeavors and Job Training teams finished the year at pre-pandemic enrollment numbers—21 production assistants in a cohort! The program expanded to include certificate training in manufacturing, entrepreneurship, customer service and sales, and partnered with Touch Gift Foundation to provide adult education onsite for moms that want to earn a GED!  Through a partnership with UMedics, moms can now also receive certification in First-Aid/CPR and Urban Emergency First Response. 


After nearly two years of remote or hybrid meetings, volunteering, and workshops, New Moms is fully back for in-person meetings and volunteer opportunities. We are thankful for your patience and care while we navigated our return to in-person events safely.


Operation Santa experienced another record-breaking year in gift donations. This year, 2,092 gifts were donated from the registry and another 250 were dropped directly to New Moms! That’s 2,342 total gifts you generously donated — and the most we’ve ever received! Along with gifts, we had an unprecedented number of volunteers show up to help out, totaling over 80 people!


2022 was a strong fundraising year, with several of our long-time funding partners making significant grants, including one of the largest general operating grants in agency history! Funding opportunities like these ensure our continued ability to help young families in our community thrive for years to come.


We are grateful to every volunteer, donor, and supporter in our New Moms community. Because of your generous support, we were able to provide 21,000 hours of job training and help place 66 young moms into jobs after graduating from our programs. We were able to offer 38,298 nights of shelter to 70 families, serving 284 young moms and 379 children. We could not have done this without you!

WE SINCERELY THANK EVERYONE WHO MADE 2022 BRIGHTER FOR NEW MOMS. WE ARE PROUD TO BE A PART OF SUCH A KIND, GENEROUS, AND LOYAL COMMUNITY. CHEERS TO 2023!

Operation Santa 2021 Thank You

(Scroll down to see our entire Operation Santa scrapbook!)

Year after year, New Moms’ participant Christmas Celebration is our most anticipated event. It is an opportunity for us to lean into our values of love and connection to help young families create life-long holiday memories (like some alumni from decades ago who say this was their favorite thing about New Moms!). For the last two years we have adapted our celebration to be COVID-friendly while still making the experience special for families in our programs. 

We are so grateful to everyone who donated to the gift drive and made Operation Santa 2021 a success. Our goal this year was to get presents under the Christmas tree for the 171 moms and 209 kids in our programs. Thanks to the generosity of our New Moms community, we received over 2140 donated gifts for moms and kids — the most ever! With the help of 64 volunteers, all the items were unboxed, packed, and delivered to families in time for the holidays.

New Moms Doula, Mary Calderon, said she felt like “a modern-day Latinx Santa” while delivering gifts to the young moms in our Family Support Program. Mary placed the presents on the front porch and waited in her car as the family grabbed their packages. Mother, father, and toddler all smiled and waved to her from the porch as they retrieved their gifts. When Mary returned home, she received a text from mother expressing her appreciation for all New Moms has done for her during her parenting journey.

“I want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers and everyone who donated holiday gifts for the families in our programs. The support from the community has made a huge impact in making this holiday season special for our young families. Donor support really helps us go the extra mile as we partner with parents in their journey!”

– Mary Calderon, New Moms Doula

Thank you to all who made Operation Santa a huge success for the second year in a row, and we all wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Vision for My Family

This has been a momentous year for New Moms, thanks to your support! Your donations have helped our mission advance in many ways, like through the launch of our Academic Coaching program. We’ve successfully enrolled 25 young moms who are now receiving coaching and assistance as they work toward accomplishing an associate degree. This investment in academic achievement will increase their earning potential by 47% over their lifetime and inspire hope for a future full of possibility!

Academic Coaching is just one part of the comprehensive approach New Moms takes to partner with nearly 300 moms every year. Your continued support makes opportunities like these possible. Mikah is currently enrolled in the Academic Coaching program. Her story is marked with resilience as she faced family instability and homelessness. When she became pregnant at age 19, her doctor referred her to New Moms. Since then, we have been privileged to partner with Mikah as she pursues goals to strengthen her family.

Mikah worked with a New Moms Doula and Family Support Coach who supported her through her pregnancy. At seven months pregnant, she signed up for the winter semester of college. Two months later, she gave birth to her daughter, Sophia, and just three days after, she started school at Triton College, majoring in psychology! Mikah is determined to complete her associate degree as fast as possible, with the ultimate goal to accomplish a master’s degree and become a therapist, providing mental health support in her community.

Sophia is always at the forefront of her dreams:

In partnership with our team, Mikah is pursuing her dreams while navigating the demands of parenting and being a student so that she can accomplish her goals for a thriving future for herself and Sophia!

You make it possible for New Moms to be a comprehensive resource for young moms like Mikah to pursue their vision for their families. As we approach the end of 2022, we need your help to ensure young families can always access the support New Moms offers and pursue thriving futures.

Your gift today is an investment in the future of thriving families and thriving communities. I hope you will join us to make this vision a reality.

Season’s Blessings,


Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President & CEO

GIVE A GIFT

New Moms’ FY22 Annual Report is here!

New Moms is thrilled to share our latest Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2022 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022)! Last year, with the launch of our Power to Thrive strategic plan, we were energized to continue building pathways to thriving futures with the young families we serve. Here are the steps we’ve taken to be a catalyst to thriving this past year:

  • We’ve deepened our model with the use of technology and integration of brain and behavioral science-based practice, leading to greater goal achievement from participants in our programs.
  • At the beginning of 2022, we expanded our programming with the launch of our Academic Coaching program, making a targeted investment in the postsecondary persistence and achievement of young moms as they pursue goals around academic success and economic mobility.
  • We launched The Hub @ New Moms. Through sharing our model, one that is deeply committed to serving families in Chicagoland, we are leading transformation in the human services sector and championing an asset-based, participant-centered approach to direct services that is supporting the thriving of families throughout the nation!

These areas of intentional growth are built upon the foundations that have been laid for almost four decades. Our community of support, including donors, volunteers, staff, and participants, are imperative to making this work possible. I am incredibly grateful for your commitment to the mission of New Moms as we seek to build a future where every young family can thrive.

Please click here or the image above to view our report. We hope you enjoy it, and thank you for being part of this essential work!

With gratitude,

Laura Zumdahl
New Moms President & CEO

Bright Endeavors’ Grand Opening!

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate our home fragrance social enterprise, Bright Endeavors’, Grand Opening of their new location on Friday, October 14! We gathered in the loading area of 627 N. Albany Ave. to partake in refreshments while our ceremony speakers lit a candle and formally introduced the new space to the New Moms and Bright Endeavors community. Guests then took guided tours, learning about candle production from start to finish, the ins and outs of our Job Training program, our innovative coaching technology, and our new Academic Coaching program. And of course, guests were able to purchase candles from Bright Endeavors’ pop-up candle shop!

A special thank you to our ceremony speakers:

  • Bright Endeavors Production Assistant, Jasmine
  • Employment partners, Rachel Kamins of Bartleby’s Ice Cream Cakes, and her colleague, former Bright Endeavors Production Assistant, Shakyra
  • Wholesale partner, Leeatt Rothschild of Packed with Purpose

And thank you to our vendors Tanesha, owner of Tee Tee’s Sweets, and Nicole Jordan, owner of Nicole Jordan Catering, for providing our attendees with delicious snacks! Thank you as well to our volunteers who kept the event running smoothly—volunteers from Packed With Purpose, Jessica Holden of New Moms’ Associate Board, and our regular Bright Endeavors volunteers, Nora Fitzgerald and Judy Sherr.

This event would not have been a success without all of you!

Learn more about Bright Endeavors’ expansion to this new space in this blog post. And check out all the beautiful photos of the event below, thanks to our photographer, Ajahlexi Photography!

Operation Santa 2022

New Moms’ annual Christmas event is our most anticipated family celebration of the year! Due to COVID-19, we are continuing to host “Operation Santa” — in which we collect donated gifts for families and distribute everything safely to their homes.

We need you to make this year a success!

Help ensure every family in our programs has a special Christmas by donating to the gift drive or volunteering to pack the gift deliveries.

Learn more about ways to get involved down below!

Donate Gifts:

Help us get presents under the tree for 171 moms and 209 kids. Every young mom gets to select the perfect gifts for her family from the collection, which are then dropped off by New Moms staff!

Click here to purchase items from our Amazon Christmas Registry and they will be delivered directly to New Moms’ Chicago office.

If you’d like a PDF of our wishlist, you can get a printable version by clicking here!

IMPORTANT: Donations are due by Monday, November 29th at our Austin location (5317 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago IL) NOTE ON GIFT CARDS: If you’d like to buy a gift card, we are only seeking PHYSICAL gift cards of $25, $50, or $75. 

AND/OR

Volunteer to Pack Gifts:

We need a lot of volunteer help in November and early December to pull off this year’s Operation Santa.

Click here to schedule your shift today! Shift dates/times are extremely flexible. Duties consist of unboxing donated gifts, sorting, packing them up for families, and cleaning up afterwards.

For questions, email our Engagement Specialist, Jessica Britt, at volunteer@newmoms.org.

IMPORTANT: All New Moms COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed.

New Moms social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, moves to a new location!

This August, New Moms’ social enterprise home fragrance company, Bright Endeavors, along with our Job Training and Academic Coaching programs, moved to a new location at 627 N. Albany Ave. in the East Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago. 

The decision to make this move was in the works for a couple of years. Bright Endeavors has been on a growth trajectory and was quite literally bursting at the seams, finding creative ways to arrange our manufacturing space to support the growing amount of candle production needed to meet demand. This new location offers a stronger infrastructure for production and shipping, and offers easy access to public transportation for participants, staff, volunteers, and Bright Endeavors customers.  

Since Bright Endeavors exists to provide job training to young moms, the growth of Bright Endeavors, along with generous new funding through the City of Chicago’s Justice Advisory Council (JAC), will allow our Job Training program to increase our capacity to serve young moms by 30% over the next three years. This will help us meet, and surpass, our pre-pandemic levels of service. You can learn more about the JAC funding to New Moms in this recent Austin Talks article. 

This new location will also be the home of our new Academic Coaching program that we launched in January of 2022. This program invests in the postsecondary persistence and achievement of young moms and expands the services we provide to support young moms as they pursue goals around academic achievement and economic mobility. 

We are excited about the opportunities for growth that are available to us at this new location, and the stories that will come from the work that will happen here! Bright Endeavors and New Moms will hold a lovely and welcoming space to shop for Bright Endeavors products and provide more opportunity to connect with our community. 

This move represents significant milestones for New Moms as our team works diligently to live into our mission and seek the thriving of our families. A Grand Opening celebration will be held on October 14, 2022 from 9-11am. All may attend, and are invited to RSVP at this link. We hope you’ll come out and join us! 

RSVP TODAY

Back to School

DONATE TODAY

It’s our annual Back to School campaign, and we need your help to raise $50,000 to invest in the educational goals of young moms! New Moms is all about seeing young families thrive. This year we want to highlight Kamilah’s story! Like many young moms at New Moms, Kamilah is taking powerful steps to advance her education. By making this investment in herself, she is transforming her son’s future. Here are a few reasons why:

  • A parent’s educational level is a strong indicator of their children’s long-term educational success.
  • A young mom with an Associate or Bachelor degree is 45% and 67% respectively less likely to experience poverty.
  • And the confidence a parent brings to her family when she has a degree, is financially stable, and more connected to her community creates an environment where her children are more likely to thrive!

Kamilah & Hugo

“Every day you wake up with your son or your daughter and they are smiling at you. And it kind of gives you some hope. You just want to do everything you can for them. So just don’t give up on what you want.”

Kamilah is excited about her future! She graduated from high school in June and will be starting at Truman College this fall.

Kamilah partnered with New Moms when she was four months pregnant with her son, Hugo. Becoming a mom changed her life for the better, and she reflects that “New Moms has really helped in a lot of ways.” She was paired with a New Moms doula (or birth coach) to help her through the final stages of her pregnancy. Simultaneously, Kamilah started working with Precious, a Family Support coach, to help her in other areas of life. Precious has become like family.

“We created a bond with her,” said Kamilah, about her coach. “She makes sure the baby is developed. She brings books, diapers, and everything to make sure that we have enough.”

Precious helps Kamilah to keep on track in school – checking in on her grades and helping her find opportunities to complete her service hour requirement for graduation. Precious also supported Kamilah in completing her FAFSA, so she could afford to go to college. Kamilah was excited to be awarded two scholarships, which will help in her plan to take cosmetology classes so she can open her own salon!

Kamilah’s pursuit of a degree is an example of how she is leading her family into a thriving future. Every step Kamilah takes to invest in her future is an investment in Hugo’s future. This is the beautiful, generational work that New Moms helps to make possible.

With the support of the New Moms team, Kamilah does not have to navigate the challenges of parenting alone in these critical, formative moments of their life.  She has resources and support to pursue her dreams.

Kamilah is on a journey to build a strong foundation for her family, motivated by the future she can create for Hugo.

Kick off this school year with a gift to New Moms today and help us raise $50,000 by September 30 to ensure that young moms, like Kamilah, have the support they need to accomplish their educational goals and help their families thrive!

DONATE TODAY

Fiscal Year End Appeal 2022

DEAR FRIENDS,

The mission of New Moms exists because housing stability, economic mobility, and family well-being are hard to come by for far too many young families. And yet, through our work at New Moms, we see daily the powerful steps young moms take to build thriving futures for themselves and their children.

We are in a time where changes come hard and fast—a pandemic, job loss, childcare instability, school closures, and now rising inflation. Our best-laid plans can dissolve in a moment. The families we serve have fragile safety nets if any at all. So New Moms is here, with your support, to partner with them so they can withstand these challenges and focus their efforts on building a strong foundation for long-term well-being.

Naomi is one of the many young moms we work with whose plans were derailed by unforeseen challenges. Since she was eight years old, she dreamed of becoming a doctor. She had been raised in the foster system and recently experienced the grief of losing her brother by murder. She persevered and got into college, but in her junior year, the pandemic hit and classes went online. Naomi chose to wait for classes to resume in person, and during that time she became pregnant. Moving to Wisconsin to be with her child’s father, she began to experience domestic violence, and while escaping this dangerous situation, she also became homeless.

Her dreams on hold, Naomi went into survival mode seeking support and housing. She found New Moms and moved into our housing program just two weeks before giving birth to healthy and beautiful Giovanni. Because of New Moms, Naomi and her son had a safe home to come back to and begin their life together.

Since starting at New Moms, Naomi has had the support she needs to get back on track to pursue her dream. She has eagerly joined every program we offer, including our Job Training and Academic Coaching programs. Just this May, she began a new job at Candycopia, a local employment partner who is passionate about supporting New Moms’ mission! And Naomi is re-enrolled in college classes part-time to work towards completing her Bachelor’s degree.

As a new parent, she also has the support of New Moms coaches to lean on. Naomi recalled her coach, Magy’s, guidance: “She helped me understand my son. Because this is my first time parenting, I don’t know what to look for or what to work on specifically. Little things that she pointed out has helped me keep my son on track.”

New Moms is critical for many young families, like Naomi’s, in Chicagoland. This year alone we served over 400 families. However, we anticipate the impact of inflation this coming year will strain our resources, creating a 10-15% increase in costs to accomplish the same work we have done with families.

As we close out Fiscal Year 2022, I stand in awe of your generosity that has carried us in ways I could not have imagined. I invite you now to persevere with us and, inspired by Naomi’s resilience, to support our mission and help us raise $75,000 by June 30, 2022.

Give to New Moms today and invest in sustaining this mission for young moms and their children so that they can have a thriving future.

With Gratitude,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President & CEO

GIVE A GIFT


Browse our Silent Auction!

Browse the Together We Thrive Silent Auction! 

Together We Thrive is a movement to bring our community together to invest in the futures of young moms and children in Chicagoland. In April and May 2022, through small events and crowd-driven fundraising efforts, Champions of New Moms will raise funds to make an impact on two generations of youth!

Support Together We Thrive by bidding on the silent auction today! Bidding is open and ends on May 24th at 7:30pm CST.

 BROWSE THE SILENT AUCTION


Women’s History Month 2022

During the month of March, we are asked to recognize and reflect on the thousands of ways women in our communities have provided healing and promoted hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud of the women and young moms who have stepped up in amazing ways to support themselves and their families. We also want to acknowledge the disproportionate, unpaid labor the pandemic has placed on women – like homeschooling children and caring for sick relatives (Source).

To honor all of the women and young moms who have inspired us with their grit and courage over the last three years, we’ve asked the New Moms community to share how they have experienced “women providing healing and promoting hope” during the pandemic. In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are their stories…

Click on the images of New Moms’ participants and staff members below to expand them and click on their names in the accordion below to read their full reflections.

SHANIKA | HOUSING PROGRAM PARTICIPANT 
ANNE SCHULZ | SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
YASMINE | HOUSING PROGRAM PARTICIPANT 
LIZVETH MENDEZ-WITT | CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
ANGEL | JOB TRAINING PARTICIPANT
LORENA SAZ | FAMILY SUPPORT SPECIALIST
JYLISA | JOB TRAINING PARTICIPANT
CECE TOVAR-MURRAY | SUPPORTIVE EMPLOYMENT SPECIALIST
AALIYAH | JOB TRAINING PARTICIPANT
CANDYCE CABRAL | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM MANAGER

Women are providing healing and promoting hope every day at New Moms and our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors. Show your support by purchasing candles from Bright Endeavors or donating to New Moms.

DONATE TO NEW MOMS

PURCHASE CANDLES

Resources to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting women:

Other resources:

Join Us for Together We Thrive!

We are bringing back Together We Thrive for 2022! Together We Thrive is a movement to bring our community together to invest in the futures of young moms and children in Chicagoland. In April and May 2022, through small events and crowd-driven fundraising efforts, Champions of New Moms will raise funds to make an impact on two generations of youth! Our goal this year is to have 100 Champions join this campaign! You can help us reach our vision of helping every young family to thrive by either fundraising (online or by hosting a gathering) or donating. Check out the video above for ideas.

Join the Associate Board

Are you interested in making a significant impact in the lives of young moms and their children? Then consider joining New Moms’ Associate Board to support our mission, raise dollars, and generate awareness for New Moms!

The Associate Board is a group of emerging leaders who dedicate their own time, talents, networks, and resources to raise awareness and support the mission of New Moms. As an ambassador for the organization, each Associate Board member must express and demonstrate a commitment to the mission and vision of New Moms.

Want to join?

1) Read the full Associate Board member role description.
2) Submit your application by May 31st, 2022.

After you submit your application, you will receive an email to schedule a 20-minute interview with Jenna Hammond and learn more about joining the Associate Board.

*Submissions will close on May 31st. For questions, contact our Director of Development & Communications, Jenna Hammond, at jhammond@newmoms.org.

SUBMIT ASSOCIATE BOARD APPLICATION

New Moms’ FY21 Annual Report is here!

New Moms is thrilled to share our latest Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021)! Last year, while we faced limitations due to the pandemic, our team doubled down on our commitment to unleash the potential of two generations of youth. In this annual report, you will learn about how we continued to strengthen our service model proving that when women and mothers are in the driver’s seat of their own lives they are powerful change-makers in their families and our communities. And the stories you’ll read will inspire you to hope for a beautiful future that is led by the minds and hearts of the mothers and children we serve.

Of course, none of this work can happen without you, our generous community of supporters. Your investment in New Moms is an investment in the next generations of youth. You ensure that our evidence-based practice continues to make a significant impact on young families. And you live into the hope of what our communities can and should be when we love our neighbors. As we enter into this new year, I invite you to continue on this journey with us and help New Moms work towards our vision of a world where all families thrive!

Please click here or the image above to view our report. We hope you enjoy it, and thank you for being part of the transformation!

With hope,

Laura Zumdahl
New Moms President & CEO

Black History Month 2022

Black mothers and caretakers always make history. At New Moms and Bright Endeavors, we constantly witness goal attainment and milestone achievements. Throughout #BlackHistoryMonth we will be sharing some past history makers along with some current and future ones.

Week One:

PHILYCIA | TEAM LEAD AT BRIGHT ENDEAVORS
DR. MAYME CLAYTON | LIBRARIAN, COLLECTOR, & HISTORIAN

Week Two:

JANIYA | TEAM LEAD AT BRIGHT ENDEAVORS
NINA SIMONE | SINGER & ACTIVIST

Week Three:

DAJA | TEAM LEAD AT BRIGHT ENDEAVORS
SOJOURNER TRUTH | ABOLITIONIST, ACTIVIST, & SUFFRAGIST

Week Four:

TRACY | NEW MOMS ALUMNI & OUTREACH SPECIALIST
KATHERINE JOHNSON | MATHEMATICIAN & NASA SCIENTIST

Moms are making history every day. Show your support by purchasing candles from Bright Endeavors or donating to New Moms.

#BlackHistoryMonth


Sources:

Year-in-Review 2021

When we look back on 2021, we see it was truly a rollercoaster with the persistent global pandemic affecting every aspect of our lives. Yet despite the disruption, life kept moving forward and young families continued to partner with New Moms as they took powerful first steps towards housing stability, economic mobility, and family well-being.

Throughout the year, New Moms not only held strong but, as an organization, we also set, pursued, and achieved ambitious goals. Every year brings its own set of unique challenges but our New Moms community rose to the occasion and accomplished some incredible things during 2021. Thank you to everyone who supported our mission and helped us take decisive steps towards our vision of the future where every family thrives!

Top Ten Accomplishments From Last Year…

In 2021, we launched our Parent Advisory Council. This group of eight moms who completed one or more of our programs within the past five years, and are now sharing their expertise, perspectives, and recommendations with New Moms. The Parent Advisors are committed to using their experience and wisdom as young moms to improve our programming for future families.

“I feel like it’s a great way to give back by being a voice for other young mothers. This opportunity will help my growth in leadership as well.” – Parent Advisor


We began our training and consulting work with peer organizations and others in our field! We continue to share what we have learned and developed in Chicagoland to improve social services nationwide. Our Research, Learning, & Innovation Team has trained over 50 practitioners from Illinois, Arizona, and Pennsylvania on the brain and behavioral science of Executive Skills. This work has the potential to impact families around the country and help them achieve their goals for economic mobility and family well-being!

“For us, [Executive Skills Coaching] was the piece that was missing from our program that I had no idea I was missing!” – James C., Program Manager, Keys to Work, Indianapolis


We navigated the safe return of staff and participants to all three of our locations during an unprecedented, global pandemic. From changing organizational policies to procuring PPE supplies, the New Moms’ HR and Operations Team worked hard to support our amazing staff and the families we serve.


New Moms completed a total building refresh of our main office, the Transformation Center, in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. This included new paint, matching furniture with clean lines, comfortable lounge spaces, new carpet tiles, and additional work space for staff. As a result, our building is now more functional and more beautiful for all visitors.


The Family Support Chicago Team is now a Parents as Teachers Blue Ribbon Affiliate! The Quality Endorsement and Improvement Process (QEIP) was a rigorous 18 months and required a full team effort. This milestone was accomplished because of the dedication and passion of New Moms’ program staff which is dedicated to the community-building work we do and the 296 moms and 414 children we served last year.


Our social enterprise candle company, Bright Endeavors, celebrated two record-breaking months of revenue! Bright Endeavors is a critical component of New Moms’ Job Training program and exists to provide on-the-job training and professional skill development for young moms. This year, we employed 67 Production Assistants and offered over 17,000 hours of job training to young moms! Thank you to everyone who supports our mission by purchasing candles or one of our new reed diffusers.

“Bright Endeavors gave me a boost of confidence. It’s like you’re working for them but they’re also working for you. They value your opinion. They make sure you’re okay, physically and mentally.” – Jylisa, a production assistant in New Moms’ Job Training Program


We began the year with five young moms enrolled in our Job Training program and finished 2021 back at pre-pandemic numbers — 21 production assistants in a cohort! We expanded the program to include certificate training in manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and customer service & sales and also partnered with Touch Gift Foundation to provide adult education onsite for moms that want to earn a GED! Last year, 79 young moms were placed into jobs after graduating from our program.

“I’m gaining all the tools I need to be successful. They teach us things we can take with us through life.” – Shutia, a production assistant in New Moms’ Job Training Program


New Moms is taking the lead to develop a national network of social service agencies interested in incorporating spiritual formation services as part of a holistic, family-centered approach to supporting families. We are growing the Chicago Formation Network to include new members from around the country.


Year after year, New Moms’ participant Christmas Celebration is our most anticipated event. For the last two years we have adapted our celebration to be COVID-friendly while still making the experience special for families in our programs. Our goal this year was to get presents under the Christmas tree for the 171 moms and 209 kids in our programs. We are so grateful to everyone who donated to the gift drive and made Operation Santa 2021 a success. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we received over 2,140 donated gifts for moms and kids — the most ever! With the help of 64 volunteers, all the items were unboxed, packed, and delivered to families in time for the holidays.

“I want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers and everyone who donated holiday gifts for the families in our programs. The support from the community has made a huge impact in making this holiday season special for our young families. Donor support really helps us go the extra mile as we partner with parents in their journey!” – Mary Calderon, a New Moms Doula


We give our sincerest appreciation to everyone who gave to New Moms both monetary gifts and goods donations. Because of your generosity, last year alone, we provided young families in Chicagoland with 48,968 nights of shelter and 7,909 coaching sessions. Our young moms found gainful employment to support their families, accomplished savings goals to work towards financial stability, got their first apartment and had space to create lasting family memories, and built foundations for thriving futures.

“New Moms is more than just an organization. It’s a support system, helping hand, and motivator.”  – Tajuor, a participant in New Moms’ Family Support & Job Training Programs

WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE WHO HAS ACCOMPANIED US THROUGHOUT THE LAST YEAR. IT IS HUMBLING TO KNOW NEW MOMS’ MISSION INSPIRES SUCH FIERCE COMPASSION AND LOYALTY. TOGETHER WE CAN EMBRACE THE POTENTIAL OF 2022 FOR YOUNG MOMS AND THEIR CHILDREN! CHEERS TO THE NEW YEAR!

FY2022 – Quarter 2

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us through this second quarter of Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021). Please click the image above to view the full-size report, and here are some highlights:

  • We’ve already served 258 moms and kids this fiscal year – like Yanin and her son Mateo.
  • 81% of participants have exited our two-year transitional Housing Program into stable housing!
  • 51 young moms have already obtained permanent employment in the first three months of this fiscal year!
  • 79% of young moms in our Family Support Program are practicing positive parenting skills.

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.

President & CEO

Welcome to The Hub @ New Moms!

At New Moms, we envision a future where every family thrives. We directly serve over 700 women and children in the Chicagoland area annually and now we are expanding our work to support families nationwide. That is why The Hub at New Moms exists — we want to share what we’ve learned and developed with other service organizations across the country.

The Hub houses our training and consulting for peer organizations and others in our field on the brain and behavioral science of Executive Skills. This training work is well under way. To date, we’ve trained over 150 people on Executive Skills Coaching for goal achievement from a wide variety of organizations including Children’s Home & Aid, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Chicanos por la Causa, and Bethany Christian Services. Whether you are looking for an introduction to brain and behavioral science in the human services field, wanting to learn about your own Executive Skills, or are ready to fully integrate Executive Skills Coaching into your program strategies, The Hub has something for you!

VISIT THE WEBSITE!

Through The Hub you will LEARN.

Our New Moms’ Executive Skills Coaching is based on 5 years of research and applied practice across New Moms entire agency. Through The Hub, you can learn about the brain and behavioral science of Executive Skills Coaching through customized workshops and facilitated training.

Through the Hub you will PRACTICE.

Take your learning to the next level by applying it to your organization! Everything that you learn through The Hub at New Moms can be directly integrated into program strategy as you partner with your program participants to set and pursue their goals. You don’t have to practice alone! The Hub offers consultant and booster training sessions. We are partners with you on this journey!

Through The Hub you will CONNECT.

The Hub brings together professionals who are committed to racial equity, family-centered goals, and well-being. These fostered connections create a stronger infrastructure for families worldwide to thrive. Connections are made through The Hub’s virtual spaces such as LinkedIn and Teachable, expanding over time based on partner feedback.

Through The Hub we will ADVOCATE for change.

Improving local, state, and national policies and systems that affect families is an essential lever of change. Over time, The Hub will grow to include New Moms’ emerging policy & advocacy work, too. Stay tuned for more!

Our vision for a world of thriving families starts here. We welcome you to visit our website where you can learn more about The Hub and register for one of our upcoming workshops: The Hub’s inaugural Executive Skills 101 Workshop is on February 14th, 2022! This is your opportunity to see just how transformative an Executive Skills mindset and practice can be for your organization. Click here to register now!

REGISTER TODAY

Hear from our existing partners…


We’ve Launched a New Program To Support Student Parents!

New Moms has launched an Academic Coaching program to challenge systemic barriers preventing many young moms from completing college degrees.

One in five college students in the United States are parents, and often schools cannot fully provide the kind of support young parents need to ensure success. Currently, only 8% of single mother students in Illinois complete an Associate degree within six years, compared to 60% of students without children, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Additionally, one in three black women in college — who are already underrepresented in higher education because of systemic racism and historic barriers — are single parents. New Moms’ Academic Coaching program was created to address this disparity.

“We believe intentional investment in the postsecondary persistence and achievement of young moms will have lasting positive influences on families and communities,” said Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal, Senior Director of Employment and Academic Coaching at New Moms. 

New Moms serves young moms and children who are experiencing poverty and/or homelessness. When they come to us, 97% are experiencing extreme poverty. Approximately 50% have dropped out of school, while 50% have high school diploma/GEDs, and are eligible for postsecondary education. 100% report trauma histories. Their grit and determination have carried them this far, but unstable situations, toxic stress, and systemic barriers limit their abilities to handle the small things, and develop long-term habits that will lead to success.

Postsecondary degree completion has outsized return on investment (ROI). Single mothers in Illinois holding an Associate or Bachelor degree are 45% & 67% less likely, respectively, to live in poverty than high school graduates. 

This is why ECMC Foundation, which is funding a significant portion of the pilot program, is making this investment in the postsecondary persistence, anticipating that this will lead to more mothers of color graduating from college and working in family-sustaining, living wage jobs. This pilot program is also funded in part by the State of Illinois.

Together with the City Colleges of Chicago, New Moms is piloting a three-year program, with the goal of increasing degree attainment for young moms in Chicagoland. The results of this project will have important implications for the national conversation on how to support young moms pursuing degrees and will be evaluated by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

“City Colleges of Chicago is dedicated to eliminating barriers and addressing inequities that impact access to higher education for underserved communities,” said Juan Salgado, Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. “We are grateful to partner with New Moms in the mission to increase entry to college. The new Academic Coaching program is a powerful example of our shared investment in supporting young parents as they pursue their education.”

The pilot will recruit 25 Chicagoland young moms pursuing a long-term academic certificate or Associate degree. Participants will work with coaches to select the accredited institution of whose schedules, course offerings, and credentialing align with their goals. Most have selected City Colleges of Chicago, a partner of New Moms. During the program, each participant will receive monthly support, including a $500 monthly stipend while enrolled in the program, individual and group coaching, as well as transportation and childcare support. Young moms will remain enrolled in the program for up to 3 years, or until they complete their degree, with additional follow-up support offered post-graduation.

“Research shows that holistic support, including financial support, is one of the most effective ways to improve outcomes for low-income students,” Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal said. “Student-parents facing scarcity and poverty achieve their goals more frequently when their environments are less stressful, when they have the support of positive relationships, and when they have developed core life skills.”

These brain and behavioral science-based principles — reducing sources of stress, building responsive relationships, and strengthening core life skills — provide the basis for the Academic Coaching program. 

“New Moms has successfully integrated insights  from brain and behavioral science into our existing programs and we’ve seen the positive impact on young moms and their children,” said Melanie Garrett, Chief Program Officer at New Moms. “These include increased feelings of belonging and connection, economic mobility, and family well-being.”

Evaluation of this project will have significant implications for the fields of postsecondary persistence and workforce development. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago will conduct a formative evaluation of the pilot, which will include the collection and analysis of qualitative data. This will be done in two rounds of interviews with a sample that includes both program participants and young mothers who are not enrolled in the program and with program staff and community college personnel. They will analyze the data and present their findings in an interim report and a final report which will be made publicly available.

New Moms and its partners are excited to begin this three year journey and look forward to contributing to the national conversation on how to support young moms as they pursue degrees.

ABOUT ECMC FOUNDATION
ABOUT CHAPIN HALL

If you have any additional questions, please contact Jenna Hammond, New Moms’ Director of Development & Communications, at jhammond@newmoms.org or 773.413.3451 ext. 114.

Giving Tuesday 2021

Support New Moms on Giving Tuesday

DONATE ON 11.30.21!

#GivingTuesday2021 is a global movement to unleash the power of people to transform their communities and the world!

This Giving Tuesday — 11.30.2021 — New Moms is inviting you to join our holiday fundraising efforts! Be part of a growing community which values the role of young moms as leaders of their family and community by helping us raise $200,000 before the end of the year.

Exciting News!

If you give on 11.30.2021, your donation will help unlock an additional $5,000 donation from our partners at Huntington Bank! Don’t miss this opportunity to exponentially increase the impact of your donation! Pro tip: Set a calendar reminder and share it with your friends and family.

GIVE A GIFT ON 11.30.21

Reverse Advent Calendar

For many, the countdown to Christmas is marked with small daily gifts from an Advent calendar. This year, we invite you to embrace the generous spirit of the holidays and participate in New Moms’ reverse Advent calendar. Rather than receiving a gift each day, give one instead! We are asking our community to collect food for our food pantry every day leading up to December 25th.

It’s easy! Each week, buy the corresponding food items listed on the daily checklist below and at the end of the Advent season, drop your complete collection off at our Transformation Center. The food on the list has been specifically requested by moms who regularly use our food pantry. If you have any questions, you can email our Engagement Specialist, Jessica Britt, at volunteer@newmoms.org.

Thank you for helping keep our food pantry well stocked with items young families love!

DROP-OFF INSTRUCTIONS: New Moms pantry (5317 W Chicago Ave) will be open 9am-5pm on Monday-Friday anytime after January 3rd! Please coordinate your drop off ahead of time with our Engagement Specialist, Jessica Britt.

[Click here or the image below for a printable PDF copy]

National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month 2021

Did you know that approximately 4.2 million young people, ages 13 to 25, in the United States experience some form of homelessness each year?

Stable housing is an important topic here at New Moms – we provide over 80% of the beds in Chicago for young moms experiencing homelessness. We know that having a safe, secure, and trustworthy place to call home is central to a family’s long-term well-being. That is why this month we’re bringing awareness to the challenges faced by youth and families at risk of and experiencing homelessness. Each week we will share stories and research to shed light on this issue that often gets overlooked.


Week 1

“I am thankful that New Moms is the place where my daughter and I can call home.” – New Moms Housing Participant

Did you know: New Moms is the largest provider of housing for young moms in Chicago?

Our Housing Program boasts 58 fully-furnished private apartments. The Transformation Center in Chicago can house up to 40 moms and 50 children in two-year transitional, supportive housing and Clare Place in Oak Park contains 18 units of permanent, supportive housing.

You can learn more about our Housing Program on our website.


Week 2

“Having a place for my children and myself to be able to come home to and call somewhere home is more than I could have asked for.” -Jessica, New Moms Housing Participant

Did you know: the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened our national housing crisis? For many, losing a job or an unexpected medical emergency like contracting COVID-19 is putting them at risk of eviction, foreclosure, and homelessness.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the New Moms team has been moving young moms out of temporary emergency shelters into our housing programs in Chicago and Oak Park. Since March 2020, we have provided over 91,750 nights of shelter for young families like Jessica and her two children Alexander and Madelyn.


Week 3

“When I saw the apartment, my heart stopped. This was my own place. I’d been waiting for this moment for so long. It felt like everything was clicking together for me.” – Natasha, New Moms Housing Participant?

Did you know: the number of pregnant/parenting youth experiencing homelessness in Illinois has more than doubled in the last 20 years — rising from 30% to 68%?

We see this first hand. Nearly half of the young moms in our programs are experiencing homelessness when they come to New Moms. We know that having a safe, secure, and trustworthy place to call home is central to a family’s long-term well-being. Once housed, a young family can begin to work towards goals for their future. Since 2010, our Housing Program has housed 452 families including 585 kids in Chicago and 20 families including 32 kids in Oak Park.


Week 4

“New Moms gave me a stable place where I didn’t have to worry about safety, will I have heat, or all that other stuff. I had stability in my life while I was able to change my own life.” – Tabitha, New Moms Housing Participant

Did you know: a major goal of New Moms’ Housing Program is to transition young families into stable housing after their two years in our temporary, supportive apartments? 

Our Housing Program team works closely with young moms during those two years to help families achieve housing independence. This includes assisting moms in opening bank accounts and setting saving goals to pay for their own apartment after moving out of New Moms. Last year, 89% of young moms exited New Moms to stable housing, surpassing the national benchmark of 64%. And after a year, 81% of young moms had remained in stable housing, again exceeding the national benchmark of 60%!

Strategic Plan FY22-26

We are thrilled to debut Power to Thrive, our strategic response to meet the growing national need for high-quality, innovative support for young families.

This four-pillar plan provides a roadmap to better fulfill New Moms’ mission over the next five years. Through deepening our work in Chicagoland and expanding our national influence, we are pursuing ambitious goals for our organization and the way we serve women and children.

We envision a world where every young family is empowered to think big and build thriving futures! We have tremendous opportunities ahead to have a lasting, positive impact on future generations. Join us as we meet today’s challenges and build solid foundations for the future of our beautiful community!

Click on the image above to read the full overview!


Mark Your Calendars!

Get the inside scoop on the Strategic Plan during our next Coffee Chat via Zoom on Wednesday, November 10 at 12pm CST!

Join New Moms’ President & CEO, Laura Zumdahl, and Board Chair, Deborah Gillespie as they spill the beans and answer your questions about our new strategic plan.

Click here to register!

Check out our Strategic Plan Coffee Chat!

Description: Get the inside scoop on New Moms’ new Strategic Plan — Power to Thrive — during our next Coffee Chat! Join New Moms’ President & CEO, Laura Zumdahl, and Board Chair, Deborah Gillespie as they spill the beans and answer your questions about our new strategic plan.

Time/Date: Wednesday, November 10 at 12:00pm CST via Zoom

From Pandemic Languishing to Impactful Living

Event Description:
New Moms Associate Board invites you to a virtual panel discussion and networking event. Fight the languishing you’ve been experiencing at work and at home during the pandemic! Join our panel of leading professionals in Chicago as they discuss how we can all be intentional citizens.

Sometimes a career or professional ambition doesn’t offer obvious opportunities to contribute to positive change. But you have the potential to make a difference! Gain insights about how you can look at your own professional journey with fresh eyes and see new ways to make an impact for good in your community.

Following the panel discussion, there will be a Q&A between panelists and attendees. All attendees will have a chance to win multiple raffle prizes, including gifts from New Moms’ social enterprise, Bright Endeavors!

Full Recording:


Click on the tabs below to read the full bios of our three panelists.

SHAVONNE EKELEDO, PH.D.
JASON QUIARA
SHANNON WASIOLEK

FY2022 – Quarter 1

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us through this first quarter of fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021). Please click the image above to view the full-size report, and here are some highlights:

  • We’ve already served 449 moms and kids this fiscal year – like Yesi and her son Xadrian.
  • 87% of participants have exited our two-year transitional Housing Program into stable housing!
  • 35 young moms have already obtained permanent employment in the first three months of this fiscal year!
  • 78% of young moms in our Family Support Program are practicing positive parenting skills.

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.

President & CEO

Family Snapshots

Welcome to Family Snapshots!

This is an ongoing series at New Moms that highlights the authentic voices and lives of the families we partner with. Every other month, we send out a prompt and moms submit photos and videos to share with our larger community. Enjoy!

FEBRUARY 2022

“Take a picture of your family reading your child’s favorite book.”


Genesis’s Family

Genesis and Delani love to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.


Marcela’s Family

Marcela and her son, Josue, read his favourite book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin, Jr.


Ximena’s Family

Baby Mateo and his aunt read about how we should keep the world clean. Mateo’s grandma also likes to read to him. They are reading about owls!


Margeurite’s Family

Margeurite (Margo) and her son read at bedtime. They both agree that there’s “nothing better than a song and a kiss before bed.”

DECEMBER 2021
OCTOBER 2021

SUBMIT A SNAPSHOT

Introducing Story Share

We are proud to unveil the latest feature of our website!

Read the stories of young moms (both current and past participants) as they talk about their experience at New Moms and share their hopes for the future!

Meet families in each of our three programs – Housing, Job Training, and Family Support – as well as alumni. Come back as often as you like to check out new stories. “Story Share” will remain a permanent part of our website and act as an archive for participant stories and testimonials.

VISIT STORY SHARE

Where to find Story Share:

  1. On the New Moms homepage, click “News & Stories” from the main menu
  2. Then select “Story Share” from the drop-down menu
https://giphy.com/embed/73vV4r9jXmPYIQZacu

Community Shout Outs

All that we do at New Moms could not be possible without the support of our larger community. Each month we like to highlight outstanding members of our New Moms community to show our appreciation for their commitment to our mission. Here are the past Community Shout Outs!

This Week’s Highlight:

In honor of Mother’s Day, Candycopia donated 185 boxes of candy truffles from Katherine Anne Confections for the young moms at New Moms. Thank you for showing appreciation for the hard-working participants in our programs who are taking important first steps towards housing stability and economic mobility for their families. These truffles will help make their Mother’s Day extra special!

We are also excited to welcome Candycopia as a new community partner of New Moms. They are becoming an employment partner of our Job Training program and donated an item for our 2022 Together We Thrive silent auction. We look forward to welcoming them to Oak Park when they open their doors in June! Check them out at www.Candycopia.com.

(Click here to see the full shout out on Facebook!)


Past Shout Outs

2021


2020

Building Blocks of School Readiness

There is a familiar hustle and bustle at the beginning of every school year — full of nervousness and excitement for both children and parents. Families hope that the new year brings new opportunities and that they are prepared for the possibilities ahead.

At New Moms, we are always thinking about school readiness because we know education is an important part of a family’s long-term well-being. In fact, one of our primary goals is to help young moms prepare their children for kindergarten. Did you know that we serve over 400 children through our programs every year? That’s more children than any single K-8 Chicago Public elementary school in our neighborhood of Austin!

So what does it take to be ready for school? Of course there’s that basic school supply list — pencils, pens, markers, notebooks, etc. But it is much more than that.

Research shows that age 0-5 is a critical time for a child’s development and as their child’s first and best teacher, parents play a crucial role in school readiness. This is why New Moms coaches offer support and guidance on developmental milestones, helping young moms learn ways to unleash their children’s potential to grow and thrive!

The impact of this work is significant. Studies have shown that children who meet developmental milestones leading up to kindergarten have higher achievement rates in elementary school and beyond. Educational attainment is a fundamental indicator of lifelong wellness impacting all areas of life.

With a donation to New Moms, you can support the children in our programs as they form developmental building blocks to prepare for school – and in turn – for life! We need your help to raise $25,000 by the end of the Summer, September 21. Your gift will ensure New Moms can provide coaching and support to young families during this critical time of growth and development!

DONATE TODAY

Fundraiser Update!


*Each block stacked is $1,000 raised. Help us reach our $25,000 goal!

Meet the Program Teams!

To celebrate National Nonprofit Day (Aug. 17, 2021), we highlighted the incredible staff at New Moms who work daily with the young families in our three programs – HousingJob Training, and Family Support. Throughout the day, we shined a spotlight on the different teams that partner with young moms and their children as they work towards achieving housing stability, financial security, and family well-being. Each team member works hard to support families who are taking important first steps towards thriving futures, and we’re excited to introduce them to you!

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Meet the Housing Team!

Families that live in New Moms’ affordable housing units – both temporary and permanent housing – are automatically paired with a coach. Coaches work directly with young moms asking them to imagine their ideal future and helping them set personalized goals to get there. Families meet weekly with their coach throughout their time at New Moms to work on goals related to finances, employment, education, and more!

“Our Housing Team is passionate and dedicated to ensuring residents feel safe and connected to their coaches, so residents can set and achieve their goals.” – Melanie Garrett, Chief Program Officer

Last year, 88% of young moms moved out of our housing program into stable housing and 81% stayed in that housing for over a year afterwards. That’s 20% more than the national average!

Say hello to Carolyn, Cherise, Melanie, Paula, & Teneca—all vital members of the Housing Team who help make the goal of a stable home a reality for young families!


Meet the Job Training Team!

Our Job Training program employs young moms at our social enterprise candle company, Bright Endeavors, for 16 weeks as they develop critical professional skills. When young moms enroll, they are paired with a Supportive Employment Coach who works with them throughout the program and up to 2 years post-program.

Young moms and their coaches set and track personal and Bright Endeavors’ production goals daily. Goal achievements are then celebrated individually and together as a team with the rest of the moms in the program. Last year, 67 moms found permanent employment after graduating from the program!

“My team is comprised of loving and gritty women working together to meet our common goal of supporting young moms. We have the unique opportunity to see the power of daily goal setting and how it comes to fruition in the lives of our participants.” – Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal, Senior Director of Employment and Academic Coaching

Say hello to Ashlee, Candyce, Cathy, Erin, & Gabrielle, the rockstars of our Job Training Team!


Meet the Chicago Family Support Team!

Our Family Support program offers a wide range of options for young moms living the city of Chicago. Pregnant and parenting moms can participate in any or all of our services including – Doula (or birth coaching) Services, pregnancy support groups, personal coaching, and parenting support groups. Young moms partner with a Family Coach who visits with them at home to share parenting resources, child development tips, and more!

“I love the FSS Chicago team! We are comprised of talented, dedicated coaches who empower participants by forming strong connections and trust with each participant.” – Katie Wise, Family Support Manager.

Last year, we served over 700 young moms and their children and 77% are now practicing positive parenting skills and 55% said the program reduced their stress!

Say hello to the incredible Family Support Chicago Team: Andrea, Ayeshah, Katie, Luecendia, Magy, Olivia, & Precious!


Meet the Family Support Oak Park Team!

Our Family Support programs in the Western Suburbs of Chicago offer a wide range of options for pregnant and parenting young moms. Families who enroll meet weekly with a coach who visits them in their homes. Through their coaches, moms learn about their child’s healthy development, how to troubleshoot common parenting challenges like bedtime routines or potty training, practice parenting techniques to improve family well-being, and more! Home Visiting also includes Parent Support Group which is an opportunity to connect with other young moms and discuss their experiences and ask questions.

“What’s unique about our team is that we are very intentional. Each team member takes the time to get to know the families that they work with. We personalize and individualize everything we do so that young moms and their kids can prepare for the futures that they want. Our ultimate goal is to help build strong, thriving families in our community.” – Gail Shelton, Director of Family Support Programs – Oak Park

New Moms supports young families in Oak Park, River Forest, Cicero, Maywood, Forest Park, Berwyn, Bellwood, and Melrose Park.

Say hello to our awesome Family Support Oak Park Team: Gail, Jennifer E., Jenn R., Kimm, Lorena, Noemy, Ronnetta, & Shree!


Meet the Doulas!

The Doula team is a core part of our larger Family Support Teams! At New Moms, expecting moms can partner with our Doulas, coaches who are specifically focused on pregnancy, labor, and post-partum recovery. Doulas support and encourage young women as they prepare for birth and early parenthood. They also help moms navigate the confusing healthcare systems and share information about pregnancy, bonding, and options for breastfeeding.

“To be a doula and do this work, one has to be incredibly passionate. A baby can decide to announce their arrival 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and New Moms’ doulas are incredibly passionate and committed to nurturing powerful connections with each young parent that we support. We work together to ensure that no matter the time of day or night, pregnant and new parents know that in their hour of need, we care about them and there will be a doula ready to answer their phone call and support them on their journey.” – Mary Calderon, Doula

According to national research, doula presence at birth decreases medical interventions at delivery, and reduces labor complications. Doula-supported mothers are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics, have greater breastfeeding success, have a lower incidence of abuse, and lower postpartum depression rates!

Say hello to our committed and compassionate Doulas, Eusebia (Chevy), Mary, & Tia!

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What does coaching look like at New Moms?

At New Moms, we partner with young moms, 24 and under, as they take powerful first steps towards thriving futures. A large part of this work is done through one-on-one coaching. Moms in all three of our programs – Housing, Job Training, and Family Support – are paired with a New Moms coach. Our coaches are allies of resilient families, supporting program participants with tools and resources they need as they navigate parenthood, adolescence, and achieve their goals.

Want to know what this looks like in practice? In this Q&A, New Moms CEO, Laura Zumdahl; Chief Program Officer, Melanie Garrett; and Family Support Specialist, Andrea Serna take a behind-the-scenes look at New Moms’ Family-Centered Coaching (FCC) approach. They’ll explain what FCC is and why New Moms uses this rather than traditional case management to best support our moms.

The interview was adapted from our latest Coffee Chat and has been lightly edited. You can view the full recording here.

Laura Zumdahl: Today we’re here to chat about what coaching looks like at New Moms, and more specifically how our Family-Centered Coaching approach impacts young moms and their children. So let’s dive in! 

Melanie, can you tell us what the Family-Centered Coaching approach is? 

Melanie Garrett: Sure Laura! Family-Centered Coaching is really a mindset and a process that offers a set of strategies and tools that help human service organizations like New Moms better engage with families to achieve their goals. I want to be clear that we did not create Family-Centered Coaching. It was developed with support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, by a group of community organizations, parents and other experts in the field in response to the growing understanding that traditional case management wasn’t working. 

Our goal at New Moms is to empower young moms to lead their families into thriving futures – but using a traditional case management model puts the power in the hands of the provider rather than the participant. So a few years ago, we adapted and implemented the Family-Centered Coaching, or FCC, approach into our work. It’s really shifted our focus on the innate strengths and skills of young moms and to harness these abilities to help set their families up for long-term success. And as you will hear today, at its heart, FCC is a strength-based way to fully engage with families.

Laura: Thank you Melanie for that overview. Andrea, as a coach who works directly with families, could you explain what this looks like in practice? What are the biggest differences between a traditional case-management approach and the Family-Centered Coaching approach?

Andrea Serna: I would say the biggest difference is the end goal you’re working towards. When a young mom comes to her coach with a problem, is the goal just to solve this immediate problem or is it to build up the mom’s ability to solve this and future problems? Traditional case management wants to solve the current problem by telling the mom what to do – giving her a check-list. This isn’t a collaborative or empowering process. The Family-Centered approach on the other hand, seeks to support the mom as she finds a solution to the problem herself.

As Melanie said, at New Moms we want to set families up for long-term success, so rather than just telling them what to do, coaches like me support families as they set and pursue personalized goals. We call this “putting the family in the driver’s seat.”

Laura: Thank you Andrea for clarifying that for us. I want to focus for a moment on the idea of “putting participants in the driver’s seat.” As a coach, what are some of the ways you intentionally center families in your work?

Andrea: It all starts with asking powerful questions like “How can I support you?” “What’s on your mind?” “What’s causing you stress?” “What would you like to work on?” etc. When I have home visits with participants, I ask them to tell me what it is they would like to focus on. 

At New Moms, coaches – also known as Family Support Specialist –have a tool called the Wheel of Life that they use to help participants determine their goals. Moms fill out a questionnaire which asks them to rate their satisfaction in all eight areas of the wheel. This is a powerful visual tool for helping moms see where they might want to start setting goals first.

When it comes to goal setting at New Moms, we also have a tool called the Wheel of Life that we use to help participants determine their goals. Moms fill out a questionnaire which asks them to rate their satisfaction in all eight areas of the wheel. I’ve found this to be a powerful visual tool for helping moms see where they might want to start first.

So after filling out the questionnaire, a mom might realize that she wants to focus first on her financial situation. And with this direction, I can help her set a SMART goal in that area, for example saving 10% of her paycheck for a down payment on a new car over the next three months. I facilitate this exercise, but the entire process is led by the mom.

Laura: Thanks Andrea for sharing your process with us and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at coaching at New Moms. Could you share an example of how this went with one of your participants?

Andrea: Sure! One of my participants was hearing a lot of ideas about how to parent her new baby from her family and friends like “don’t hold your baby too long, you’ll spoil her” and she was getting overwhelmed. One of the areas on the Wheel of Life is “Parenting & Child Development,” so we focused on this and worked together to learn about child development and positive parenting techniques. This helped her create her own ideas and make her own decisions about parenting. It was also important for me to hold her as the expert on her child, and value her knowledge. It was really exciting to see her find her voice and figure out the type of parent she wanted to be!

Then when she had a bad experience with an employer, I was able to point to this previous accomplishment and encourage her to pull from those same strengths to address it. She’s truly learning how to advocate for herself in all types of difficult situations!

Laura: I love this story! What a great example of how our coaches support the moms we serve as they pursue thriving futures. Thank you for sharing. 

I want to zoom out a bit and talk about some of the specific strategies and tools that make up Family-Centered Coaching. Melanie, could you elaborate on this?

There are eight evidence-based approaches under New Moms Family-Centered Coaching approach umbrella: family engagement & coaching; trauma informed care; harm reduction; goal tracking; positive youth development; motivational interviewing; strengths based; and Executive Skills Knowledge.

Melanie: Absolutely. There are eight evidence-based approaches under our  FCC umbrella, and we could spend all day talking about each one but for the sake of time, we will focus on three – Executive Skill Knowledge, Trauma-Informed Care, and Goal Tracking. But if anyone is interested in learning more about the others they can find more information on our website.

Let’s start with one of my favorites – Executive Skills. Earlier we mentioned that Family-Centered Coaching is a strengths-based approach, and Executive Skills knowledge is one way we’re able to identify and cultivate these strengths. Everyone has Executive Skills –  they are the 12 brain-based abilities that govern how we organize things, how we react to things and how we get things done. Coaches help moms identify their strengths and struggles which not only increases their self-awareness, but also helps both coaches and moms better tap into strengths and find ways to mitigate the struggles with weaker executive skills. 

Andrea, would you say that’s an accurate description?

Andrea: Yes, the Executive Skills framework has been great for our participants, especially because it gives coaches and moms a shared language. For example, I had a participant who really looked at herself and realized she struggled to keep her commitments. She was floating between jobs, not sure if she wanted to work at a daycare or develop her own business. Because we use the Executive Skills framework, we were able to connect this to one of her self-identified struggles – “Goal Directed Persistence.” Being able to name this struggle helped us understand it, and we worked together to find ways to lean into her own strengths to mitigate it!

Melanie: Thanks Andrea, that is a great example of using this approach! 

Another component of FCC that is critical at New Moms is Trauma-Informed Care. This framework acknowledges that trauma might be a part of anyone’s story, and that we can acknowledge that those experiences might still be affecting them today. It shifts the focus from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” And, we look for opportunities to build resilience through positive and trusting relationships like those Andrea forms with her participants. 

Andrea: Yeah, acknowledging the past experiences of participants is a crucial part of coaching. It can be really powerful to ask moms questions like “Where do your parenting ideas come from?” to help them connect with their own upbringings. Moms may share about growing up in a variety of stressful or abusive situations, which impacts all areas of their life as adults. By helping them reflect on how they were raised, they can be more intentional about their own parenting.

Recently, I was talking about nutrition with a participant more specifically about what and how toddlers are expected to eat. We talked about how forcing a child to eat everything on their plate can have negative consequences in the future. This mom responded by saying, “Now that we’re talking about it, I had that experience when I was little and now I feel guilty when I don’t eat everything on my plate or I eat when I’m upset.” She made that direct connection with her own past experience which led to a constructive conversation about how she wanted to raise her own children differently.

Click the image above to watch the full recording of our Family-Centered Coaching Coffee Chat!

Melanie: Exactly! Thanks so much for sharing that Andrea. We also apply an understanding of the effects of trauma by adjusting the physical environment, program design, and coaching interactions – like the example Andrea just outlined – at New Moms to reduce the potential for re-traumatization. Again, we recognize everyone may have experienced trauma so coaches work to establish safety, trust, voice, and choice with families.

Okay and lastly, let’s talk about Goal Tracking. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, goals are an important topic at New Moms. Andrea already shared some of the ways she helps moms set goals, but what’s equally as important is how we think about goal attainment.

Participants set their goals and coaches support them by… 

  • Understanding their Executive Skills and how they may result in behaviors
  • Removing barriers to goal achievement by modifying the environment including adapting the space, process, tools, materials, etcetera
  • Asking powerful questions
  • Setting and Tracking SMART Goals 
  • Nudging goal progression and
  •  rewarding goal achievement with rewards/incentives

Coaches help participants craft a quarterly milestone plan which outlines their SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that many of you might be familiar with and we use it when moms are creating goals. It stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. 

This milestone plan provides a structure so participants have a plan they develop and coaches can support moms and help hold them accountable to the goals they set. Andrea, is there anything I missed?

Andrea: I don’t think so Melanie. I would just add that these tools are useful when we check in with moms because the goals are written out step-by-step. I can ask “How did this specific step go? Did you encounter any challenges?” or “What can we celebrate this week?” Even if the larger goal isn’t complete, we still have something to talk about and this incremental progress is powerful.

Laura: Andrea, could you share a story of a mom who was able to accomplish her goals?

Andrea: For sure. I’m thinking of a mom who has been partnered with us for the last two years. Before getting involved with New Moms, she was in an emergency shelter with a 2-month-old baby. Her family kicked her out of the house after they found out she was nine months pregnant. Over the last two years, she has accomplished so much. She’s now a full-time assistant manager, she’s reconnected with her sister, she just got her own market rate apartment, she’s in therapy, and her 2-year-old son is receiving early intervention support as well. 

The consistency of regular home visits allowed me to build trust and rapport with her. We created a space to focus on the things she wanted. She told me that having someone to encourage and celebrate her accomplishments helped her continue forward with her goals. She was so motivated that she has even done presentations about youth experiencing homelessness and services for youth for policy makers and The Night Ministry, which is another Chicago-based human services organization. She’s a real inspiration!

Laura: Incredible! That’s exactly what we want for all moms who partner with New Moms.

Thank you to both Andrea and Melanie for sharing Family-Centered Coaching with us and explaining why New Moms uses this approach when working with young moms.

New Board Members 2021

New Moms is pleased to welcome Gail Davis, Lori Dimun, David Rintz, and Nick Brunick  to our Board of Directors! Each brings impressive leadership experience to their new roles and the desire to serving young families. Thank you, Gail, Lori, David, and Nick, for choosing to add your gifts and talents to the New Moms community. We look forward to working with you!

Open the accordion rows below to learn more about each new member and why they decided to join our Board of Directors.

GAIL DAVIS, CHICAGO TEACHERS’ PENSION FUND
LORI DIMUN, HARRIS THEATER
DAVID RINTZ, MCSHANE CONSTRUCTION
NICK BRUNICK, APPLEGATE & THORNE-THOMSEN

FY2021 – Full Year

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us through this third quarter of fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). Please click the image above to view the full-size report, and here are some highlights:

  • We’ve already served 718 moms and kids this fiscal year.
  • 55% of participants have experienced a decrease in stress. During one of the most stressful years of our time—that is a huge feat!
  • 67 young moms have obtained permanent employment. In a time of increased job insecurity, this is a great success for our moms!
  • 98% of children were up to date on immunizations upon exit—an increase from last year’s 91%, and more important than ever!

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.

President & CEO

New Moms Apparel

Check out our New Moms swag!

We’re excited to announce that we have partnered with CLOZTALK to create a collection of New Moms branded clothing – which is on sale now!

Click Here to Shop!

Become a New Moms ambassador today by purchasing items from our apparel collection. There are items for women, men, and children so the entire family can show their support! Choose from a variety of t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, and more!

View the collection at www.cloztalk.com/collections/new-moms.


CLOZTALK‘s mission is to help other nonprofits raise awareness of their work by creating cool, high-quality apparel with their logos — at no cost to the nonprofits! They believe that clothes can spark conversations, raise awareness, and build communities through human connection.

Watch New Moms Virtual Tour!

Connect with New Moms in an exciting new way!

Sit back and enjoy a virtual guided tour of our spaces and learn about the mission of our organization. No matter where you are, near or far, everyone now can experience the fun of visiting New Moms! During the tour, you’ll travel through each of our three locations – the Transformation Center, the Oak Park Center & Clare Place, and Bright Endeavors – and see how every space contributes to our work with young families. You’ll also learn about the variety of services we offer through our Housing, Job Training, and Family Support programs. We have wanted to offer this opportunity to our extended community for a long time and are proud to share it with you today! We hope you learn something new about who we are and what we do. Watch the full tour to visit all three buildings or select one building at a time, whichever your preference! Click the images below to watch the videos.

New Moms Virtual Tour – Full Tour

Transformation Center

https://player.vimeo.com/video/552985320 Located in the Austin neighborhood, right on Chicago Avenue, the Transformation Center opened in 2013. This building serves as New Moms’ flagship site and contains the majority of our office space for staff, meeting rooms for our supportive programs, a full-service kitchen and cafeteria, private courtyard, and 40 apartments for young families.

Oak Park Center & Clare Place

https://player.vimeo.com/video/552984359 Our Oak Park building opened in 2019. From here, New Moms serves families in eight communities in the near-West suburbs including: Oak Park, River Forest, Maywood, Cicero, Berwyn, Bellwood, and Melrose Park. The first floor includes program space, staff offices, and a children’s play area. The second through fourth floors include 18 apartments of permanent supportive housing.

Bright Endeavors

https://player.vimeo.com/video/552983808 New Moms’ innovative social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, is a critical component of our Job Training program and exists to provide transitional job training and professional skill development for young moms who are working to build strong families. New Moms acquired Bright Endeavors in 2010, and the current facility is located in East Garfield Park.

“Stepping Back to Light the Way” – A Shift the Power Podcast

New Moms was recently featured on Global Learning Partners’ Shift the Power: A Learning-Centered Podcast. The episode highlights the impact of a case study we did together to document our amazing science-informed social enterpriseBright Endeavors. Join Director of Workforce Development Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal and Director of Learning and Innovation Dana Emanuel as they share the impact of the case study one year later – within New Moms and in the broader field. 

Click above to listen to the podcast, and you can also listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or virtually anywhere podcasts are found!

Read the full transcript for the episode below.

In 2019, The Annie E. Casey Foundation commissioned Global Learning Partners to observe New Moms’ implementation of Executive Skills – the brain-based capabilities that act as an “air traffic control system” to help us organize things, plan things, and get things done – into our Job Training program. The goal was to document insights from our work through a learning-centered case study and generate learning tools, videos, and supplemental materials to support others in the field interested in applying Executive Skills to their own work. You can read the full Executive Skills Implementation Case Study and access the companion Implementation Toolkit on our website!

TRANSCRIPT:

Meg (9s): [ INTRO MUSIC] Hello, and welcome to Shift the Power: A Learning-Centered Podcast, where we talk about the revolutionary power of a learning-centered approach. Through this podcast, we hope to inspire creative thinking and provide practical tools and techniques to deepen learning through dialogue.

I’m your host Meg Logue and I’m joined today by my guest co-host and colleague Val Uccellani, who’s a Senior Partner and Co-Owner of GLP. Today we’re also joined by Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal and Dana Emanuel from New Moms. They’re here to talk about the impact of a case study we did together to document their amazing science-informed social enterprise. Welcome Gabrielle and Dana. So to start us off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your organization?

Director of Learning and Innovation Dana Emanuel

Dana (54s): Thanks Meg. We’re so happy to be here. This is Dana Emanuel. I’m New Moms Director of Learning and Innovation, and I’ve been at New Moms in various roles since 2010 and New Moms supports young families as they progress towards and achieve their goals for economic mobility and family well-being in our Job Training, Family Support and Housing programs.

Gabrielle (1m 19s): Hi Meg. Thanks for that wonderful intro. This is Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal speaking. I am the Director of Workforce Development at New Moms, and I’ve been there since 2007 in that role. So we are a transitional jobs training program that works with young moms under the age of 24 in the Chicagoland area, making and manufacturing soy-based candles.

Val (1m 45s): Hi everyone. This is Val and it’s so nice to chat with you, both Dana and Gabrielle today. And you know, before Global Learning Partners came to know you, New Moms had already been what I would call a quiet leader in using insights from behavioral and brain science to inform your work. So I’d love for you to tell our listeners a little bit more about the innovative work that you were doing in this arena and the players involved before we, we met you.

Director of Workforce Development Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal

Gabrielle (2m 16s): Sure. We really started learning about the science of scarcity and its impact on behavior and goals back in- starting around 2015 and 2016, and we entered into a pilot from that point. Since most of our young moms at our agency have experienced some forms of scarcity, such as housing instability, we knew that scarcity and the science of adolescent brain development could really teach us a lot. So in 2016, the Annie E Casey foundation approached our workforce development department, AKA our job training program, to really partner with us for a pilot in translating brain and behavioral science of executive skills into youth focus, job training.

Val (2m 59s): That’s so great Gabrielle, and you can see why Global Learning Partners was rather thrilled when the Casey Foundation in turn reached out to us to see if we could document some of your innovations and bring some of your insights to the larger field of human services. And Global Learning Partners felt fairly well-positioned to do that because we had been working in partnership with Dick Guare and other experts in the brain and behavioral science field, along with Mathematica Policy Research and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, both of whom are really devoted to helping programs make sense of research that’s out there and using it to inform their work.

We knew that a case study of New Moms was a great opportunity to advance the field, and then also I think to provide you all with some valuable reflection time. You know when you’re doing the kind of work that you all do day-in and day-out, it’s hard I think to really carve out a pause time and say, okay, what are we learning? And what is that telling us about where we want to go as we scale this approach to all corners of the organization? So we were, we were really grateful to be able to work with you on this case study and documenting your work, hoping that it would in the end, both celebrate your approach and be a practical examination of it from which we all could learn.

So I’m wondering for you both, what-what were you hoping to get out of the case study? What was your vision of what you’d accomplish from the case study?

Gabrielle (4m 44s): Our vision for embarking on the case study was to create a learning tool for all implementation and program improvement processes. And to really bake executive skills into our program either by writing it down, getting more clear about describing the approach within our programs, training our coaches and also for our participants to really understand and be able to implement this within their own lives, personal and professional, as they advance towards their goals, and recognizing them and building them within their children as well.

Dana (5m 17s): I’ll also say that, you know, we had been intensively focused on executive skills in our workforce development program, and we were seeing such success, among participants and coaches and the outcomes that we were achieving, that we also wanted to scale executive skills-based coaching and goal setting into our housing and family support programs, you know, so that we could support all 400 young moms that New Moms serves a year with executive skills-informed coaching. And so this tool would also give us, like you said, Val,  the time to reflect on what learnings we had in our pilot, so that we could expand it to the whole program. So we really wanted to use that case study as a foundation for internal scaling, as well as a foundation for creating an executive skills implementation tool for other practitioners who wanted to apply executive skills approaches to their programs.

Meg (6m 18s): Wonderful.

Val (6m 19s): Thank you.

Meg (6m 20s): Thank you, Dana and Gabrielle, for laying that vision out. It sounds like such a powerful opportunity to both get that internal clarity, as you said, and also really bring the work that you all are doing – and a clear vision of how you can make this happen in other organizations. So, such a powerful opportunity. So Val, I’m actually gonna turn to you now and just ask you a little bit about when Annie Casey Foundation reached out to you, how did you initially decide to approach the case study? How were we able to, you know, coming from your learning-centered background, how are you able to apply a learning-centered approach in this context of a case study?

Val (7m 5s): You know, Meg, I hear you ask that question now I’m kind of chuckling because how could Global Learning Partners not apply a learning-centered approach to the case study? I think that would have been the greater challenge. Right. You know, but if I think about how really, what- what was driving for us in terms of bringing that approach to the case study, I’d say the first is really to honor the central tenant of a learning-centered approach, which is to actively involve the learners. Right? So in this case study, we knew from the start, that the way this was going to play out was that we would not be objective observers, seeing what we saw sitting at our desks and writing it up.

But rather we were going to actively involve, in this case, the wonderful New Moms team first and foremost, in really thinking through what would be the best approach to the case study, what made most sense, how were we going to prioritize the use of our time on it? What would they most want to see in the end? And then to kind of share our discoveries with the team as we had them, so that they could help us make meaning of what we were seeing and what we were hearing. So very much in dialogue, right, involving the New Moms team. And Dana and Gabrielle, I do want to say how grateful we were that, with all that you all have on your plates, you did carve out the time to do that with us — to really be- be partners and to give us input and reactions along the way.

And I think of one example of that, I know we saw that, although you- y’all had been using the term “executive skills approach”. We thought it might be valuable to the readers of the case study to have a clearer definition of what are really the components of that approach, if we break them down, and then to even have a graphic that visually captures what’s meant by an executive skills approach. And you really co-created that with us. Again, we didn’t sit at our desks and do that. We drafted things up, but certainly it ended up being what it was because we brought our perspectives and- and your perspectives to that.

So that’s an example, Meg, of really actively involving the learners for the case study in the case study itself. And then of course, the New Moms team, in turn, connected us directly to other colleagues at New Moms, as well as the young mothers themselves who participate in the program, so that they also could be active in- in feeding what we were learning and what we were seeing and how we were making meaning out of that.

Meg, if it’s okay with you, I’d love to also share just another way that we brought the learning-centered approach, and this gets a little more tactical, but there’s a tried and true framework of Dialogue Education, which is the system that we use to really implement a learning-centered approach. And, and that framework is Ask, Study, Observe. It’s deceptively simple, but we used that ask, study, observe framework to- to map out what would be the key elements of the case study. And we used it to check ourselves along the way to make sure that we were really looking at this innovative and complex and continually evolving work from many different angles.

So for example, the Study — we studied some of the materials that the New Moms team provided us with, the curricula they use, the handouts and resources that they provide to their participants.

Observe. We also observed, we came, I think it was three times over the course of the development of the case study to Chicago. And we spent some time in the candle factory, which is a beautiful and amazing and inspiring place, but it’s also a very informative place when it came to trying to understand the way the executive skills approach plays out in the rituals of the day-to-day work, there in the candle factory. And we observed classes, the job-readiness classes and saw the way they are really infused with concepts of- of an executive skills approach.

And then finally, I’ll say that that ask, study, observe framework — the Ask portion of it — when you really unpack it, it invites you to think who, who are all the people we should be asking questions of. We had interviews with members of the CABs team with Dick Guare with folks from the Annie Casey Foundation, of course. And we also spoke with staff and participants at New Moms. And we very specifically asked if we could actually follow one small cohort of women from the start of the program to the end, by meeting with them over Zoom at the same time each week, and really hearing whatever was coming up for them in terms of how they were experiencing the use of this executive skills approach in the program. So that-that framework served us, served us well.

Meg (12m 22s): Absolutely. You know, Val, just hearing you talk about that framework and the different components of how we really approach that case study is bringing back a lot of memories for me, of some of my favorite parts of working on that case study project, were the opportunities we had to go to Chicago and be on the floor of the candle-making factory, just seeing the whole process and how, how the executive skills approach was really baked in was fascinating for me as an observer. And I also loved the opportunity, like you mentioned to- to really follow that one cohort from the start to the finish of their program. It was so interesting to hear what they were thinking and feeling as, as the process unfolded, as they went through this program and to see how they really came into their own. And you can, you can see the effectiveness of the approach over the, over that span of time. So I just want to say, thank you, Dana and Gabrielle for letting us get that window into, into your work. Dana and Gabrielle, if you could share, what was the process like for you? What was your experience of- of this journey and some of the highlights from the journey that we had together?

Dana (13m 38s): Well, I will say that partnering with GLP was one of the best engagements with a partner that we’ve had at New Moms. Truly, we saw Ask, Study, Observe framework, like come to life in working with Val and Meg and the rest of the GLP team. You know, from the get-go GLP, you, you were very intentional about working with us to set up mutual goals, really take the time upfront to envision what the end deliverable of this case study could be, what we wanted to get out of it, not just maybe what a funder or what GLP wanted, but what we could gain from this as well. And you all set up a very clear timeline with intermediate deadlines that we stuck to as well. So that’s always a highlight.

I would say too, you know, in a lot of our conversations, Val’s reflective and open-ended questions were truly a model of listening to understand. This Ask piece and part of your framework, it kind of like talking with Val is like going on a walk with a friend, really like the conversations were caring and energizing and also quite purposeful. We knew why we were talking and that’s valuable in a busy workday schedule, you know.

You also mentioned the visual, the graphic that we kind of co-created with you to demonstrate or illustrate the executive skills approach. That was a major highlight for me in thinking about how to, you know, make this approach accessible for an external reader. And I really credit the GLP team for being so creative and thinking about how to present from the learner’s point of view, this executive skills kind of approach. And we use that graphic all the time now in our staff training in our own internal kind of organizational tools and it really has brought so much more color and nuance to our approach.

Gabrielle (15m 40s): I will say, too, when we started this process, we were also in the midst of establishing some fidelity to our new program model. And I think for staff, it was really encouraging to feel like we are on the right track here, we’re doing something right. And something that is bigger than ourselves, that we can really grasp onto as a culture and approach, and really embed not just for this workforce program, but for programs beyond ourselves, even within the other areas that New Moms. What else came out of it, I’ll say is, we really got to observe from a bird’s eye view, what was going on. Things that all staff weren’t able to see — we were operating at two different sites, there’s a lot going on. There’s all the coaching and the program- programmatic elements that were happening as well as the social enterprise and the business operations, and you really got back- got to step back and observe the whole process from beginning to end and give us a really comprehensive view of what was happening and some areas that were, I will say, food for thought.

Meg (16m 49s): I love hearing the fact that this case study afforded you all the opportunity to kind of step out of the day-to-day of scarcity and the scarcity mindset. It sounds like the case study really allowed you all the opportunity to, like you said, Gabrielle, get that bird’s eye view alongside us. So thank you for sharing that.

So in the end, as you all know, we were able to co-create a full case study with text and graphics, as well as a short video with highlights that kind of gave us the overview of the longer case study. And both of those things live on your New Moms website, along with a wonderful toolkit that you all created to guide other projects through the use of this ES approach. How- I’m curious to hear a little bit more about the impacts. You know, it’s been a little while since that case study was completed. How has the case study really shifted your thinking? And what were some of the key takeaways for you, for your teams and maybe New Moms more broadly?

Gabrielle (17m 54s): One of the things that stood out specifically was our- our work around environmental modifications. And environmental modifications is really how you modify the environment when it comes to physical space or materials or task or certain processes and procedures to really help alleviate barriers and support participant goal achievement. And what we found is that that was kind of the hidden element, if you will, of- of the- of the approach. It’s one of the most influential things that we were doing in our program, but we weren’t explicitly calling it out as much as we should.

And so we really got to think about what are some ways that we can incorporate more guidance, not only about how to use this in our day-to-day coaching, when our participants are in program, but how they can use this in their own personal lives to move towards their goals once they are complete with our program and also how to build this just in their everyday lives, beyond New Moms, Bright Endeavors, right? So what we have certainly done is now we just call it by name and we weren’t necessarily doing that before, or we’re very clear about when we are experiencing barriers in their personal coaching, or when we are thinking about how to pivot things on the production floor.

We say, okay, let’s think about some of the environmental modifications that we could make here. Instead of saying, you know, how can we brainstorm to solve this problem? We really explicitly call it out now. And we weren’t doing that as much before. And so that is one area of growth, definitely. The other area of growth that we have used is this idea around executive skills knowledge. And again, executive skills, knowledge is really learning how your executive skills develop and manifest as behaviors in a workforce setting, and really using this information to guide conversation with your colleagues and your- or the other participants when you’re in program, and using your executive skills profile to do that.

And so we always had them take their executive skills profile, and it is a self-assessment, and then we have a board, if you will, in which all of our executive skills, strengths and struggles, are displayed. And so we’re able to really appeal to how to help each other maximize strengths and mitigate struggles in our work at Bright Endeavors.

Dana (20m 31s): The other thing, if I can chime in here as well, that this case study helped to shift our thinking about how we, you know, scaled executive skills from Gabrielle’s Job Training program, to our Housing and Family Support programs too. We kind of adopted the learning-centered approach that we had observed Val and Meg, you take with the Job Training team and the case study by thinking about like, okay, how can we translate with our coaches and our participants in the Housing and Family Supports programs? How can we translate what we learned in job training to their programs?

So we actively involved the coaches and participants from the other programs in building out the strategies and tools for their programs. And that made the scaling and implementation, the adaptive change, for those programs much easier as well. And it helped set us up to create an agency-wide theory of change that is grounded in executive skills, environmental modifications, executive skills knowledge, and practice of executive skills-based goal setting. And that really helped, it was a result I would say, of the case study and the clarity that we got from that shift in mindset from that case study process.

Val (21m 59s): Thank you both for reflecting on some of those impacts of the case study. I’m wondering what ripple effects you’ve seen or you expect from this investment, really, that was made in documenting your innovative work?

Dana (22m 16s): Just as the executive skills case study was getting published and posted on our website. We started to hear from other workforce development organizations and peer human service organizations that they were curious about learning more about executive skills. So we were thrilled to have the case study and then our implementation toolkit that we created as a supplemental and complimentary document available and ready to- to share. So right, after- just a couple months after the case study was published Gabrielle and I were able to do a training with about 50 workforce development practitioners on the executive skills approach — using Meg, your graphic visual, and some of the other visuals from the case study.

And from there, we were able, we’ve also been able to provide one-on-one training and technical assistance for organizations that have read the case study, tried to start to use the toolkit and want to continue to deepen their executive skills strategies in their programs. So we have seen the ripple effects of the case study through the excitement from the workforce development landscape and from the opportunity that other organizations are going to have to implement executive skills, based on this case study.

Val (23m 40s): That’s so great. I’m going to jump in here with just a reaction to that as I’m listening to your last comments, and really so many of your comments throughout this conversation today, I’m realizing what a contribution you all are making to the field. Not only by deeply studying the brain and behavioral science and looking at ways that you can take that research and apply it to your program, but by really being conduits to the field for folks who would not otherwise take the time to really study the research and make enough sense of it, to apply it to their programs. You know, researchers are great at communicating their research to other researchers typically. It’s the rare few who really focus on how are we going to translate this so that it makes sense to decision-makers and practitioners in the field. And so the fact that you all are not only taking that research and making your program better by it, but also putting yourself out there to say, we can help translate this for other programs. I just, I- I know that you’re making a huge contribution by doing that.

Dana (24m 59s): Thank you.

Gabrielle (24m 60s): Thank you for that, Val.

Meg (25m 2s): Val, I’m curious to hear from you just to kind of wrap us up. What do you feel is a key takeaway for other learning designers or facilitators who might be curious about how to bring a learning-centered approach to an opportunity like this one?

Val (25m 18s): You know, Meg, if I could start off with a thought that’s surfacing now that wouldn’t have surfaced, if you’d even asked me 15 minutes ago, and it’s- it’s really centered on the learning-centered principles that often go unnamed, but are undergirding everything, everything we do in the field. One of those principles that’s calling out to me right now is that principle of respect. And I think from our very first encounter with New Moms, we-we knew that everything they do is also driven by that principle of respect. The way staff talk with each other, the way staff interact with participants, the way decisions are made in the program is really so respectful of what’s happening in the lives of the women who are assumed to be, or are new moms.

And so I think bringing that same principle of respect to the case study, respecting the work that we were there to honor and celebrate and communicate, but also respecting all of the people involved in that work and trying to make sure that by doing the case study, we weren’t interfering with the work, but we were supporting it. And so, yeah, respecting the work and respecting the people doing that work when conducting a case study, I think is one of the first things I’m really gonna say, I’d encourage others to keep in mind as they approach tasks like this.

Meg (26m 55s): Thank you, Val. Those are very important insights. And I know you can’t see me, but I just was enthusiastically nodding my head throughout everything that you just said, especially, especially the piece about the, the respect that we could see and feel on the floor at New Moms, everywhere that we went. It was so clear to me that this is a program that is founded on respect for the young women that you are working with. You could see and feel it everywhere you went at New Moms.

Val (27m 29s): For sure. And if I may, on a more maybe practical level for those listening say, yeah, give me something more practical about doing a case study. I want to say that, you know, case studies often are long written documents. And I won’t say that we didn’t create a long written document, we did. And yet we were well aware that there’s a lot of folks out there who would benefit from what the case study has to offer, who are not going to read a long written document. And so, again, gratitude to New Moms to being flexible about how we also wanted to create a snapshot. We created a journey, a visual journey of a participant’s experience in the workforce development program.

What happens first? What happens next? What happens after that? And then in a one-pager really showing some highlights of how the executive skills approach is integrated into each step of that journey. And I know that there are some people out there who didn’t read anything else in the case study, except maybe that one-pager. And then we invited Gabrielle to do a video with us, a short video and Meg your production of that, and Gabrielle your presence in that I thought was just marvelous in that it gave people yet another vehicle, right, for accessing the content of the case study without having to read a word.

So I think I would just encourage listeners to also think in terms of what are the different ways in which you can communicate the findings of a case study so that busy folks in the field can access them.

Meg (29m 10s): Huge, absolutely huge. Could not agree more. Well I’d- I’d also love to hear Dana and Gabrielle, what might you share with other organizations that are doing similar work, where they feel like they’re a leader in the field and they might be interested in documenting the innovations that they’re involved in? What advice would you have for them?

Gabrielle (29m 32s): I think my advice would be don’t hesitate. I think initially I may have had a little bit of hesitation at the thought of folks just coming in and watching us for- for a period of time. But like I mentioned earlier, it was very respectful. It really boosted morale. It really showed a lot of the-the beginning to end processes that were happening because you can’t be everywhere at once. If you’re a leader of something like this it’s really hard to be in all places. And especially if you have a commitment to fidelity and a commitment to amplify the participant voice, it is something important to- to really consider, to make sure that you are actually doing the work that you think you are.

And so I would say don’t hesitate. It was a- it was a wonderful experience. And it wasn’t all good all the time, right? When you are doing this type of work and you are in service to people, in the way that we are, things can get ugly at times. And you all saw it all, and we were happy for you to see it and to experience that- what it is to be on the ground, with you being in service to people and really walking people through some of the hardest times of their lives. So I was really grateful that you got to be there and experience the process, but at the end of the day, you saw the respect and the care and the commitment to the values that we have as an agency to our participants, and how they held themselves up to a certain standard because of their interactions with us.

So — don’t hesitate. It- it was a wonderful experience. I would-I would do it again. And I would encourage anyone who was on the fence to- to jump over.

Dana (31m 25s): I concur Gabrielle. And I would say that for anybody who is on the fence and is wondering how to jump over, to take a moment to like close your eyes, if that’s comfortable, and imagine what could be the result or the possibilities that come from documenting your innovations. What audacious things could happen from this. And we were lucky that Val led us through that type of exercise at the beginning of ours, of our process and we encourage any of the listeners to imagine for a moment what could come from it. And then also to commit to engaging many different perspectives in your documentation.

So this case study is so much better because GLP talked with Gabrielle, members of New Moms’ Executive Leadership team, other coaches in the Job Training program, the staff at Bright Endeavors, our social enterprise, and spent a lot of time observing, asking our participants about their experience. And with that breadth of perspective, we really emerged with a much fuller picture and truer case study. And that would be my advice, is to really engage your full team of perspectives in documenting whatever innovations you are involved with.

Meg (32m 49s): Thank you both! Such inspiring words. I want to thank you for joining us today, for sharing your experience and your perspectives on what was for me, one of my favorite projects that I have worked on in my time with GLP. So thank you, Dana and Gabrielle, for joining us and sharing today.

Gabrielle (33m 8s): You’re welcome, Meg. Thank you.

Dana (33m 10s): Thanks so much.

Val (33m 12s): Thank you.

Meg (33m 13s): And now to our audience, our listeners, I encourage you to go to New Moms’ website and check out the case study, the executive summary, the video, all of the things that we’ve been referencing throughout this episode. And also to our listeners as always, we end with an away question for you to really pause and ponder what you’ve heard today.

So here is your away for today: What innovative work are you involved in that you’d like to reflect on and convey to others? How might you maximize the learning that comes from such an effort?

[ OUTRO MUSIC ] Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Shift the Power: A Learning-Centered podcast. This podcast is produced by Global Learning Partners and Greg Tilton with music by Una Walkenhorst. To find out more about Global Learning Partners, whether it be our course offerings, consulting services, free resources or blogs, go to www.globallearningpartners.com. We invite you to sign up for our mailing list, subscribe to our podcast, and find us on social media to continue the dialogue. If you enjoy the show, please consider leaving us a review on Apple podcasts or your preferred podcast playing [OUTRO MUISIC FADES]


This show is produced by Global Learning Partners and Greg Tilton JR.

Theme music: ‘Pretty Face’ by Una Walkenhorst.

New Moms celebrates Black Maternal Health Week 2021

This Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17 2021), New Moms and our candle-making social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, are excited to partner with Black Mamas Matter Alliance to spread awareness on Black maternal health and how New Moms directly works to help improve the health of the mothers in our programs, ~75% of which identify as African-American. Check out all the statistics and research we shared over the past week below, and thank you for supporting New Moms as we partner with young moms to meet their health and well-being goals! You can also support young moms in our programs by purchasing essentials from our special Black Maternal Health Amazon Registry. All items are shipped directly to our office to be distributed to families. 

Shop the BMHW Registry

What is Black Mamas Matter Alliance? From their website: The Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) is a national network of black women-led organizations and multi-disciplinary professionals who work to ensure that all Black Mamas have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy. BMMA honors the work and historical contributions of black women’s leadership within their communities and values the need to amplify this work on a national scale. For this reason, BMMA does not have chapters. The alliance is composed of existing organizations and individuals whose work is deeply rooted in reproductive justice, birth justice, and the human rights framework. What is Black Maternal Health Week? From BMMA’s website: The fourth annual national Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) campaign, founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, will be a week of awareness, activism, and community building intended to:

  • Deepen the national conversation about Black maternal health in the US;
  • Amplify community-driven policy, research, and care solutions;
  • Center the voices of Black Mamas, women, families, and stakeholders;
  • Provide a national platform for Black-led entities and efforts on maternal health, birth and reproductive justice; and
  • Enhance community organizing on Black maternal health.

Black Maternal Health Week takes place every year from April 11 –17. The month of April is recognized in the United States as National Minority Health Month – a month-long initiative to advance health equity across the country on behalf of all racial and ethnic minorities. Additionally, we are joining dozens of global organizations who are fighting to end maternal mortality globally in advocating that the United Nations recognize April 11th as the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights. The campaign and activities for Black Maternal Health Week serve to amplify the voices of Black mamas and center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements.

DAY 1:

On Day 1 of Black Maternal Health Week, we discussed Black mothers’ mental health.

DID YOU KNOW? Black mothers are more likely to suffer from PMADs (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders) like postpartum depression, in silence, and without clinical help. (Source Archives of Women’s Health)

At New Moms, 62.9% of moms in our Job Training program in FY2020 decreased their level of parental stress—a huge feat considering we all faced a new level of stress with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Heightened stress levels can create negative health outcomes including headaches, depression, heart problems, and a weakened immune system—all made even more pertinent due to the pandemic (American Psychological Association). By lowering stress levels, moms are able to protect themselves and their children from negative health and mental health effects, and also focus on working towards achieving their goals for the future. As Job Training alum Julissa said, “New Moms helped me learn to cope with mom life and work and dealing with stress.” You can learn more about tools New Moms uses to help young moms deal with stress on our COVID-19 response page here.

DAY 2:

On Day 2 of #BlackMaternalHealthWeek through Day 4 we talked about the benefits of Doulas. Doulas, also known as birth coaches, work with expecting mothers to support them during their birth experience. Pregnant women referred to New Moms are encouraged to engage with a Doula. Doulas provide support and education for mothers from 28 weeks into their pregnancy to six weeks after the baby is born. As New Moms’ Doula, Mary Calderon says, “Being a Doula is all about empowering the mom. I provide physical, informational, and emotional support.” 

DID YOU KNOW? Research indicates that 22% of Black women receive lower quality of care than white women and are subject to discrimination in the healthcare field (Source: RSAP).

However, studies show that perinatal community-based models of care offer enhanced care and support throughout the pre-pregnancy to postpartum spectrum, including doula and midwifery childbirth services to pregnant women who face barriers to care (Source: CAP). In FY2020, 95 young moms in our Family Support program engaged with a Doula. New Moms’ doulas encourage young women as they prepare for birth and early parenthood, advocate for moms through confusing and oftentimes biased healthcare systems, and coach moms about the physical, emotional, and mental stages of pregnancy, bonding, and options for breastfeeding. As former participant, and now current employee, Olivia Edwards said about her Doula during her time in the Family Support program, “She taught me so much and if I had a question about anything the doors were opened.” Doulas at New Moms work hard to ensure young moms are getting the best care possible, and we are so grateful for all the amazing work they do! To learn more about what it’s like to be a Doula, check out our blog post, “Doula: A Witness to Beauty.”

DAY 3:

Day 3 of #BlackMaternalHealthWeek we talked all about breastfeeding and Doulas!

DID YOU KNOW? Only about 66% of Black infants are breastfed compared to more than 82% of White and Latinx moms, and hospitals in areas with higher percentages of Black residents were less likely to provide adequate breastfeeding information and support to new mothers (Source: CDC).

The theme of this year’s Black Maternal Health Week is “Claiming our Power, Resilience, and Liberation,” and Doulas are a big part of helping pregnant women and young moms claim that power. One way Doulas help moms claim their power is by encouraging and educating them in breastfeeding and bonding, putting moms in control of their choices. And at New Moms, 88% of young moms with a Doula-attended birth initiated breastfeeding. If moms have the ability and choose to breastfeed, its benefits are bountiful for both mom and baby. For mom, they include benefits such as lowering the risk of diseases like breast cancer, postpartum depression, and diabetes; increased bonding between mom and baby, and cost-effectiveness (free!). And benefits for baby can include but are not limited to: reduces the risk of SIDS and fights disease and infection; obtaining antibodies and nutrients that can increase brain development and IQ, cognitive and motor skills, and development for preterm infants (Sources: Black Girls’ Breastfeeding Club and Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association). We at New Moms are proud to have a team of committed Doulas who help moms claim their power to initiate breastfeeding, improving health outcomes for themselves and their baby!

To learn more about Black Maternal Health at New Moms, join us TOMORROW, 4/14 for Coffee Chat: Black Maternal Health, in which you can join us for a brief, virtual Q&A with New Moms staff as they discuss the unique challenges Black pregnant women and new moms face because of systemic racism in healthcare. 

Skin to skin contact after birth, breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, and rooming in (mother and infant staying in the same hospital room day and night) are all practices that will help moms bond early with their baby and have a solid start to breastfeeding (Source: Source: Black Girls’ Breastfeeding Club). 

Doulas encourage breastfeeding and bonding, putting moms in control of their choices. According to national research, doula presence at birth decreases medical interventions at delivery, and reduces labor complications. Doula-supported mothers are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics, have greater breastfeeding success, have a lower incidence of abuse, and lower postpartum depression rates (Source: dona.org).

DAY 4:

On Day 4 of #BlackMaternalHealthWeek we discussed health disparities Black pregnant women face, how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated those disparities, and how Doulas work to combat them. On this day, we also hosted our second Coffee Chat with New Moms, focusing on Black maternal health. Click here or view the recording of that webinar below!

DID YOU KNOW? Black pregnant women are three to four times more likely to die from complications during pregnancy compared to white women (Source: American Heart Association). And now the pandemic is magnifying that problem. Of the COVID-19 pregnancy cases reported in Illinois, Black women make up 23% (Source: Chicago Tribune). Pregnant people who contract COVID-19 are also at an increased risk for exhibiting severe illness—including illness that results in ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and death—compared with non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth. (Source: CDC) 

According to national research, doula presence at birth decreases medical interventions at delivery and reduces labor complications (Source: dona.org). Though New Moms’ services have had to shift during the pandemic to be primarily virtual, Doulas are still able to use video-conferencing to arm participants with the information they need to advocate for themselves within a biased healthcare system. As Doula Mary Calderon explained to the Chicago Tribune, through these virtual visits she talks with pregnant women about finding healthy food and the impact that can have on their babies, the importance of prenatal care and meeting with doctors, and she encourages them to speak up at appointments. Marlene Durand, a Family Support participant who had Mary as a Doula, said weekly calls with Mary made her feel supported, and “She always let me know that she’s proud of me and what I’m doing, and that I’m a very strong woman,” she said. “I really love that, because sometimes you just need to hear that.” Read more about how COVID-19 disproportionately affects pregnant women of color and New Moms’ work to rectify that here, and read more of Mary and Marlene’s conversations in this Chicago Tribune article detailing how Doulas and postpartum home visits may be covered under Medicaid in a new Illinois proposal.

We are also happy to share that Governor Pritzker has also passed a policy that will protect mothers 12 months postpartum—aimed at reducing the rate of maternal morbidity and mortality—a huge win for Black mothers and pregnant women, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Click here to read the full announcement and policy details. 

Click this image to view the recording from our Coffee Chat on Black maternal health, recorded on Wednesday, 4/14.

DAY 5:

On Day 5 of #BlackMaternalHealthWeek our topic was reproductive health. 

DID YOU KNOW? Black women are more likely than white women to report using a contraceptive method associated with lower efficacy (e.g., withdrawal, condoms), or no contraception at all (Source: AJOG). Black women disproportionately lack necessary reproductive healthcare—including contraception, STI screenings, abortion, and reproductive cancer screenings. This leaves them vulnerable to many risk factors around pregnancy. Recent improvements in maternal and infant health across the 20th century are due, in part, to expanded contraceptive access and use (Source: CDC).

New Moms’ Family-Centered Coaching (FCC) approach puts young families at the center of our program delivery—partnering with young moms and their kids in a “2-Generation” approach, placing moms in the driver’s seat as they construct the foundation for their family’s well-being. Embodying FCC values means we believe everyone has the strength, skills, and potential to set and achieve their goals, and this is grounded in a racial equity perspective. We’ve integrated an FCC toolkit across our programs to guide coaches in discussing a variety of topics with participants, ensuring that moms are always the ones in control of their goals.  

One of the many topics in the FCC toolkit is reproductive health. We believe that good reproductive health ensures that mothers are receiving adequate prenatal, birth, and postpartum health care. Providing non-judgmental resources and support enables mothers to normalize the importance of preventative and ongoing reproductive medical care as a means to taking ownership of her life and accomplishing her goals. The toolkit includes actions for coaches to follow to make moms feel best supported in their reproductive health concerns, and powerful questions to ask moms to help them feel comfortable and also to prepare them for any reproductive health issues they may face. Equipped with support and knowledge from their coaches, 98.7% of participants in our Housing program in FY20 chose to delay having another child. As we shared yesterday, pregnant people, especially pregnant people of color, are more vulnerable to contracting and experiencing severe COVID-19 infections, so delaying subsequent pregnancy can be a powerful choice for a mom to protect her reproductive health. We are proud that New Moms’ coaches work hard to provide a supportive, open, and non-judgmental environment for young mothers to ask and be asked powerful questions, and talk through their reproductive plans and concerns with their coach. 

Want to support young moms and pregnant women? Purchase items off our special Black Maternal Health Amazon Registry, where you can directly send hygiene and personal care products to moms in our programs, here.

DAY 6:

On Day 6 of #BlackMaternalHealthWeek, we talked about access to healthcare coverage and how that impacts health outcomes for families of color.

DID YOU KNOW? Black and Latinx people are more likely to be uninsured than white people (Source: CDC). Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly one in three Hispanic Americans and one in five Black Americans were uninsured, compared to about one in eight white Americans (Source: Brookings Institution).

Access to affordable health insurance is one of the many factors, also called social determinants of health, that put racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from preventable causes. Many people will forgo doctor’s visits until their problems are too severe to ignore because adequate care is too expensive. At New Moms, our coaches work one-on-one with participants to set and pursue their goals around health and health coverage. Our Family Support Coaches refer moms to partner healthcare providers, help moms apply for medical benefits, and offer mental healthcare resources while reducing taboo and judgment about accessing these services. In fact, 96% of our participants have a medical home, which is critical to ensuring long-term family well-being.

Access to health coverage is also tied to stable employment. While COVID-19 has affected all of us, it has had a tremendous, immediate impact on the families New Moms serves. The pandemic has exacerbated employment loss, especially for young moms in front-line retail, manufacturing, and service industries. And with the loss of a job comes the loss of health benefits. Destiny, a resident at New Moms’ Transformation Center, lost her job as a field worker for the Census. This meant she had to pay out-of-pocket for her daughter’s Vitamin-D drops while struggling to pay all of her other bills. Fortunately, as part of New Moms’ COVID-19 response, we partnered with organizations to provide direct financial relief to families in our programming. Destiny said, “I felt relief, that there was hope. I took care of everything I needed to with the money.” You can read more about our cash transfer initiative in this blog post. New Moms’ Job Training program also directly supports young moms to find stable employment that can help them secure healthcare benefits. Our employment specialists work with young moms up to two years post-graduation as they navigate the job market.

Looking for ways to support young moms as they work to build stable futures for their families? Click here to purchase essential items to support young families in New Moms programs from our special Black Maternal Health Amazon Registry.

DAY 7: 

On Day 7, the last day of #BlackMaternalHealthWeek we discussed toxic stress and how it takes a toll on the long-term health and well-being of moms of color.

DID YOU KNOW? Living in poverty and experiencing scarcity can impact brain development and negatively affect long-term individual and community health (Source: Harvard Center for the Developing Child).

At New Moms, we partner with moms, 24 and under, as they take powerful first steps toward economic mobility and family well-being. However, this work is not easy for young families. Institutional and systemic racism perpetrated against Black and Brown people, bias against adolescent moms, and disinvestment in communities of color create an environment full of toxic stress — the experience of strong, frequent, and/or prolonged exposure to stressful situations. 

Living in poverty and experiencing scarcity are major sources of toxic stress. The absence of basic essentials or lack of security can overwhelm the brain’s cognitive bandwidth, making it challenging for people to make decisions that support their long-term well-being. As New Moms Doula Mary Calderon says, “When a woman is experiencing chronic stress from scarcity, not having enough food, not knowing where she’s going to live, being unemployed, chronic stress from racism, that seeps in on a cellular level.” Since 97% of the young families that come to New Moms are experiencing poverty, reducing stress by meeting basic needs and modifying the environment to make accessing resources less taxing, is a vital way we support our participants. Relieving the stress of basic needs alleviates the “tax” on a mom’s brain and makes it easier for her to focus on setting other family goals — like housing, education, financial independence, long-term employment, etc.

New Moms coaches regularly provide essential supplies like bus cards, diapers/wipes/formula, kids’ clothing/coats, cleaning and home care supplies to participants. All of these items are generously donated by our New Moms community. During the pandemic, the need for basic necessities has only increased, and you can see how our Family Support Specialists continue to meet the needs of families by reading this blog post. New Moms also partners with organizations like The #EveryWoman Project to provide feminine hygiene products to moms. You can learn more about their work on their website. We’re proud to say that because of this commitment to meeting the basic needs of families, 96% of participants felt supported by the program and their peers (as reported on the Group Connection Survey).

A great way to show your support for young moms of color and have an immediate impact on the lives of our families is to purchase basic necessities from our special Black Maternal Health Amazon Registry. All items are shipped directly to our office to be distributed to families.


Thank you so much for joining us for this year’s Black Maternal Health Week, founded by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and for taking the time to learn more about how New Moms is working to improve the health of the young moms we partner with — supporting them as they work towards their goal of achieving long-term well-being for themselves and their families.

We look forward to #BMHW22!

FY2021 – Quarter 3

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us through this third quarter of fiscal year 2021 (January 1, 2021 – March 31, 2021). Please click the image above to view the full-size report, and here are some highlights:

  • We’ve already served 637 moms and kids so far this fiscal year. Having served 846 last fiscal year, we are well on our way to serving more families this year!
  • 57% of participants have experienced a decrease in stress. During one of the most stressful years of our time—that is a huge feat!
  • 53 young moms have obtained permanent employment. We are way over halfway to our goal (75) before the end of the fiscal year! In a time of increased job insecurity, this is a great success for our moms.
  • 94% of children were up to date on immunizations upon exit—an increase from last year’s 91%, and more important than ever.

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.

President & CEO

New Moms’ FY20 Annual Report is here!

New Moms is thrilled to share our latest Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020)!

Inside you’ll find highlights of how our mission played out in the past fiscal year. We saw transformation in the lives of many young families, and we hope that as you read this report you will get a beautiful look into what that means. Additionally, this report spotlights our long-held commitment to racial equity and how this has informed the formation of our programming from the inside out.

While the pandemic created challenges to how we worked with young moms and their children, we were reminded of an essential truth as we navigated through the past year: our mission matters, now more than ever.

Please click here or the image above to view our report. We hope you enjoy it, and thank you for being part of the transformation!

Warmly,

Laura Zumdahl New Moms President & CEO

Show moms you see them this Mother’s Day.

This Mother’s Day, recognize the hard work and determination of moms in your community

DONATE TO HONOR MOMS

Being a mother is tough, no matter who you are. Add barriers like lack of a supportive community, systemic racism, unstable housing, and job loss — and it can make it feel impossible. Moms in our programs face these barriers with grit and courage, even during a pandemic when these challenges have been magnified.

So this Mother’s Day, we’re giving you the opportunity to show the moms in our programs, and mother figures in your life, that you see and appreciate the effort they make every day.

You see their commitment, their love, their fierceness, and the obstacles they work to overcome.

Here’s how you can show your gratitude:

  • Donate $25(+) and write a note of appreciation and recognition for the moms in New Moms’ programs. We will print these notes out and post them up in the windows at our Transformation Center for families to see. Donate by May 5th to make sure your note is included.
  • Donate $100(+), and, in addition to a note for moms at New Moms, you can also send a candle from New Moms’ social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, to a mother in your life. Donate by April 30th to make sure the candle arrives on time for Mother’s Day.

When you give to New Moms this Mother’s Day, you’re telling all moms “I see you.” Thank you for supporting moms, and showing them just how much they matter. 

DONATE TO HONOR MOMS


Need an idea for your note of appreciation to moms in our programs? Here are a couple of ideas for inspiration:

  • You probably don’t get told this enough but you’re amazing! Your strength is inspiring and the love you share with others makes a difference in the world. Thank you for giving motherhood your all!
  • Thank you for all of the hard work you put into being the best mom you can be. Your family and your community are better because of the compassion, determination, and thoughtfulness you share. You rock!

Meet New Moms’ Parent Advisory Council

(Header image: A group photo from the second meeting of New Moms’ Parent Advisory Board which met on Zoom in February 2021.)

It is our pleasure to introduce New Moms’ inaugural Parent Advisory Council — or PAC for short! The Parent Advisors are a group of eight amazing alumnae from across all New Moms programs who were selected from a pool of nominated applicants. The Parent Advisors are committed to sharing their experience and wisdom as young moms to improve our programming for future families.

As one of the Parent Advisor put it, “I can share my opinions on what I believe will help the program remain successful. I can relate to most mothers who have or will become a part of New Moms programs. I am also an outspoken person who wants opinions and ideas to matter.”

Since its debut, the PAC has had three meetings over Zoom in which the Parent Advisors have spent time getting to know one another, brainstormed ideas for improving program recruitment and outreach during the pandemic, and explored ways to support young moms enrolling and persisting in post secondary education.

New Moms’ Family-Centered Coaching approach affirms young families’ innate skills and strengths, engages them where they are right now, and partners with them for long-term success.

New Moms’ goal for creating a Parent Advisory Council is to improve the effectiveness of our services by prioritizing the expertise, insight, and recommendations of young moms who experienced our programs firsthand. Young moms know best what their families need to succeed. By centering their voices, New Moms hopes to co-design and grow programs that better address the needs of the families we serve.

“We believe that families are the experts in their own lives,” said Dana Emanuel, Director of Learning and Innovation at New Moms. “As the experts, they should be at the center of setting their goals for the future and also creating the programs that help them achieve the goals that they set.”

The current Council is made up of eight moms all with cross-program experience at New Moms. For now, Parent Advisors will serve a one-year term and anticipate meeting 6-8 times this year, although this could be redefined by future councils. Parent Advisors are paid for their time and expertise. While New Moms staff helped shape the framework of the council, the goal is that the advisors will not only sit at the table, but also set the table in the year(s) to come. Parent Advisors are key ambassadors and thought partners and over time will have additional opportunities to lead at New Moms.

When creating the PAC, New Moms staff talked with our peers in the field and reviewed new research on how to build an authentic participant-led advisory council. This process helped us build a guiding framework.

“We aren’t the first. There are a lot of agencies that are doing this really well,” said Melanie Garrett, Chief Program Officer at New Moms. “But we see the importance and the value. If you think about the Black Lives Matter movement and what happened this summer, that was led by young people. Young people have energy, power, wisdom, and experience and we want to tap into that. Young people are really creating change and so we need to make sure we’re working in collaboration and following their lead.” 

Many of the current Parent Advisors said they see the PAC as an opportunity to pay forward the support and benefits they received from New Moms.

“The program really helped me become a better person and I would like to help others have a great experience as well,” said one Parent Advisor.

When advisors applied for a spot on the Council, many also shared their commitment to women’s empowerment — for future moms and themselves.

“I feel like it’s a great way to give back by being a voice for other young mothers. This opportunity will help my growth in leadership as well.”

This Council has been a long time in the making, and we are excited for its successful launch. It would not have been possible without the planning, prepping, and facilitating of key staff members including: Chief Program Officer Melanie Garrett; Director of Workforce Development, Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal; Director of Learning and Innovation, Dana Emanuel; and Family Support Specialists, Andrea Serna and Noemy Cespedes.

If you are inspired by this project, you too can support New Moms’ Parent Advisory Council! A donation to New Moms ensures that we can provide the platform, the technology, and the compensation for Parent Advisors as we improve our programs.

Click here to make a gift today! Donate: www.newmoms.org/donate

Join New Moms’ Associate Board!

Are you a young professional interested in making a significant impact in the lives of young moms and their children? Then consider joining New Moms’ Associate Board to support our mission, raise dollars, and generate awareness for New Moms!

The Associate Board is composed of a group of emerging leaders who dedicate their own time, talents, networks and resources to raise awareness and support the mission of New Moms. As an ambassador for the organization, each Associate Board member must express and demonstrate a commitment to the mission and vision of New Moms.

Want to join? Please read the full Associate Board member role description below and click here to apply, and we’ll reach out to you about the application process. For questions, contact our Director of Development & Communications Jenna Hammond at jhammond@newmoms.org or 773.413.3451 x 114.

Impact Stories From Young Moms

Jessica from Housing:

“Having a place for my children and myself to be able to come home to and call somewhere home is more than I could have asked for.” -Jessica, Housing Participant

Jessica and her kids were one of the first families to move into Clare Place, New Moms’ permanent supportive housing in Oak Park. Before New Moms, Jessica had been bouncing around from place to place with her children after being kicked out of her mother-in-law’s house. She said the best part of Clare Place is that she’s able to give her growing children their own room.

As part of the housing program, Jessica’s family partners with one of our New Moms coaches who is there to help them set and pursue their goals for the future. Jessica said her coach, Paula, is “amazing” and is a good listener always encourages Jessica to follow her dreams. Jessica’s plans for the future include finding another job in health care. She was laid off because of the pandemic but wants to get back into the field by pursuing a Registered Nurse (RN) degree and becoming a pediatric nurse.

Shutia from Job Training:

“I’m gaining all the tools I need to be successful. They teach us things we can take with us through life.” -Shutia, Production Assistant in Job Training

Shutia is the proud mother of three young boys but as a single mother, she feels double the pressure to provide for her children. This is why losing her job at Marshalls during the pandemic was especially stressful. She could only buy the essentials and had to keep to a strict family budget.

Since many customer service jobs have disappeared because of COVID-19, Shutia decided to enroll in New Moms’ Job Training program. She said she enjoys being a production assistant at our social enterprise candle-making company, Bright Endeavors, because likes working with the other moms in the program. Shutia’s goal is to save $1,000 by the end of her 12 weeks in the program so she can move into her own apartment. To accomplish this, New Moms helped Shutia open her first ever savings account. In addition to making her feel stable, Shutia is also excited by the new possibilities available to her family.

Lauryn from Family Support:

“I was determined that I have to get my degree and have this baby. I really had a really great support system. People there to give me an extra push.” -Lauryn, Family Support Participant

Lauryn was pursuing her Associate’s degree at Trident College and starting a new job when she found out she was pregnant. Lauryn’s long-term plan included earning her business degree and eventually owning her own property management business. With the news of her pregnancy, she remained committed to those goals but knew she also needed special support to help her transition into motherhood.

She partnered with a New Moms doula and personal coach to support her through her pregnancy. And with additional help from her mom and boyfriend, she was able to graduate with her Associates in April 2020. It took hard work – she even turned in an assignment while at the hospital during labor – and she is proud of her accomplishment. She still meets regularly with her New Moms coach and now her goal is to complete her bachelor’s degree in business management.

FY2021 – Q2 Impact Report

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us through this second quarter of fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020). Please click the image above to view the full-size report, and here are some highlights:

  • We’ve already served 583 moms and kids so far this fiscal year. Having served 846 last fiscal year, we are well on our way to serving more families this year!
  • 56% of participants have experienced a decrease in stress. During one of the most stressful years of our time—that is a huge feat!
  • 43 young moms have obtained permanent employment. We are over halfway to our goal (75) before the end of the fiscal year! In a time of increased job insecurity, this is a great success for our moms.
  • 97% of children were up to date on immunizations upon exit—an increase from last year’s 91%, and more important than ever.

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.

President & CEO

Live Speakers’ Panel: “Building Family Well-being in the Face of Scarcity”

Every parent knows what it feels like to be stretched thin while trying to care for and cultivate the potential of their family. As we have experienced the impact of COVID-19 this last year, the many uncertainties and changes in our lives have often been overwhelming. At New Moms, we embrace a Family-Centered Coaching approach that harnesses the knowledge and ambition of each young mom as she leads her family into long-term stability and goal achievement.

Join us for an engaging panel discussion, hosted by ABC 7 Chicago’s Samantha Chatman, about the power of a two-generational approach to building family well-being. Panelists include Samantha’s own mother, Gail Davis, who is the Director of Administrative Services at Chicago Teacher’s Pension Fund, along with New Moms’ Director of Family Support – Chicago, Luecendia Reed; New Moms’ Director of Learning and Innovation, Dana Emanuel; and New Moms program alumnus, Tajuor Brown.

Save the date for this engaging panel discussion, facilitated by ABC 7 Chicago’s Samantha Chatman, about the power of a two-generational approach to building family well-being. Thursday, February 4th, @ 7-8:00pm CST (via Zoom)

Register Today!

PANELISTS:

Samantha Chatman – Journalist, ABC 7 Chicago

Samantha Chatman is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and television news personality for ABC 7 Chicago. A Chicago native, Samantha has always had a passion for children, community, and programs that help enrich some of our most vulnerable citizens in our city. Samantha is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism. After spending several years working in different states as a newscaster, Samantha feels blessed to return to her hometown to serve the city she loves most.

Gail Davis – Director of Administrative Services at Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund & Mother of Samantha Chatman 

Gail Davis is the Director of Administrative Services at the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF). Initially serving as an Administrative Assistant, Davis progressed through a variety of positions over her 36-year tenure at CTPF and currently serves as CTPF’s Election Coordinator, responsible for coordinating annual Board of Trustees elections and manages all office facilities. Davis attended Taylor Business Institute and received a certificate in Leadership from Northwestern University’s School of Professional. Davis is currently a member of the Women’s Board of the Chicago Urban League.

Tajuor Brown – New Moms Program Alumnus

Tajuor Brown is an alumnus of New Moms’ Job Training, Prenatal, and Doula programs. She currently works with AMITA Medical Group as a Certified Medical Assistant and will be beginning classes in the spring to become a Registered Nurse. Tajuor is proud of finishing school, securing a great job, buying her first car, and running a makeup and wig business all while raising twin boys. She decided to join this panel because it’s a great way to share her story and to encourage other young moms that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Luecendia Reed – Director of Family Support – Chicago, New Moms

Luecendia Reed is the Director of Family Support at New Moms’ Chicago office and brings 15 years of experience in the maternal and child health field to the position. She graduated with a Masters in Social Work from the Erikson Institute and has served in a maternal labor support role and as a breastfeeding peer counselor. Luecendia chose to participate in this panel because she believes it is important to uplift and empower young families.

 Dana Emanuel – Director of Learning and Innovation, New Moms

Dana Emanuel serves as New Moms’ Director of Learning and Innovation, gathering relevant research and promising approaches from the broader social service field to improve New Moms’ programs. She earned her BA from Northwestern University and comes to New Moms with experience in the fields of economic development and marketing. Dana is joining this panel because she loves sharing what makes New Moms a unique nonprofit.

Year-In-Review 2020

To say 2020 was a unique year is an understatement, but through it all, New Moms continued to meet the changing needs of our participants. We have worked hard to navigate challenging current events and remain committed to achieving our deep-held value of racial equity. We are so grateful to have such a dedicated community behind us during this time. Thank you for responding to our calls to action – donating both fiscal and in-kind donations, as well as your valuable time and energy to our mission. It is in large part due to your generosity that we can continue offering supportive services to families enrolled in our programs. The work we do at New Moms would not be possible without you – it takes a community to accomplish this. We’re moved by how you all stepped up to show your love for young families!

You helped us accomplish a lot during 2020 despite it being a tough year for everyone. Throughout the pandemic, New Moms has been providing rental assistance, job search support, emergency food, and hygiene supplies to the young families we serve. Thank you for being champions of young moms and investing in their potential as parents and leaders. You make it possible for young moms to pursue their dreams, build solid foundations for the future, and be advocates for their families.

This year at New Moms…

1. We have reimagined all our programs so they could remain open and at capacity throughout the pandemic. We’ve incorporated new technologies and adjusted our traditional in-person model to maximize safety while maintaining the integrity of services. This includes adapting to virtual work and coaching, moving all our materials to interactive online versions, training everyone on new platforms, and distributing hotspots and tablets to participants as needed.

“Now that I have to come to work at the Job Training program, I’m getting more done. I’m more focused. It was just really hard for me staying in the house with my child, so thank you for letting us come back to work!”

-Infiniti, a production assistant at Bright Endeavors

2. Our alternative, COVID-friendly fundraising events exceeded all expectations. The virtual replacement for Kitchen Walk, Kitchen Talk, was named 2020’s Best Suburban Fundraiser by Better Magazine, and our alternative gala, Together We Thrive, a community-run effort comprised of peer-t0-peer fundraising, small in-person and virtual gatherings, blew past our goal (106% of the goal reached)!

3. Since March 2020, our staff has been delivering monthly care packages to families. All of these essential items like cleaning supplies, food, diapers, wipes, and formula have been donated by members of the New Moms community. Thank you!

4. We were selected as the winner of the 2020 Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence. The award included $5,000 and is a real mark of credibility for the whole organization.

5. 97 young moms were placed into jobs, and the percentage of moms who stayed in their jobs for over a year surpassed the national benchmark for their age group despite the pandemic!

6. 76 families who lost their jobs due to the pandemic accessed direct financial relief through our partnership with the Family Independence Initiative and the #GiveTogetherNow Chicago Fund. Even more young moms set up bank accounts for the first time setting the stage for their long-term economic mobility.

“I felt relief, that there was hope. I took care of everything I needed to with the money.”

– Destiny, a Housing participant

7. Operation Santa was a huge success! We received over 1,500 gifts (the most EVER!), which allowed 93 moms and 132 children to receive Christmas presents this year. We were truly humbled by the incredible generosity from our community.

“This stuff is so nice and thoughtful and generous! And I know you didn’t do this alone, so we want to say thank you to you and the entire New Moms team and donors. We are grateful.”

– Family Support participant

8. We celebrated 10 years since we integrated our social enterprise candle-making company, Bright Endeavors, into our Job Training Program. Bright Endeavors is an integral component of our workforce development approach for parenting youth. Since 2010, over 500 young moms have worked as production assistants obtaining paid transitional job training and skill development.

9. We were designated as a West Side hub for free baby supplies as part of the city of Chicago’s COVID relief efforts and Mayor Lightfoot’s call to action this summer. New Moms staff and volunteers distributed 8,112 diapers, 900 cans of formula, and over 80 containers of wipes to families.

10. All 18 apartments in Clare Place, New Moms’ housing located in Oak Park, were filled with young families. Clare Place apartments are permanent supportive housing, so families can live there as long as they choose and easily access services.

Thank you so much to all of you for making 2020 brighter, and bringing us into 2021 with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. We would not be here without you, and are so grateful for your commitment to young moms and their children. Cheers to 2021!

Join us for our Latest Coffee Chat!

Time/Date:

Wed., Feb. 9th at 12:00pm

Description:

Enjoy a robust conversation between Laura Zumdahl, CEO & President of New Moms, and Dr. Craig Mattson from Trinity Christian College on the subject of spiritual capital — its significance in the workplace and how New Moms embraces it.

Meet the Author:

Dr. Craig Mattson is a rhetorician at Trinity Christian College, and he studies how messages work, how they form relationships, how they create worlds, and how they open possibilities. Recently, he has been studying corporate rhetorics of social responsibility—rhetorics that work collectively, extra-personally, and communally. “Although we tend to think of Christian engagement in late-modern society on an individualistic basis, Trinity compels me to think collaboratively, to practice disciplinary border-crossing, and to constantly seek out the strong but subtle connections that appear wherever humans congregate. I think it’s a significant part of the Christian scholarly vocation that we make these connections apparent.”

Mattson conducts teaching and research at the intersections of business and activism, with special attention to minority-led community-based organizations. His two most recent books focus on workplace wellness and community development. “There’s an enormous explosion of socially minded companies out there at the moment, and I’m finding that they’re the kinds of companies our students love to work for. I’m curious about the best ways to build not only better conversations within these organizations, but also wiser collective problem-solving across all sorts of cultural lines.”

“I go for runs. I read novels aloud with my son. I play basketball with my daughter. I work in and around our backyard raised beds with my wife. I’m actively involved in my church.”

CHECK OUT OUR PAST COFFEE CHATS

Renewed Hope

There are powerful moments in our lives where a helping hand can make the difference between hope and despair. With this support we can work towards a brighter future.

Brooke came to New Moms looking for comprehensive support during her pregnancy. She had previously experienced two miscarriages and had her concerns dismissed by medical professionals. “It’s hard being a black woman and giving birth because of medical racism […],” Brooke said. “I was just extremely nervous about everything.” Brooke wanted to have a safe and peaceful birthing experience, and that led her to New Moms.

Brooke was partnered with a dedicated support team, including a Family Support coach, a counselor, and a doula — a specialized pregnancy and birth coach. She trusted each member of her team to give her helpful, well-informed advice about her motherhood journey. Her New Moms team was there for her in some of her most vulnerable moments, like attending doctor’s visits, and teaching her ways to navigate depression and anxiety. They helped Brooke prepare for labor, walking her through what to expect before, during, and after birth.

BROOKE FELT SHE WAS FINALLY RECEIVING THE KIND OF DIGNIFYING SUPPORT AND CARE SHE HAD ALWAYS HOPED FOR.

Brooke and her husband, Ben, are now the proud parents of almost two-year-old daughter Cataleya, who they named after the strong and durable Cattleya orchid — a fitting symbol of the strength they’ve shown as a family after experiencing so much pain. 

Brooke and Ben have renewed hope and are excited for the next chapter of their story. Brooke encourages other moms to reach out to New Moms. “That’s the best decision that [a young mom] could possibly make for her[self] and her child,” said Brooke, who has been partnered with New Moms for two years now. “The fact that she would seek out help and support, and she can receive it from New Moms, is one of the best things that could possibly happen to her.” 

New Moms exists so young moms, like Brooke, experiencing poverty and homelessness can find support as they face overwhelming circumstances. With this support, they are able to prepare for significant life moments like becoming parents, getting their first apartment, and finding a job. New Moms helps young families build strong foundations and find hope for their future.

As we approach the end of 2021, we need to raise $200,000 to continue to be a source of renewed hope for the young families we partner with. And thanks to a generous funder, all new and increased donations will be matched up to $30,000! 

Would you give a gift this year to help us meet the match and multiply your impact? Your gift will help young moms find peace and hope while building a thriving future for themselves and their families. We hope you join us, and wish you peace during this season of renewal. 

Season’s blessings,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President & CEO

GIVE A GIFT

Join us on 1/28 for Coffee Chat with LZ!

Join New Moms President and CEO, Dr. Laura Zumdahl, as she spills the beans on all things New Moms! Learn more about our work with young families in a brief, casual Q&A over coffee or tea with Laura on Zoom.

  1. Date: Thursday, January 28th
  2. Time: 10:00-10:30am
  3. Attendance is free! To sign up, click below: REGISTER HERE

The day before, we will send you the Zoom link and password to access the event. For any questions, please email Bonnie Andorka at bandorka@newmoms.org. We look forward to chatting with you soon!

Join us for Coffee Chat on 6/23!

For this month’s Coffee Chat, we’re talking about Family-Centered Coaching (FCC)! This framework is the foundation of everything we do to support young moms as they take powerful first steps toward economic mobility and family well-being. It drives our mindset and our practice! FCC affirms young families’ innate skills and strengths to engage them where they are right now, and partner together for long-term success. Join us as New Moms staff discuss what FCC is and how we implement it into our programs in a brief, casual Q&A over coffee or tea.

Time/Date: Wednesday, June 23rd from 12:00pm via Zoom

Sign up:

  1. To sign up, please fill out the registration form below or click here.
  2. The day before, we will send you the Zoom link and password to access the event.
  3. For any questions, please email Bonnie Andorka at bandorka@newmoms.org.

REGISTER FOR COFFEE CHAT

Adapting Our Holiday Traditions during the Pandemic

The holiday season is upon us! As we all prepare to celebrate some of our favorite holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Year’s Eve, it’s clear that things are going to look a little different this year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our holiday traditions — like everything else this year — will have to be updated for 2020.

At New Moms, we’re adapting our annual Christmas celebrations to be COVID-friendly while still making the experience special for families in our programs. Instead of an in-person Christmas party and toy store like past years, our team has created Operation Santa — an online shopping experience that still empowers moms to pick out gifts for their children. Each mom fills out a wishlist, choosing gifts from our impressive collection of donated presents, and dedicated staff and volunteers assemble the packages to be dropped off at each family’s door. Moms are also receiving a gift bag full of goodies just for them! We are so grateful for everyone who donated during the Christmas drive to make Operation Santa possible!

What is your favorite holiday food? Sit down with some of our New Moms staff and participants as they share with you their favorite foods they get to eat this time of year.

Not only are we changing things up at New Moms, but our participants and staff are also adjusting their personal holiday traditions.

Like a lot of people, New Moms participant Mercedes said her Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are going to be limited to her immediate family. 

“Usually we have a big get-together for Christmas and New Year’s but we’re obviously not going to do that,” said Mercedes, who is a production assistant in our Job Training program. “We’ve got to keep our distance from everybody, so it’s going to be very small, like only my immediate family, the people I talk to on a daily basis.”

Aniah, another participant in our job training program, agreed that the biggest change for her family is going to be the size of the festivities.

“We usually have a huge family gathering,” said Aniah, who is pregnant with her first child. “But this year we’re trying to stay within our area and within our own household. Not that we don’t trust our family or anything, but you just never know who they’ve been around. Even with just our household it will still be fun. We’ll make the most out of it.”

New Moms Family Support Specialist Jennifer Ruiz said her family is going to try to stay connected via technology like FaceTime and Zoom. Normally, her family rents out a dance hall on Christmas eve so they can eat, dance, and celebrate with one another. She said they usually have 150 people at the party.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Hear from moms in our programs and New Moms staff members as they describe their personal holiday traditions.

“I’m just sad that our usual typical Christmas isn’t going to be the same. I’ve always celebrated with my family, every single year it’s like the same thing. I guess we’ll FaceTime each other or we’ll Zoom call each other. That is the norm now,” said Jennifer with a laugh.

Musa Macenyane, a New Moms Supportive Employment Specialist, said her family will try to use Zoom to celebrate the seven nights of Kwanzaa with each other. This year Kwanzaa runs from December 26th through January 1st.

“Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we will not be able to celebrate collectively,” said Musa, who works in our Job Training Program. “We will not be able to get together as a community with friends and family to celebrate the accomplishments of 2020. Nor will we be able to get together to usher in 2021. I don’t know what that last week of the year will look like. We may get together via Zoom each night to celebrate. I will probably send out more cards than I normally would, but I will be looking forward to Kwanzaa 2021 to celebrate my community.”

Finding alternative ways to see loved ones during the holidays isn’t just limited to virtual gatherings. Sam Creightney, the Operations Coordinator for New Moms’ social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, said she and her friends have been trying to think “outside the box” so they can still see each other “in the flesh.”

“That’s the thing I thought about the most. How am I going to see my people during this time of year?” Sam said. “I proposed getting the outdoor firepit going, even when it’s 40 degrees out, with some extra blankets and sitting outside and conversing outside during the day versus being indoors.”

Some people have decided to start some new COVID-friendly traditions. Both Aniah and Jennifer said their families are thinking about going to look at Christmas lights.

What are you most looking forward to this year? Despite the pandemic, our participants and staff are still eager to celebrate the holidays. Let them share, in their own words, what they’re most excited for in 2020.

“I’ve never been in my entire life to see the lights and I really want to do it,” Aniah said. “I’m not sure how the whole thing works since there’s a lot of restrictions with COVID. I’m just glad they’re not canceling literally everything. They’re letting the holidays be the holidays.”

Jennifer said her family might drive out to the nearby suburbs to see the neighborhoods that “go all out” with their Christmas decorations. Since everyone is in their cars, she said it’s a safe activity to be a part of. 

And, despite all of these changes, everyone said they are still looking forward to the holidays.

“I’m excited for it because I know I’m not the only one who is going to have to change things,” said Jennifer, who works out of our Oak Park office. “It’s going to be everyone. Our moms are going to have to change the way they celebrate their holidays too.”

The pandemic has made us all rethink how we spend time with our loved ones, and for a lot of us, we now value that time together even more. We hope that you all are able to stay safe this holiday season and find comfort in your communities. No matter how unconventional your celebrations look this year, all of us at New Moms and Bright Endeavors want to wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy New Year!

FY2021 – Q1 Impact Report

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us this first quarter of our new fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – August 30, 2020). Some highlights:

  • We’ve already served 535 moms and kids so far this fiscal year, and having served 846 all of FY2020, we are well on our way to surpassing last year’s amount of families served!
  • 93% of young moms in our Housing program obtained stable housing upon exit, exceeding the national benchmark of 64%.
  • 57% of participants have experienced a decrease in stress—and during one of the most stressful years of our time—that is a huge feat!
  • 97% of children were up to date on immunizations upon exit—up from last year’s 91%, and more important than ever. 

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.

President & CEO

Sydell’s Courage to Dream

Give a Gift

At New Moms, we often meet young moms when they have experienced a significant loss in their life. They have lost a close loved one who was a key support person for them, a job that helped sustain them, or even a home. And sometimes the loss is not tangible — like the loss of direction or purpose in life, the loss of a dream, or the loss of feeling safe.

New Moms exists to create possibility in these times and spaces of life that feel overwhelmed by loss. We believe that each young mom we partner with has the potential to rise up and take powerful steps to heal and accomplish their dreams.

YOU are an important part of a community that invests to make this happen.

Sydell came to New Moms after experiencing some devastating blows. She had lost several loved ones to illness and violence. In her grief, she dropped out of high school, unable to focus on her studies. And after re-enrolling for her senior year, she discovered she was pregnant. Embarrassed, she hid her pregnancy from classmates, and even from her mother for a time. She felt overwhelmed and isolated.

Then a friend introduced her to New Moms. Her New Moms coach, Jasmine, became the support system she needed to find small rays of hope. The birth of her daughter, Sophia, became a beautiful experience.

“I never pictured myself having a kid until I had her,” she said. “It was crazy. I didn’t think I was going to cry when I had her. [But] I cried when I had her because it was like ‘wow’ I really have a baby. It’s real.”

Sydell’s life story was not what she expected. She now found a new motivation, as a mother to Sophia, to grow and pursue her dreams.

And with support from New Moms, she is doing just that.

Sydell is proud of how she has matured while at New Moms. She is working on controlling negative feelings by processing her emotions in positive and healthy ways – she wants Sophia to grow up in a peaceful home and see her mom as a role model for dealing with her own negative emotions. Sydell has also engaged in her passion of writing screenplays and is currently working on a film that is based on her own experience, and the experiences of other young moms. She said her dream is to one day win an Oscar.

But most immediately, Sydell plans to find a new job – she lost her job at Jewel-Osco because of the pandemic – so she can start saving money for college. She wants to pursue her passion for storytelling by studying writing, but is considering becoming an EMT to better support her family financially. She is also preparing to get her driver’s license, which would increase her ability to gain employment and decrease commuting time. All these concrete steps will help Sydell achieve her long-term goals.

New Moms helped Sydell find possibility in the midst of loss. We are a place where young moms, like Sydell, can surround themselves with a supportive community. With this extra support, their dreams move toward reality.

Sydell felt so welcomed and loved by the New Moms community that she has referred five other young moms to the program! Her coach, Jasmine, said Sydell is a true advocate for her peers. As she embraced her own potential, she has encouraged other young moms to do the same, saying: “Everybody needs to follow their dreams no matter what […] There’s always a way to get what you want.”

When you give to New Moms, you join this community that makes homes, jobs, healing, and growth possible! You invest in young moms, who are leading the next generation of youth, so that they can build strong families and become the life force of beautiful communities.

As we approach the end of 2020, I have been reflecting on how critical it is to lean into a community for support and love – especially amid so much uncertainty and unexpected loss. Throughout the pandemic, our young moms have lost jobs, childcare, access to essential services and supplies, loved ones, and more. Through it all, New Moms has been there—providing rental assistance, job search support, emergency food, and hygiene supplies. We have had to make significant changes to our programs to ensure we can continue providing the high-quality services that have been a lifeline for many of the families we serve.

So now, I am leaning on you to ensure that we can continue to support young moms like Sydell. We need to raise $120,000 by December 31, 2020. If we don’t meet this goal, we will have to consider how to downsize our programs in order to remain stable. Last year we served 846 young moms and children – we don’t want to serve fewer families this year in a time when they need support more than ever.

In this crucial year of need, would you consider giving again so we can continue to provide essential services to families?

Your generosity fuels our hope. Your faithfulness to the mission of New Moms truly changes the lives of two generations of youth. YOU are a critical part of New Moms community – and we cannot do this without you.

With love,


Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President & CEO

P.S. New Moms is a 501c3 so all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The 2020 CARES Act allows for greater charitable donation deductions, please consider this when making a gift to New Moms in order to maximize the impact you can have on our mission and young families. Contact your tax advisor for further information.

New Moms’ Job Training Program & the Pandemic: Committed to Young Moms’ Success

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, New Moms is still committed to supporting young moms and their children. As we make decisions about our programs, we’re deeply aware of the impact these decisions have on families in our community. This is why we work diligently to balance public health with the critical need for our Housing, Job Training, and Family Support programs. All decisions are made to maximize safety while maintaining the integrity of these services.

Our Job Training program is a perfect example of how we’re navigating this tension and the repercussions of the pandemic. For several months, the program was on pause but now we’re welcoming moms back to work at Bright Endeavors, New Moms’ social enterprise home candle company. In this article, we take a look at the ways our team is adapting to our new reality while safely operating the social enterprise.

Recruitment & Retention

Production Assistant Marchelle stirs candles scents into hot wax before pouring the liquid into tin containers on October 14. Marchelle, 22 years old, just recently joined the Pouring Team but is already helping train other moms.

A difficult but important decision our Job Training staff made early on was to scale down the program by reducing the number of moms enrolled and the length of our program. This change was due to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control.

To maintain proper social distancing, the number of participants on the production floor is about half of what it was last year, said our Director of Workforce Development, Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal. Since we have fewer participants working at one time, we’ve also shortened the program timeline from 16 weeks to 12 weeks. This change allows us to increase the amount of young moms who can participate in the program during the year.

“The shift was made in order to maximize the amount of participants we can serve,” Gabrielle said. “If we continue with the 12 week model we can serve 65 participants. But if we had continued with the 16 weeks, we would only serve about 40.”

Gabrielle said the shortened program doesn’t significantly change the participant experience. Moms lose a little bit of buffer time for finding a job post-graduation from the program, but she said this means they just start working with our employment specialists sooner.

Bright Endeavors production assistants who started the program in January arrived back to work after 4-month-pause due to the pandemic.

Gabrielle said because of a smaller program size, the increased civil unrest and violence in Chicagoland over the past several months has had a greater impact on attendance and retention for moms in Job Training. Some are unable to begin the program after orientation or unable to finish because of domestic or gun violence impacting their families.

“This isn’t new,” Gabrielle said. “Gun violence is an issue in our city period and it gets worse in the summer, but we’re feeling the impact more because we have fewer participants. Rather than these issues affecting three moms out of 20, now it could be half our group is affected.”

Gabrielle said coaches are trained to work with moms experiencing violence at home as part of New Moms’ trauma-informed care approach. We also have a licensed therapist on staff for emergency interventions and to help address crisis situations with participants.

Despite the new restrictions and challenges, moms were eager to continue the program again after its almost four-month pause. 

“Now that I have to come to work, I’m getting more done. I’m more focused,” said Infiniti, an alumnus who started the program in January but due to the pandemic finished in June. “It was just really hard for me staying in the house with my child, so thank you for letting us come back to work!” 

Safety

The pandemic brought with it new state and city-wide restrictions that caused Bright Endeavors to rethink safety while the organization was closed for 4 months. The goal is to keep everyone safe by wearing masks, conducting temperature checks, implementing more virtual training, and ensuring spatial distancing measures.

The pandemic brought with it new state and city-wide restrictions that caused Bright Endeavors to rethink safety while the candle making company was closed for 4 months.

The goal is to keep everyone safe by wearing masks, conducting temperature checks, implementing more virtual training, and ensuring spatial distancing measures while “maintaining the integrity of the program,” notes Gabrielle.

Marchelle, a current Production Assistant, said that even with the increased safety measures, the job has not changed her outlook.

“We pretty much try to keep 6 feet apart, if we’re in a group talking we all have our masks on and we keep our hands clean,” said Marchelle, who is 22 years old and parenting her 4-month-old daughter. “I love this job, it’s like a second family.”

Coaching

Cathy Robinson-Yates, a New Moms’ Training and Coaching Specialist, said both moms and staff were eager to get back to work after months staying home. She said the transition back to the production floor was easy despite the new safety measures because the participants brought an excited energy to the program.

Job Training participant Shakira wipes down and labels candles on the Bright Endeavors production floor on October 14. Shakira, a 22-year-old mom of two toddlers with a third child on the way, said Finishing Team is her favorite job at Bright Endeavors because she gets to see the completed candles.

Even in instances where in-person activities have become virtual, like Parent Support Group and Financial Fridays, there are silver linings, and Cathy said moms have acclimated quickly to these changes.

“It’s kind of been helpful,” said Shakira, a 22-year-old mom of two toddlers with a third child on the way. “Since it’s virtual, I’m at home so I’m still able to get some of the business done that I need done at home while I’m on my Zoom call.”

The addition of technology, like Zoom, has also allowed coaches to infuse positive parent-child interactions into the program. Staff have been trying to find a way to incorporate these activities for a long time. And now is a great time because moms are at home with their children on Mondays and Fridays! 

Production Assistant Tamya said she’s enjoyed including her son during the Zoom classes.

“It’s been good,” said Tamya, who is 20 years old and pregnant with her second child. “My baby is playful. He’s active for one years old. He talks to everyone and waves to everyone he sees.”

Job Training participant Shakira wipes down and labels candles on the Bright Endeavors production floor on October 14. Shakira, a 22-year-old mom of two toddlers with a third child on the way, said Finishing Team is her favorite job at Bright Endeavors because she gets to see the completed candles.

However, one challenge for the coaches has been finding COVID-friendly ways of celebrating the milestone ceremonies when moms graduate from the program. Under normal circumstances, moms could invite their families and bring their children to a large party at New Moms’ Transformation Center. Now, the event is virtual with family and friends attending via Zoom.

Tamya said she is disappointed that her family won’t be able to attend her milestone celebration in person, but she’s excited that there will still be a public recognition of some kind. In fact, she said the coaches will be making it a baby shower because she and another mom who will be graduating are both pregnant.

“I’m really glad that New Moms is doing us a baby shower,” Tamya said. “I’m happy that this job really is giving us support and help.”

Production

Bright Endeavors has remained not only committed to a reduced team size to allow for spatial distancing and flexible work hours for parenting participants and staff, but also a pace of production that allows teams to practice self-care during the pandemic and racial justice uprisings. 

The new, Bright Glass Collection from Bright Endeavors features candles with thoughtful design. These candles involve less steps to create, while providing an additional way to support our Job Training program. New scents like Amber & Tonka Bean and Cardamom & Clove, Pomegranate & Champagne and Juniper Berry & Fir are available in limited quantities.

This has meant a carefully laid out candle-manufacturing schedule, a more streamlined and strategic sales strategy, and a new line of candles with a thoughtful design. 

“We had the idea for another collection of candles before the pandemic but new limitations on production time and supplier availability forced us to make adjustments to its design,” said Allie Sundet, our Marketing and Engagement Manager.

The result is the new, Bright Glass Collection that features candles that involve less steps to create, while providing an additional way to support our Job Training program.

Still, achieving production goals for the production assistants is somewhat more challenging with less people.

“For the most part the ladies have been meeting the goals wonderfully,” Shakira said. “We do start with our SMART goals in the morning, it has gotten a little bit tough but by everyone not slacking, getting their work done and bringing a positive energy, it’s been a great workplace to work in, so I don’t mind the hard work.”

Job Placement

An important part of the Job Training program is seeking and securing a job for life after the 12-week program. Ashlee Krawczyk, our Employer Engagement Specialist, notes that there has been a change in the types of jobs available for young moms.

Production Assistant Marchelle is in charge of pouring the liquid wax into candle containers as part of the Pouring Team at Bright Endeavors. Marchelle, 22 years old, helps train other moms how to pour candles.

Typically, there has been a strong pipeline to connect production assistants to jobs in the hospitality, retail, and food service industries but due to the pandemic these sectors of the economy have significantly reduced hiring. In contrast, industries like light manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare are increasing job hires.

The production assistants said they are keeping their options open when job searching.

“I have started looking at jobs,” said Shakira, who is just beginning the job search part of the program. “I love working with customers, I would love to do retail. I’ve done [Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)] before and I also love CNA work.”

Reducing the timeline of the program from 16 weeks to 12 weeks to allow for spatial distancing did bring some challenges for our New Moms’ employment specialists who help moms locate jobs prior to graduation.

“Now that the program is 4 weeks shorter, the pressure is on to help our moms find permanent jobs even faster,” Ashlee said. “That means dipping into more resources and relying on partnerships more heavily.”

Overall, moms are still finding employment at the same rate as before the pandemic, which offers hope in navigating the changing workforce landscape and economy. 

A Commitment to Success

Despite the challenges of navigating a global pandemic, our team at New Moms and Bright Endeavors remains committed to meeting our community’s need for workforce development training. Now more than ever, it’s important to adapt our program and be flexible so we can continue partnering with young moms of color who have been hit disproportionately hard by the fallout from COVID-19. 

If you want to read more about New Moms’ commitment to racial equity, you can read our anti-racism statement here. And check out this article to learn more about the innovative ways Bright Endeavors serves young moms.

A Day-in-the-Life of a New Moms Family Support Coach

You may know that building strong families is central to New Moms’ mission, but have you ever wondered how exactly we work with moms to increase their family’s immediate well-being and construct foundations for a thriving future?

Back in March, we asked former Family Support Specialist, Tracey Bell-Hodgman, to describe a day-in-the-life of a coach at New Moms, and to share what she wishes you knew about the families we partner with. 

Former Family Support Specialist Tracey Bell-Hodgman and Emyr, son of New Moms’ participant Destiny, at New Moms’ 2020 Valentine’s Day Dance for moms living in our Transformation Center located in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

Tracey said New Moms’ partnership with young families requires our staff to be flexible, adaptable, and empathetic. 

“My day starts with an 85% full and detailed calendar that 100% of the time does not go according to plan. I typically try to check in with the young women I have scheduled in-home coaching visits with to make sure they are still available. During a home visit, a participant and I get together to discuss their goals as well as any barriers they may be facing at the moment. It is where much of the relationship-building gets done.”

At New Moms, Family Support Specialists, also called coaches, partner with young moms as they set and pursue their own unique goals. Coaches share parenting tips, child development resources, and other life skills tools that are specific to participants’ needs. We call this our Family-Centered Coaching Approach, which puts families experiencing poverty in control of their goals and helps unleash their potential as leaders and self-advocates.

“One thing I wish people outside of New Moms knew is that the moms, my participants, get to call their own shots. The moms I serve are savvy and smart in so many ways. Many of them know what they want from their lives and they just need support in getting it. They are in the driver’s seat of their lives and it is my honor to be their copilot.”

Achieving these goals is often difficult. Systemic racism perpetrated against Black and Brown people, bias against adolescent moms, and lack of investment in communities of color harms young families. Living in poverty and experiencing scarcity can impact brain development and take a toll on long-term individual and community health. Although 97% of the young families that come to New Moms are experiencing poverty, all of them seek a future of shared prosperity with their children. 

“These moms have a lot going on, they need patience and flexibility—and sometimes I need that, too. You are holding some of the most difficult emotions with people. It is difficult to describe. I am haunted by the questions of where a woman with two young children is going to call home when she moves out.”

Our coaches help moms navigate stressful situations around housing, employment, and family well-being. When moms are coping with scarcity and become overwhelmed, our coaches are there to offer individualized support.

“At New Moms, we work hard to provide participants with the space to process on their own so that they can grow to be the powerful young women we know they are. Oftentimes, women come to us to discuss issues they aren’t sure who else to turn to about. We walk alongside them as they figure out the answer to their questions, learn to fill out forms, or advocate for their families in ways they weren’t sure they could.”

Though our moms experience many difficulties, they also experience many triumphs. Our coaches work with them to tap into their resilience to get through those challenges and bear witness to moments of celebration.

Former Family Support Specialist Tracey Bell-Hodgman with other New Moms staff members at our 2019 staff retreat at Lawndale Christian Health Center.

Tracey said she also wants people to know that moms in our programs are growing. Every day, she said she sees them take in information and learn new ways to handle challenges. “What’s also exciting is that while the moms are growing, their children grow alongside them.” Tracey stressed it’s important that people understand that “…moms need advocacy. They not only need allies but also to be taught how to use their own voices.”

“I sat with a mom in her apartment who was having trouble with her TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). Her son scrambled around our feet, picking up each toy and showing it to us. The mom poured out her frustration over the situation while her son played. When she first moved into our transitional housing this bad news would have crushed her. However, today, after letting her frustration out, she then picked up her son and sang the ABCs with him, pride absolutely beaming from her face.  She turned to me, and said ‘Ok, so what do we do next.’ We made a battle plan. She was going to take the lead and advocate for herself at the Department of Human Services. This mom took a frustrating situation in stride. She nurtured her child, and then got back to business.”

This is an excellent example of the challenges participants face every day and must find a way to manage. Our moms continually push through systemic barriers and take powerful first steps towards their long-term goals. This process takes a lot of time and patience. Our coaches are often planting seeds of change that they will not get to see come to fruition.

“As a Family Support Specialist, what I want you to know about my job is that I’m not here to fix anyone. Coaches are here to provide the support necessary for the moms to grow. The moms we serve at New Moms have strength many of us can’t begin to imagine. They are not damsels in distress but rather heroines who have not discovered their own power yet.”

Thank you to all of New Moms’ amazing coaches. We’re in awe of both you and your participants. The work you do is challenging, but the compassion and dedication you give to the young families you work with is inspiring.

The FY20 Impact Report is Here!

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us this past fiscal year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020). Some highlights:

  • We served 846 moms and kids last year, up from 799 in FY18!
  • 81% of young moms in our Housing program obtained stable housing upon exit.
  • Last year, during our 16-week Job Training program, 94 young moms achieved permanent employment!
  • …and 73% of our Job Training participants saw an average 2.3-2.6 grade level increase in reading and math comprehension!

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.

President & CEO

Reflections from the New Moms President

At the beginning of March this year New Moms was deeply engaged in strategic planning for the future. Excited about the possibilities ahead of us to broaden our reach and serve more young moms and children, we were crafting a plan to guide us on the journey for the next five years.

Of course, we all know how this story goes: within days we realized we needed to suspend all but essential in-person operations to ensure the health and safety of our participants and staff. The new trajectory ahead of us rapidly shifted to include navigating the implications of COVID-19 and the economic challenges that come with the massive shutdown in Chicago.

We’ve had to pause on our focus on long-term growth for the moment, and instead have poured everything into supporting young families as they navigate this hard and scary time:

  • Our brave team has shown up relentlessly (and in appropriate PPE) to coach and support residents in our housing program, despite the shutdown.
  • In addition to our virtual support programs, we’ve expanded our efforts to ensure that young moms have the baby essentials like diapers and wipes that they need but are having trouble accessing.
  • And we’ve continued to coach and train young moms in our Job Training program, ensuring they have skills and income as they work toward permanent employment. In June, our team started again making candles at Bright Endeavors, spaced out on the production floor and suited up in PPE.

I can’t share about the past five months without also recounting the deep and wonderful ways the New Moms community has stepped up to support our COVID-19 response:

  • Our donors have been extra generous, and their financial support will help us cover the increased expenses the pandemic brought our way.
  • Volunteers made masks and folks sent diapers, wipes, and formula to us to distribute.
  • Partner agencies like Lakeview Pantry and VOCEL jumped to collectively ensure families had enough food to eat and the other basic resources they needed.
  • And your notes of encouragement and prayers bolstered our spirits as we walked through this wild time.

We’re so grateful for you.

We know we have a long road ahead as we continue to deal with the implications of COVID-19. While New Moms programs continue, we’re now sending young moms out into a world that is even harder: the stalling economy has meant many of our young moms have lost their jobs, and many more are at risk of losing their livelihoods. The systemic racism and economic strain that has plagued our community for generations disproportionately impacts young moms of color and the pandemic has only increased these pressures.

Being a young mom is challenging on a good day, but the world is even harder now.

So, what do we do?

Like many of you, we’re focused on what’s right in front of us: do what we can, where we are.

For us, this means recognizing the systemic inequities that require our attention and simultaneously meeting the here-and-now needs of young families. We are advocating for resources to go to those most in need. And, we are exploring how the current crisis opens new opportunities for inclusive employment, stable housing, and technology to aid our participants.

We’ll get back to our long-range planning soon enough. But for now, we’re pushing on this moment to be one of positive change in our organization, our community, and our country for young moms and their children. We’re working hard and praying hard. The work of New Moms is even more imperative now in the context of all that is happening in our world. If you support New Moms, I believe it’s because you, like us, want young moms to thrive in their communities. We’re grateful to have you alongside us and we continue to need your help as we face these challenges this year.

We’re in this together, because together we all thrive.

May we all find courage and hope as we navigate this together.


Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President & CEO

Employers benefit from partnering with New Moms Job Training Program

Julissa Martinez working at her desk and in the storage area at Venture Imports, LLC on July 23.

By: Ashlee Krawczyk, Employer Engagement Specialist

In the previous two entries in this series we highlighted companies like MaidPro and Rush University Medical Center which understand the workforce was not built for working mothers – inflexible schedules, strict 90 day probation policies, and access to quality jobs are just a few of the barriers our moms face – and have made adjustments to create accessibility. 

These companies offer our moms quality jobs, professional development and networking opportunities. Moms can also count on these employers to understand their role as mothers, hear their concerns and make adjustments for them. 

Helping families achieve economic mobility is just one of the benefits of our employer partnerships. Our employers also see benefits when partnering with our Job Training Program including saved time and money. Our Job Training team acts as an extension of an employers’ HR department and all of our services are free. 

Musa Macenyane, Supportive Employment Specialist at New Moms in our Job Training Program.

New Moms not only refers candidates for positions, but also prescreens their qualifications for employers. Our Career Coaches play a large role in job matching, so we only refer candidates we feel would be a good fit for a position.

“As Career Coaches, we work diligently to ensure that our candidates have addressed any situations that may be a hindrance to a successful career with our employer partners,” said Musa Macenyane, a Career Coach at New Moms. “We also provide ongoing support for both employees and employers to ensure a long and successful partnership.”

Jennie Misner, Owner of Venture Imports, LLC and New Moms employer partner said, “Our main mission has always been to employ people in the Global South. As we’ve grown, I realized we should extend our mission to the US. Our company is all about creating employment so New Moms was a perfect fit.”

Misner came to New Moms in early 2019 looking for a Warehouse Assistant. She said that other organizations could offer temporary workers, but New Moms had candidates looking for permanent, long-term positions.

“We were quite desperate for warehouse help and I didn’t have time to even do interviews,” Misner said. “New Moms was recommended to us by another community organization, and they were a lifesaver! They were able to almost immediately recommend someone to help us out.”

Julissa is a job training alum who has worked at Venture Imports for over a year and a half now. As a Warehouse Assistant, Julissa handles online orders, enters shipping information, prints invoices and packs orders accordingly. Julissa said she enjoys moving around and learning new things at work each day and appreciates the flexibility of her job. 

“Being a mom and working is pretty stressful at times, especially when things come up like me or my daughter being sick or having no childcare,” Julissa said. “Unlike other jobs I’ve had before, [Jennie] has always been understanding and compassionate. She makes sure I’m okay, and if for any reason I need to leave, she completely understands. I also have the opportunity to make up my hours if I need to.” 

Julissa also credits New Moms for her success on the job. From communicating with supervisors to taking accountability for her actions, Julissa said that New Moms prepared her for her role at Venture. 

“[New Moms] taught me about time management, which I use every day to get tasks done around the warehouse,” Julissa said. “Also, New Moms helped me learn to cope with mom life and work and dealing with stress.”

Both Jennie and Julissa encourage others to partner with New Moms, either as an employer or a participant. Both acknowledge that New Moms contributed to Julissa’s smooth transition into permanent employment. 

“I’m grateful for having the opportunity to work at Venture,” Julissa said. “I have learned so much and enjoy coming to work everyday. If it wasn’t for [New Moms], I wouldn’t have found this job and been prepared for it.” 

If your business is interested in becoming an employer partner, you can fill out our “Hire a Graduate” form through our website. A member of the Job Training team will connect with you about next steps and answer all of your questions! 

Check out our other employer partner spotlights – MaidPro and Rush.

Join Us for Together We Thrive 2020!

In response to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel our 2020 New Moms Gala. This change has created a moment to invite you into something special and transformative—for you and New Moms.

You are a critical part of the community that surrounds young moms as they take powerful first steps to lead their children out of poverty and accomplish their dreams for a thriving future.

We are facing one of the most serious global crises of our time, which has exposed the long-standing systemic racism that has impacted our families for generations. Together, we can provide cover from this storm, so that our young moms can continue to tap into their potential and increase their economic mobility and overall well-being. When we invest our time, skills, and resources into the healing and growth of our communities – we all thrive.

Will you join us?

https://player.vimeo.com/video/452359095?dnt=1&app_id=122963

We need you

Here are three options for you to make a difference:

This will be fun! Sometime between August 15 and October 16, you host a gathering for New Moms and invite your friends and family. The gathering can be anything you want — a brunch, backyard barbeque, wine tasting, zoom happy hour, yoga party, etc. We will help you plan the right gathering for you and your guests. New Moms will provide a party kit including discounts from vendors, a New Moms video to show at your party, and more.

We’ll help you set up an online fundraising page. Through email and social media you can invite your friends and family to give to New Moms.

DONATE

What’s next? If you are interested in leading an online fundraiser or hosting a gathering, fill out the interest form below, or contact Bonnie at bandorka@newmoms.org or 708-642-1185 by August 1, 2020 (at 9:00pm) for more information.

Together we can reach our $250,000 goal to help our young moms thrive.

REGISTER TO FUNDRAISE ONLINE

https://secure.qgiv.com/event/together-we-thrive/widget/1640365/?etype=event&entity=959185

How a local business made themselves accessible to young mothers

Christian Harris (front left) with MaidPro employees including New Moms alum, Luz (back left).

By: Ashlee Krawczyk, New Moms Employer Engagement Specialist

A mom’s journey toward success doesn’t end once she graduates from our Job Training program. Most of the time, her career is just beginning, and employers can play a huge role in her long-term success. 

Being an employer partner is a unique way to make a long-term commitment to New Moms and the young moms we serve. We have a number of partner companies and organizations, both large and small, who are dedicated to hiring young moms from our Job Training program. 

In this series, we connected with a few of our employer partners to discuss how they began their partnership with New Moms, how the partnership changed their workplace and why hiring from the community is important to them. 

Christian Harris, the owner of MaidPro, a family-run cleaning service located in Oak Park since 2013 said he first heard about New Moms a few years ago while working with the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition. Since then, Harris has been an active employer partner with New Moms. He has not only attended New Moms resource and job fairs but has also interviewed and hired our moms. 

“When I heard about the New Moms mission, I realized that it would be a perfect partnership,” Harris said. “We are able to offer stable employment and schedules that won’t infringe on their most important job — motherhood.” 

Christian Harris (right) with MaidPro employees.

Harris said it’s important that he creates a sense of job stability and security for the moms he hires. He recognizes that the first job of any mother is just that — to be a mother. By providing a flexible schedule that doesn’t require working nights or weekends, moms don’t have to choose between being a present mom and keeping their job. 

“As a result, moms with young children have been interested in working with us over the past 7 years,” Harris said. “This allows them to still pick up their kids after school, make it to the evening sporting event, take the kids to the park on the weekend, or take the day off to care for a sick child.”

Harris also said partnering with New Moms has changed how MaidPro approaches certain policies and processes. 

“When we began hiring from New Moms, we realized that [the young moms] all wanted to be excellent employees,” Harris said. “However, we never explicitly told them exactly what we expected from them.”

Harris said that MaidPro is now more intentional about explaining their expectations to staff from the beginning. Their onboarding process now includes Expectation Contracts to ensure management and staff are on the same page. 

This passion, flexibility and innovation are what make MaidPro a great employer partner for New Moms. Harris is willing to make changes to his company to create a more equitable and accessible workforce, especially for young mothers. 

“We can only exist because of community support, and it is important for us to show that same support to our community,” Harris said.

By working with strong community leaders like Harris, our moms are able to connect with employers who are dedicated to helping them succeed. 

If your business is interested in becoming an employer partner, you can fill out our “Hire a Graduate” form through our website. A member of the Job Training team will connect with you about next steps and answer all of your questions!

Check out our other employer partner spotlights – Rush and Venture Imports, LLC.

How Rush is creating access to quality job opportunities in healthcare for our moms & beyond

Chanel Smith (second from the right) with New Moms Job Training participants on December 13, 2019 at New Moms’ Transformation Center in Chicago, IL.

By: Ashlee Krawczyk, Employer Engagement Specialist

In our last employer spotlight, we highlighted Christian Harris’ work towards creating a more equitable and accessible workplace for his employees at MaidPro. By adjusting schedules and setting clear expectations, Harris established an environment of flexibility and communication — two things everyone needs to be successful at work, especially young mothers.

Based on our 24 years of workforce development experience, we know those aren’t the only factors that lead to success for young moms. Company culture and values are every bit as important to a mom’s prosperity as a flexible schedule. 

At New Moms, we acknowledge the intersections of race and poverty through our own commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and it is important that our employer partners not only value diversity, but also embrace, understand and work towards equity in their workplace. We want to partner with companies and organizations who are committed to closing gaps and bridging divides. 

Rush University Medical Center is a good example of how to build equity in the workplace. Rush is one of the top healthcare providers in the nation with three main hospital sites across Chicagoland. Rush has a deep understanding of the social disparities faced by Chicago’s West Side communities and has committed to working with organizations like New Moms to develop health equity and close the life expectancy gap.

This past year, Rush implemented the Rush Community Application Hub (RCAH) to connect the West Side community with quality healthcare jobs. Chanel Smith, a Talent Acquisition Consultant at Rush, spearheaded the program to push Rush’s commitment to equity even further. Her main job at Rush is to pre-screen candidates for various roles around the medical center. She also leads the RCAH program and creates partnerships with community-based organizations on the West Side. 

Smith said she learned about New Moms while working at another organization which provides services to youth-in-care and parenting youth. When she began working on RCAH, she knew she wanted to include New Moms as a community partner. She was already familiar with the population we serve and knew that they need access to quality job opportunities.

Smith also said the work New Moms is doing to partner with young moms for long term success is aligned with Rush’s mission to engage, serve and build a stronger West Side. 

“New Moms is working to provide opportunities and resources to those who may otherwise not have them, and would fall victim to the disparities we see too often,” Smith said. “A job that provides economic value and presents the pathway to a career can be very instrumental in the growth of individuals, families, and communities.”

By creating the RCAH, Smith can now hire qualified candidates directly referred by New Moms and other community-based organizations. As a result of this partnership, our job training program has seen a steady pipeline of interviews and employment offers in the last year. Smith’s work has increased access to quality healthcare jobs for those who may not have considered Rush as a potential employer before. 

“Prior to the collaboration with New Moms, Rush had a very strong DEI culture and policies already in place,” Smith said. “[Through RCAH,] we are able to create a pipeline of qualified applicants to review for our hiring needs. It also helps us as an organization connect with the residents in a way other than providing medical services.”

The RCAH program also offers other resources to job seekers outside of job opportunities. Chanel visits New Moms every quarter to co-facilitate professional development workshops and answer questions about opportunities at Rush.

“I love connecting people to opportunities, and to share my workforce and HR industry knowledge to assist people in their development and employment advancement,” Smith said. “We believe these [sessions] will help community members boost their employment chances with not only Rush Medical Center, but other employers as well.”

If your business is interested in becoming an employer partner, you can fill out our “Hire a Graduate” form through our website. A member of the Job Training team will connect with you about next steps and answer all of your questions! 

Check out our other employer partner spotlights – MaidPro and Venture Imports, LLC.

Announcing New Moms’ Newest Board Members

New Moms is pleased to welcome Jason Quiara and Kristen Prinz to our Board of Directors! Both bring impressive leadership experience to their new roles and are dedicated to serving young families. Thank you, Jason and Kristen, for choosing to add your gifts and talents to the New Moms community. We look forward to working with you!

Jason Quiara

Why join the New Moms board?

“Serving on New Moms’ Board of Directors presents an incredible opportunity to accelerate progress for the next generation of young people and underserved families in Illinois. […] What makes New Moms signature in a crowded sector is a two-generation approach that helps build the human and social capital of children and their parents. In my opinion, the north star of mission-driven work in the social sector is to end intergenerational cycles of poverty and help families realize economic mobility. New Moms does this better than most, and I am committed to serving on the board of directors to help the staff realize its mission.”

Bio:

Jason Quiara is Chief Strategy and Partnerships Officer at ConnectED.

Before coming to ConnectED, Jason was a Senior Program Officer for the Education and Economic Mobility Program at the Joyce Foundation. He led a national college- and career-readiness investment strategy and managed the Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership – a multi-state effort that expanded innovative education pathways that put students on a path to earn college degrees and credentials.

Before Joyce, Jason worked at Jobs for the Future (JFF) and led a national policy initiative to expand Early College High Schools and dual enrollment programs across the country.

Prior to JFF, Jason was the director of state policy and research for the New England Board of Higher Education and directed College Ready New England. The initiative promoted policies to increase college attainment for students in the New England region.

Jason majored in history and philosophy at Boston College and received a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he is a Neubauer Civic Scholar. Jason is also an alumnus of Leadership Greater Chicago since 2019.


Kristen Prinz

Why join the New Moms board?

“As a working mom with lots of resources I often feel overwhelmed. I can’t imagine the challenges that a single teen mother with no support must face. I would like to be a person that supports those mothers and their children. They have an opportunity to better their own lives and create a path for their children’s future. New Moms gives me the ability to help in multiple ways.” 

Bio:

Kristen Prinz is an employment lawyer, business counselor, and founder and managing partner of The Prinz Law Firm.

Kristen represents business owners, senior executives, lawyers, and physicians in matters ranging from employment agreements and non-competes to complex employment disputes. She is passionate about advocating for her clients’ interests and helping them achieve outcomes consistent with their professional goals.

As a business counselor, Kristen provides business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals with innovative and cost-effective solutions to their legal and operational problems, enabling them to fully realize their potential. She has leveraged her litigation and culture management experience to guide clients in implementing employment best practices, effectively training staff, and creating a productive workplace culture.

Kristen is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Employment Lawyers Association, and is President-Elect of The International Women’s Forum Chicago Chapter.

She was selected for inclusion in Crain’s Chicago Business’ List of 50 Most Influential Female Attorneys, and has been named a Leading Lawyer by Leading Lawyers, as well as a Super Lawyer for 2020. Kristen received her J.D. with honors from IIT Chicago Kent College of Law and a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa.

Our Response: The Fight Against Racism

Over the last days and weeks, we have witnessed the horrific tragedies of the unjust loss of Black life at the hands of authorities whose chief role is to protect and defend. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor – their names must be spoken – and they are only the most recent lives lost after decades of injustice. In the midst of a pandemic already exposing the deep disparities experienced among Black and Brown communities, these acts have ripped open bleeding wounds causing deep unrest.

Our nation is in pain, the city we love is in pain, and the moms and children we serve at New Moms are in pain.

Our work at New Moms is deeply generational. We have always focused on the profound and lasting change that comes from empowering 2 generations of youth, moms and their children, as they courageously follow their dreams and lead their families out of poverty. But I want to be crystal clear, the families we serve – majority of them Black – have suffered under systems that have been designed to perpetuate inequalities and disparities in their communities and families. The need for New Moms to exist is deeply connected to the impact of long-standing systemic racism and inequality in society.

To fully live into our mission at New Moms, we must be committed to challenging the systems that have oppressed the Black members of our communities for generations. We reject the continued disinvestment in Black neighborhoods and the devaluation of Black lives. We stand in solidarity with our participants, staff, and our communities and declare that Black Lives Matter and that we will continue to fight against racism that seeps into so many aspects of our lives.

We must do this together, lifting up the inherent value of the lives of the Black women and men in our communities. We must listen to, and learn from, the voices of people of color. And we must do the work to change ourselves and our communities in pursuit of the dream of the Beloved Community we hope to see fulfilled.

As the President & CEO, I am committed to leading this charge to the best of my ability. And I invite you to partner with us in championing the value and worth of the young Black lives we serve at New Moms. Your prayers, support, and willingness to listen, learn, and change are meaningful contributions to this critical work.

Grace & peace,


Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D. President & CEO

Young moms share their experiences during quarantine

New Moms participant Eniya and her son Mason together during quarantine at their apartment on May 12.

It’s early in the morning when Rashai wakes up in her Oak Park apartment. She gets out of bed carefully and tries not to wake up her three sleeping children. Soon enough it will be time to get them ready for homeschooling — maybe working on a homework assignment or video calling with their classmates — but for now she just lets them sleep.

These early morning hours are for Rashai. It’s her time for exercise and for personal peace and quiet. She said, during quarantine, it’s been hard to make time for herself.

“I love my kids but sometimes it’s like, ‘Ah, just give me a little bit of time, just a little bit,’” Rashai laughed.

While COVID-19 affects all of us, it has a tremendous impact on the families New Moms serves. Most of the young moms we partner with do not have a robust social safety net and many are experiencing homelessness. Because of COVID-19, many are dealing with potential or realized unemployment, the loss of vital social services, and lack of healthcare support if they get sick.

School closures and longer orders of “shelter-in-place” only increase the pressure on our young moms, who are the primary financial and emotional support for their families. Despite these challenges, moms are stepping up to meet the changing needs of their families.

Before quarantine, Rashai worked as a teacher at a daycare center. Now the center is closed and Rashai has lost her source of income, but she’s been able to homeschool her three children — something she’s always wanted to do.

“I always wanted to homeschool my kids,” said Rashai, a participant in New Moms Family Support Program. “I’m loving that access, but as far as not being able to work and make money and stuff, that’s the only thing I don’t like. But I’m a teacher, so that’s fun for me to be able to homeschool my kids.”

Because she lost her job due to the pandemic, Rashai was able to get a $500 direct deposit through New Moms partnership with Family Independence Initiative and #GiveTogetherNow Chicago to help cover living expenses. She said this money, along with regular virtual check-ins with her Family Support Specialist Rachel Guerrero have helped during this uncertain time.

“It’s good to see and hear from another adult,” Rashai said.

New Moms’ Director of Chicago Family Support Luecendia Reed (left), with the help of Chief Program Officer Melanie Garrett (right), delivers essential goods to participants on April 16.

Another New Moms participant, Eniya, said she also values the virtual meetings with her Family Support Specialist Jennifer Ruiz. 

“It has been beneficial to talk to someone outside of friends and family,” said Eniya, who enrolled in the Family Support program in January. “She’s unbiased, like a neutral person, she doesn’t know anybody that I could possibly be talking about. It’s an honest answer and that does help a lot.”

In April, Eniya earned her bachelor’s degree in health science but the end of the semester was entirely online. She said while she was still able to graduate, the switch to eLearning was unexpected.

“It actually benefited me,” Eniya said. “That saved me gas money. That saved me toll money. It also gave me more time to do my homework.”

Eniya is currently working in the lab at BioLife Plasma Services and was promoted to her new position right before the COVID-19 pandemic. Because her nine-month-old son Mason’s daycare is closed, Eniya’s mom has been watching him while Eniya is at work.

She said quarantine has “drastically changed” the childhood she envisioned for Mason.

“I had imagined going out with him and being able to point up at the sky and be like, ‘Oh, that’s the sky and it’s blue’ or, ‘That’s the grass and it’s green,’” said Eniya, as she began to laugh. “Now, I’ve got to go through the house like ‘What is blue in here that I could point to? What is green in here?’”

However, Eniya said she’s not going to give up on her family’s goals because of the pandemic. She said she’s been trying to adapt to each change like a true scientist.

“I’m in the health field, I’m in the science field,” Eniya said. “So, seeing different things change everyday or finding new ways to do certain things is pretty much all I do. I like that aspect of it.”

New Moms also connected Eniya with Housing Forward, a local organization that addresses homelessness and housing insecurity. She’s been receiving rental assistance which she said has helped ease some of her worries.

She said one of the hardest parts about quarantine has been not seeing her friends. Her friends from college were with her through her pregnancy, and she said and they have missed seeing Mason grow.

“I haven’t seen my friends in, I don’t know how long,” Eniya said. “Now, when I send them pictures they’re like ‘Oh my god, [Mason] is getting so big and I feel so bad I haven’t seen him.’ […] I can tell they really wanted to be hands-on and involved in his life more than what they can right now.”

Based on their own experiences, Rashai and Eniya both offered a piece of advice for other young moms.

Rashai said she knows it’s hard for many parents to spend so much time day after day with their children, but she recommends moms use it as a time to really get to know their kids.

“Everybody is always so busy with school and work,” Rashai said. “So, this is the only time to sit down and just try to understand them better, get to know them, spend time with them, play games with them, find out what they like and don’t like.”

She said with all the new things she’s learned about her children, it makes her feel “proud” — like she’s doing a good job as a mom.

Eniya said she would tell other moms, “We’re all in this together,” and remind others that they’re not alone during this difficult time. 

“Don’t feel isolated,” Eniya said. “Everybody’s life has changed because of this and we’ll all get through it together.”

As we all continue to weather this storm, we ask that you keep New Moms’ staff and participants in your thoughts and prayers, and consider donating to support young moms and children during the pandemic. Check out our website here for ongoing updates on New Moms’ response to COVID-19.

Help create stability.

Give a Gift |

Instability, isolation, uncertainty. Every email, news story, and conversation with friends and family eventually finds their way to these words. In just a few short weeks, our lives have changed significantly. For many of us, this feels strange and new – like we’re navigating unfamiliar paths in very dim lighting.

But for our young moms, these feelings are anything but new. Every young mom comes to New Moms because poverty and homelessness have created instability in their lives and they have little support to lean on. They have no clear path forward. During these recent days, they have experienced even greater scarcity of support and care.

This is why New Moms exists. We offer hope, and shine a light on a path forward for young moms to find stability, gain a community, and grow in confidence and determination as they lead their families. Tabitha’s story is an exciting example of how supporting young moms helps to build strong families. 

After losing her job, Tabitha found out she was pregnant and soon became homeless. New Moms gave her a safe home to raise her newborn daughter and focus on her next steps.

New Moms gave me a stable place where I didn’t have to worry about safety, will I have heat, or all that other stuff. I had stability in my life while I was able to change my own life.

Through our Job Training program and her work experience at our social enterprise,                                Bright Endeavors, Tabitha learned how to communicate and receive feedback in a professional workplace. We connected her to a career development program called YearUp, providing skill training and a pathway to corporate internships with potential for placement. Tabitha embraced the challenging experience as a critical stepping stone to a long-term career path, and was offered a position at Northwestern Hospital in Research and Administration.

I was very supported by the New Moms staff.…I’m grateful for stability and I feel like if I fall down again…I know that I’m strong enough to get back up. I am more than what is going on right now and this ain’t the end of it. I can reach out for help.

After two years with New Moms, Tabitha has a steady job and career path, she has found a safe and stable home, and continues to focus on being a great mom to her daughter. Her next goals are to complete her bachelor’s degree in business and pursue an MBA.

New Moms is a critical support and resource for young moms who face times of instability and uncertainty. And now, as we weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need your help to continue to lean into our mission of surrounding young moms and their children with all they need to transform their lives. 

As we come to the end of our Fiscal Year on June 30, we are facing a budget shortfall of $90,000 as a result of cancelling our spring fundraiser, Kitchen Walk, and increased expenses from our COVID-19 response.

Will you make a donation to support young moms like Tabitha, so that they can find hope and see a pathway forward for their families?

With continued hope and determination,


Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D. President & CEO

P.S. Remember the CARES Act expands taxable deductions for charitable giving for 2020. Your donation this year may go further!

Give A Gift

Motherhood: Looking to the Future

What would your child say about you in twenty years? For Mother’s Day, we asked our moms to reflect on their life with their children. As part of a writing activity, they looked forward into the future to imagine their relationship with their children. Here is what they hope their child will say:

“In 20 years…”

Sabrina & Zyaire

… Zyaire will be 22 years old and I hope this is what he will say about me:My mom Sabrina is the best mother in the world. She always strives and works hard to make sure my every need and want is taken care of. My mom is first my mother and forever my friend. My mom loves me unconditionally and I’m forever grateful and honored to have her as my mom. My mom is strong, fierce and fearless. She always knows what to do and say at the right times. There’s no limit to the things my mom would do for me. She has my back and I got her front .

Yashica & Amorion

… Amorion will be 21 years old and I hope this is what he will say about me:My mom Yashica is a strong woman that I watched grow and become everything she said she would. I’ve watched her cry, laugh, smile, and struggle but, she still held her head high. She has always been there for me through good/bad. I love talking to my mother because she gives me sight of things I never knew about and always says the pros and cons of things. And when everyone is against her, she knows I’m always here and always will have her back. My mother is a warrior woman and someday, I will be able to make her proud of the man she raised. I love you mother.

Tamyra & Ja’Maya

… 20 years Ja’Maya will be 22 years old and I hope this is what she’ll say about me:My mom Tamyra is the best mom ever. Me and my mom have a great friendship and I can talk to her about anything. Although she is a mom before a friend, she listens to me and hears me out always. She is so supportive in everything I do whether I’m right or wrong. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for my mother. Me and my mother may bump heads like every teenage girl and her mother, nothing’s perfect but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My mom is like my best friend and I am so very thankful for her. She tried the very best that she could and that is more than enough for me.

At New Moms, we partner with young moms through our Housing, Job Training, and Family Support as they tap into their potential and pursue audacious possibilities for their futures.

This Mother’s Day, honor the mothers in your life with a gift to New Moms. Make a donation in honor of a mom and have a personalized Mother’s Day card sent to her. Customize the card with a heartfelt message, and we’ll make sure it gets to her on time.

Click here to order your card before Monday, May 4.

Family Support Specialists Adapt to Continue Serving Families

Family Support Specialist Andrea Serna and New Moms participant Bridget meet for a virtual home visit using Zoom on April 15. Andrea said she’s been “really impressed” by the resilience of the young moms she works with and how they’re willing to be flexible as New Moms transitions to virtual rather than in-person support.

Despite the uncertainty of our world, New Moms’ priority during this crisis remains to support young moms and their children.

As most of our team continues to work remotely, staff are getting creative and adapting to new ways of meeting our families’ needs. This is especially true for our Family Support team whose in-person based services have undergone significant changes.

“Support continues, but it looks a little different,” said Family Support Manager Katie Wise.

As part of our COVID-19 response, the Family Support team has transitioned to virtual check-ins with their participants. Katie says that Family Support Specialists now use Zoom meetings and phone calls to connect with families, as well as sending educational materials digitally. 

Family Support Specialist Shree Topps and a young family meet for a virtual home visit using Zoom on April 16. Each home visit had three educational components — family well-being, child development, and parent-child interaction — designed to enhance the bond between moms and their children.

Family Support Specialists at New Moms are highly trained home visitors who provide parenting and pregnancy coaching to young moms. Their main focus is to support moms as they set and achieve goals for themselves and their families.

“I’m very impressed with New Moms and how they turned this around,” said Oak Park Family Support Specialist Shree Topps, who works closely with many homeless moms. “We got access to all this technology so fast. It’s just been amazing how we hit the ground running.”

Initially, transitioning to virtual support was difficult and frustrating, said Chicago Family Support Specialist Andrea Serna, who also works with many homeless families.

“A lot of my work is based on that relationship with the families and really being there in-person, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment to doing things over the phone or doing things over Zoom,” Andrea said. “But I’ve been really impressed with how my participants have been so flexible with communicating virtually.” 

The Family Support teams from New Moms’ Chicago and Oak Park locations have banded together to share creative “tips and tricks” for virtually engaging with participants and to support each other during this time. 

The need for basic necessities is critical at this time. New Moms continues to provide diapers and formula to our participants and is working to keep our food pantry stocked for families in our 58 apartments. Thank you to everyone who has offered their support with both financial and in-kind donations.

“We’re all tied together in this mission,” Katie said. “We’re all together working to support families and that hasn’t changed. If anything that’s become more focused — crystal clear.”

In addition to regular check-ins, the Family Support team has also been delivering cleaning supplies, food, and basic essentials to participants. These items are being generously donated by the New Moms community. Anyone can purchase items off our Amazon Essentials and Food Pantry wishlists and it will be sent directly to New Moms for distribution to families.

Shree said Family Support Specialists have also been connecting participants with mental health resources like Thrive, a counseling center that offers tele-counseling.

“A couple of them want to know who they can talk to just to talk through this and get the help they need to deal with it,” Shree said.

During this time, the Family Support Specialists said they are encouraged most by the resilience of their participants. Despite the global crisis, many young moms are still looking on the “bright side.”

“They’re really focusing on parenting, focusing on that parent-child relationship,” Andrea said. “It’s just great to see them interact with their children and still find the positive sides of things.”

Virtual home visits and supply drop-offs will continue for the foreseeable future to keep everyone safe and healthy.

As we all continue to weather this storm, we ask that you keep New Moms’ staff and participants in your thoughts and prayers. Check out our website here for ongoing updates on New Moms’ response to COVID-19.

Donate to Kitchen Talk for exclusive designer pro tips!

Donate for exclusive designer pro tips!

For 35 years, we’ve shown you beautiful kitchens to support the mission of helping young families create their own homes. 

Now, we need your help more than ever. We’ve had to cancel our traditional Kitchen Walk and completely reinvent our big spring fundraiser which accounts for $60,000 of our yearly budget.

Introducing, Kitchen Talk!

This year, we’re talking instead of walking. As our Kitchen Walk friend, we are asking you to donate today to make that dream of home a reality for moms and their children. As a thank you, you’ll receive access to a video of exclusive pro tips from your favorite designers and a discount code for Bright Endeavors candles, sent to your email on April 25th. This is a special gift from the designers and New Moms to show you our appreciation.

When you donate, you’re helping New Moms keep services available to young moms and their children. Donate today to get your exclusive designer pro tips!

Donate for exclusive designer pro tips!

New Moms’ COVID-19 Response

Our Ongoing COVID-19 Response

We are so grateful to have such a dedicated community behind us during this time. Thank you for responding to New Moms’ call for both fiscal and in-kind donations.

Our staff are working hard to meet the changing needs of our families, but we couldn’t do it as successfully without your help. Because of your generosity, we continue to offer supportive services to families enrolled in our programming.

Our Family Support team is connecting with families virtually, conducting home visits and parent support groups via Zoom and over the phone. Our team is also able to deliver essential items like food, diapers, formula, baby wipes, and household cleaning products to young moms. Our families have told us these are the items they need most.

We’re humbled by the incredible support we’ve received. Your compassion is having a true impact on our mission and the young moms and children we serve.

Community Partners

A special thanks to Lakeview PantryNurture LifeKoval DistilleryCradles to CrayonsSchelpThe Lazy Volunteers, and Summer Time to Give.


Watch Our Latest Webinar!

Executive Skills Strategies for Coping with Coronavirus

Watch the webinar New Moms created in partnership with REDF, “Using Executive Skills to Cope with COVID-19,” hosted May 28, 2020.

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our work and world – and has forced us all to use our own Executive Skills in new ways. Watch below to learn practical, low-cost, and immediately applicable Executive Skills-informed strategies for coping with stress, mitigating Executive Skills struggles, or supporting others as we adapt to the effects of the pandemic.

You can also click here to learn more about Executive Skills and how we implement them in our work at New Moms.


Read Our Latest Blogs!

1) Direct cash transfers support families during COVID-19 pandemic

Cash support is powerful because it 1) relays trust our in participants to make decisions for themselves, 2) reduces stress by allowing young moms to plan their finances beyond immediate necessities, and 3) is a fast and efficient way to improve economic mobility from poverty.

As part of our COVID-19 response, New Moms partnered with Family Independence Initiative and the #GiveTogetherNow Chicago Fund to provide direct financial relief to families in our programming who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Within the span of two weeks in late April, our dedicated program staff helped 45 families who were experiencing employment loss access an unconditional cash transfer of $500 each. In total, $22,500 was directly transferred into bank accounts of young moms across all New Moms’ programs!

Chief Program Officer Melanie Garrett described the initiative as exciting because it gets to the heart of New Moms’ mission and Family-Centered Coaching approach. This approach puts moms in the driver’s seat and affirms their strength, ability, and potential to accomplish the goals they set for themselves and their family.

“It’s truly putting our money where our mouth is and saying ‘we really trust you, you are the expert of your own life,’” Melanie said.

Click here to read the full blog and learn more about how New Moms is empowering families with direct cash transfers.

2) Family Support Specialists Adapt to Continue Serving Families

Family Support Specialist Andrea Serna and New Moms participant Britney meet for a virtual home visit on April 15. Andrea said she’s been “really impressed” by the resilience of the young moms she works with and how they’re willing to be flexible as New Moms transitions to virtual rather than in-person support.

Despite the uncertainty of our world, New Moms’ priority during this crisis remains to support young moms and their children. As most of our team continues to work remotely, staff are getting creative and adapting to new ways of meeting our families’ needs. This is especially true for our Family Support team who’s in-person based services have undergone significant changes.

“Support continues, but it looks a little different,” said Family Support Manager Katie Wise.

Click here to read the rest of our latest blog and see how our Family Support Specialists are adapting to serve families.


Here’s How You Can Continue to Help

1. Send food and daily essentials directly to moms and children

The need for basic necessities is critical at this time. New Moms continues to provide diapers and formula to our participants and is working to keep our food pantry stocked for families in our 58 apartments.

Purchase food and daily essentials off our Amazon Essentials & Food Pantry Wishlists, and they will be sent directly to our families at New Moms. With stores being cleared out of baby wipes, diapers, formula, and cleaning supplies–these are the items our families need most.

Click Here to Send Food Directly to Families               Click Here to Purchase Off the Amazon Essentials Registry

2. Donate Financially

When you donate, you’re helping New Moms focus on keeping services available to young families. You can help New Moms maintain a stable budget as we navigate challenging changes in our fundraising efforts, such as cancelling our April Kitchen Walk fundraiser.

  • $55 = can provide one night of housing for a young mom and her child.
  • $100 = can ensure 2 families have the food, diapers, and household supplies they need when they move into New Moms apartments.
  • $250 = contributes to helping New Moms maintain a stable budget as we navigate challenging changes in our fundraising efforts, such as cancelling our Kitchen Walk fundraiser.
  • A recurring donation of $25/month or more helps us know that you will be with us as we weather the COVID-19 storm and continue to serve young moms and their children.

Donate

3. Shop Bright Endeavors Candles

Helps us continue to employ young moms in our Job Training program, so they can support their families during this challenging time.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Shop! The online store is open and the shelves are stocked. Candles can help create a sense of peace that we all need right now.
  • Gift! Have a friend struggling with the solitude of social distance? Candles are a simple way to brighten someone’s day.
  • Share! The more people who know about the critical work we do, the better we’re able to do it. Sharing our Instagram and Facebook profiles with your friends and family is a wonderful and easy way to support our mission.

– Updated April 21, 2020 


Message from New Moms CEO During COVID-19

https://player.vimeo.com/video/402297922

New Moms President and CEO Laura Zumdahl shares updates about New Moms’ COVID-19 response and gives her personal thanks to everyone who has offered their support with both financial and in-kind donations.

– Updated March 31, 2020 


Our Work Continues During COVID-19: We need your help

Thank you to everyone who has offered their support with both financial and in-kind donations. It is only with your support that we can continue serving our families during this difficult time. As stricter measures are instituted to curb the spread of COVID-19, including longer school closures and orders of “shelter in place” for all of Illinois, the pressure on our young moms only increases.

Late last week, one of our doulas grieved that she couldn’t attend the labor of one of her participants and be a direct advocate for her during the birth because of guest restrictions at the hospital. She persevered and provided virtual coaching to the mom through the night. In the early morning hours, a healthy baby was born.

Our team has been working diligently to connect with our families and ensure our supportive programs continue to address the needs of our families during this emergency.

Here are a few ways we are serving our families right now:

  • We have committed to continue paying young moms who are employed by our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, as part of our Job Training program while normal operations have been paused. We want to make sure that the moms in our program can stay home, stay safe, and care for their families. They are valued members of our team and we want to ensure they are supported during this crisis.
  • Daily E-Learning Sessions are offered to all participants in our Job Training program to support their preparation for permanent employment.
  • Our Family Support team is incorporating virtual service delivery to offer on-going parent support and crisis intervention.
  • Our Housing team continues to support families moving into our apartments and connect them with the resources they need to stabilize. We had three families move in last week and have five move-ins scheduled for this week.
  • New Moms will continue to suspend all site-based parent support groups and workshops until further notice.

Our families continue to seek support and our team continues to mobilize remotely to provide the best support possible to weather this storm. We are hearing from our families that they need food, diapers, formula, baby wipes, and household cleaning products.

We need your help to help fill this need. Here’s how you can continue to support New Moms’ families:

1. Send food and daily essentials directly to moms and children

The need for basic necessities is critical at this time. New Moms continues to provide diapers and formula to our participants and is working to keep our food pantry stocked for families in our 58 apartments.

Purchase food and daily essentials off our Amazon Essentials & Food Pantry Wishlists, and they will be sent directly to our families at New Moms. With stores being cleared out of baby wipes, diapers, formula, and cleaning supplies–these are the items our families need most.

Click here to send food directly to families

Click here to purchase off the Amazon Essentials Registry

2. Donate Financially

When you donate, you’re helping New Moms focus on keeping services available to young families. You can help New Moms maintain a stable budget as we navigate challenging changes in our fundraising efforts, such as cancelling our April Kitchen Walk fundraiser.

  • $55 = can provide one night of housing for a young mom and her child.
  • $100 = can ensure 2 families have the food, diapers, and household supplies they need when they move into New Moms apartments.
  • $250 = contributes to helping New Moms maintain a stable budget as we navigate challenging changes in our fundraising efforts, such as cancelling our Kitchen Walk fundraiser.
  • A recurring donation of $25/month or more helps us know that you will be with us as we weather the COVID-19 storm and continue to serve young moms and their children.

Donate

Thank you for your generous support! We are deeply grateful for all of you!

– Updated March 24, 2020 


Help Young Moms During COVID-19

We’re living in a time of great uncertainty. While COVID-19 affects all of us, it has a tremendous impact on the families who New Moms serves. Most of the young moms we partner with do not have a robust social safety net and many are experiencing homelessness. Because of COVID-19, many are dealing with potential or realized unemployment, the loss of vital social services, and lack of health care support if they get sick.

New Moms’ priority during the COVID-19 crisis is to support young moms and their children. This week our team is:

  • Moving young moms out of temporary emergency shelters into our housing programs in Chicago and Oak Park. We anticipate more move-ins next week. It is critical these families have access to safe and stable housing, especially during this time.
  • Providing access to our food pantry and emergency supplies of diapers, formula, and baby wipes while our families have decreased access to vital social services and resources.
  • Ensuring young moms who continue to maintain their jobs have transportation to get to work.
  • Informing our families directly about the current pandemic and how they can take precautions to stay healthy and safe.

As most of our team works remotely, we are working together to support our families through this COVID-19 storm. Here’s how you can help:

1. Donate Financially

We need your support to keep services available to young families. Here are a few ways your donation makes an impact:

  • $55 = can provide one night of housing for a young mom and her child.
  • $100 = can ensure 2 families have the food, diapers, and household supplies they need when they move into New Moms apartments.
  • $250 = contributes to helping New Moms maintain a stable budget as we navigate challenging changes in our fundraising efforts, such as cancelling our Kitchen Walk fundraiser.
  • A recurring donation of $25/month or more helps us know that you will be with us as we weather the COVID-19 storm and continue to serve young moms and their children.

Donate

2. Send food & daily essentials directly to moms and children

The need for basic necessities is critical at this time. New Moms continues to provide diapers and formula to our participants and is working to keep our food pantry stocked for families in our 58 apartments.

Purchase food and daily essentials off our Amazon Essentials & Food Pantry Wishlists, and they will be sent directly to our families at New Moms. With stores being cleared out of baby wipes, diapers, formula, and cleaning supplies–these are the items our families need most.

Click here to send food directly to families

Click here to purchase off the Amazon Essentials Registry

Thank you for your support during this difficult time in our world, and we hope you all are staying safe and healthy. New Moms is so grateful to have dedicated supporters like you.

– Updated March 18, 2020


During this quickly changing time of concern, New Moms believes it is our responsibility to prioritize the health and well-being of our participants, staff, and volunteers, while also being constructive in the role we play in supporting our local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the COVID-19 virus. We continue to be vigilant in monitoring updates on the virus and making decisions with science-based guidance via the CDC and Chicago Department of Health. As we make decisions, we are deeply aware of the significant impact they have on the young moms and children who we serve, and are working diligently to balance this tension. We have decided to implement the following precautions beginning immediately:

  • New Moms will move all non-essential staff to work from home and suspend much of our normal programming. We will reassess this each week to ensure we continue to support the containment efforts and the families we serve are supported to the best of our ability.
  • We will be closing the Transformation Center in Austin, Oak Park Center, and Bright Endeavors to visitors.
  • No in-kind donations will be accepted at any of our locations through the end of March.
  • Group volunteer activities scheduled between March 15 – March 29 are cancelled.
  • In order to not host large community gatherings, we will be cancelling the upcoming Kitchen Walk 2020 on April 25. We will send updates next week about our creative alternatives for this important event that raises critical revenue for our young moms and their children.

We will provide updates on our response to COVID-19 on our website here as they are available.

In this unprecedented time, we ask that you keep New Moms in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate the impact these measures will have on our families. The health and safety of everyone is our top priority, and at the same time, we know that these measures will have a disproportionate impact on our fellow neighbors who are experiencing poverty.

Your continued support, both through prayer and financial gifts, is deeply needed at this time.

– Updated March 12, 2020

Purchase tickets for Kitchen Walk 2020!

Save the date for the 35th annual Kitchen Walk • Saturday, April 25, 2020 • 10am to 4pm

For 35 years, the Kitchen Walk has been a much-anticipated highlight of spring in Oak Park and River Forest. The annual fundraiser showcases 10 stunning newly renovated kitchens. A committee of professional designers and architects select each kitchen from dozens of nominees based on how well each one demonstrates innovative, attractive and purposeful design.

Click here to purchase tickets and for more information

5 Innovative Ways Bright Endeavors Lights the Way for Young Moms

This year celebrates 10 years since New Moms integrated our social enterprise home fragrance company, Bright Endeavors, into our Job Training Program. 

Bright Endeavors is an integral component of our workforce development program for parenting youth and exists to provide paid transitional job training and skill development for young moms.

New Moms’ innovative social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, is a critical component of our Job Training program and exists to provide transitional job training and professional skill development for young moms who are working to build strong families.

“The moms in our program show up on day one as tenacious, dedicated, smart women who fiercely love their kids and want to do whatever it takes to provide them a comfortable life and a bright future,” said Sarah-Jayne Ashenhurst, Bright Endeavors’ Social Enterprise Director. “We open that door by providing an opportunity for each participant to learn about their strengths and challenges and to apply that knowledge to their careers.”

As a social enterprise, Bright Endeavors pairs New Moms’ social mission of supporting young moms as they build strong families with the business model of a candle-making company. We strive to challenge conventional models by prioritizing shared prosperity. Young moms gain critical, paid work experience and all revenue from the sale of the hand-crafted candles directly funds New Moms’ programming. 

Since 2010, 512 moms have worked at Bright Endeavors while working towards their goals of economic stability and mobility. In honor of this achievement, we’re highlighting some of the many ways Bright Endeavors is an innovator among employment-focused social enterprises.

Integrated Supportive Services

Production & Training Specialist Cathy Robinson-Yates and Supportive Employment Specialist Mary Blew work with Production Assistants in New Moms’ workforce development program for parenting youth.

Finding and maintaining a job can be challenging enough without the added stress of raising a young family. Many of the young moms we partner with must navigate a variety of barriers like stable housing, childcare, and transportation while also developing their careers.

This is why Job Training is a fully integrated part of our service model. Moms working at Bright Endeavors have access to all of New Moms’ supportive programs, so they can take control of their goals and futures. Our goal is to provide services to help stabilize families and alleviate the effects of toxic stress.

“New Moms helped to open doors for me – doors to be a great mom,” said Olivia, a Production Assistant at Bright Endeavors. “Everything I was looking for, New Moms offered it at some time.”

A safe place to live and a supportive network are important parts of a mom’s success in the workplace. Moms who feel supported have additional bandwidth to handle the stress of being a working parent.

Program Structure 

Young moms enrolled in New Moms’ Job Training program spend two out of the five days in the week in the classroom at our Austin location. In the classroom, moms learn professional skills, financial literacy, and how to write a résumé as part of their curriculum.

Our Job Training program combines classroom training, hands-on job experience, and personal coaching, to support moms as they build core life, workplace, and technical skills.

“It’s been great,” said Terrah, team lead of the finishing department. “Working on these candles, it’s bettered me as a person and as a young mom.”

On Mondays and Fridays, young moms are in the classroom learning about professional skills and job readiness. The other three days, they work the production floor at Bright Endeavors making soy candles and practicing their skills.

Our Job Training Program also integrates personal coaching into production management. For many moms, working at Bright Endeavors is their first job, so they’re learning the expectations of the workplace for the first time, according to Bright Endeavors’ Production and Training Specialist, Cathy Robinson-Yates.

During the program, young moms are able to practice their skills in a safe and supportive environment, and coaches help prepare them for a permanent job immediately after graduating.

“I promise you, you’ll love it,” said Production Assistant Natarah. “All of the things they teach you here, and what you learn here will help you for a career, not just a job.”

Education Gains On The Job

Education is a critical component of long term stability and success, so every young mom is encouraged to continue along her educational path.

Production Assistants at New Moms social enterprise home fragrance company, Bright Endeavors, listen to their coworkers give a presentation prior to their shift on the production floor.

An example of how we work with moms to support their education goals is by integrating literacy and numeracy learning directly into the program. Young moms come to New Moms in various stages of education, so we developed a curriculum that imbeds reading and math into their work at Bright Endeavors.

This contextualized reading and math curriculum helped 72.2% of moms improve their reading or math scores last year. Moms also improve an average of 2.5 grade levels during the 16 weeks of the program.

“This is a huge leap in educational gains in a short period of time,” said Dana Emanuel, New Moms’ Director of Learning and Innovation. “Participants are learning and using math skills while making candles, so it feels immediately applicable, relevant, and important for their job at Bright Endeavors and future external employment. We believe they are increasing their literacy and numeracy level at a much higher rate than they would in a classroom-based learning environment alone.”

Young moms also explore the ongoing education options necessary to pursue their personal life and career goals.

In 2019 alone, 72.9% of participants exited our program with a high school diploma or increased education level.

“They give us a lot of support and they really try to assure us that you can be a mom, you can work, you can still go to school,” said Production Assistant Ricarda.

Pay Structure

At New Moms, we partner with young moms and their kids, like Zuleima and her daughter Elyn, in a “2-Generation” approach. This allows us to positively impact two generations of youth: young moms as well as their children.

At Bright Endeavors, production assistants are paid an hourly wage of $13/hr for both classroom and production time, to value her time and effort. A young mom can earn up to $3,700 over 16 weeks while also developing critical job skills.

“The fact that they recognize you for working hard, that means something to me, because a lot of people don’t see my hard work,” said Production Assistant Denise, a Team Lead a Bright Endeavors. “I feel appreciated.”

Additionally, this pay structure supports moms as they work towards their goals of economic stability and mobility.

“We’re giving moms the training that they need to be successful, but also the pay,” said Cathy Robinson-Yates, Bright Endeavors’ Production & Training Specialist. “Our moms, they need housing. They have to take care of family. We are providing them with some stable income that will help them to take care of their families.”

This allows our work to impact two generations of youth: young moms and their children.

“My daughter will benefit because I benefited from being at New Moms,” said Olivia, a Production Assistant at Bright Endeavors. “New Moms allowed me to have financial stability and she will get to reap the fruits of that experience.”

Executive Skills Approach

In 2016, New Moms’ Job Training program and Bright Endeavors started applying brain and behavioral science of “Executive Skills” to enhance its coaching program. We saw this could also have a positive effect on the business side of the candle production floor.

Production Assistants start their shift on the production floor  at New Moms’ social enterprise home fragrance company, Bright Endeavors, with a team huddle

Executive Skills are the 12 brain-based abilities that govern how we organize, plan, and get things done. Everyone has Executive Skills strengths and struggles, and leveraging young moms’ Executive Skills strengths in on-the-job coaching at Bright Endeavors has made a huge impact on young moms’ confidence and job readiness.

“Bright Endeavors gives me the chance to grow into someone my kids will be proud of,” said Production Assistant, Taeya. “My mindset has changed dramatically.” 

We have started to see strong gains in job retention rates as well, with 81% of young moms retaining employment one year after they begin working.

Before adopting components of the Executive Skills on the production floor, Bright Endeavors experienced high candle production waste – such as spilled wax, spilled scent, and torn labels. With a focus on better tracking, SMART Goals, coaching and environmental modifications as part of the Executive Skills Approach, waste at Bright Endeavors has decreased over 85% to rarely over $250 of costs per month.

All of the money saved is reinvested into the program to the benefit of future moms.

Coaching Perspectives: Executive Skills in Practice

In this second blog post about New Moms’ innovative Executive Skills Approach, we explore how Executive Skills are integrated into our job training program and social enterprise, Bright Endeavors.

Bright Endeavors’ Production and Training Specialist II, Cathy Robinson-Yates, shares her thoughts on how Executive Skills-based coaching makes a difference to young moms who are engaged in paid transitional job making candles at Bright Endeavors.

Cathy, can you explain your role at Bright Endeavors?

Bright Endeavors’ Production and Training Specialist, Cathy Robinson-Yates

Bright Endeavors is the candle making social enterprise of New Moms – a big part of our paid, 16-week job training program for young moms under 24 years old. My responsibility as Production and Training Specialist is to make sure our production floor, staffed by young moms in our program, meets the goals of our business AND our training program. We usually have between 17-20 young moms on the manufacturing floor, split into four production departments: pouring, finishing, private labels, and shipping.

I make sure the moms complete all daily activities, such as morning workshop, production, end of day cleaning, and our post-shift meeting — and that all the moms are getting trained and prepared for permanent employment along the way. Everything we do in training – whether talking about candle wax or a job skill like time management – includes an Executive Skills coaching approach.

Can you describe how you incorporate Executive Skills into Bright Endeavors?

Everyone has Executive Skills – me, you, my colleagues, our young moms! So, we all come to Bright Endeavors with our special set of Executive Skills strengths and struggles. We call these struggles “warming pots” — a candle reference that means the skills we are working to improve. Executive Skills develop in the brain over time and are shaped by your life experiences, environment, stress, and relationships. There are 12 Executive Skills that regulate how we all organize, plan, and get things done.

Bright Endeavors’ Executive Skills board

In the 2nd week of our 16-week program, young moms attend an Executive Skills workshop to learn about Executive Skills. They take a questionnaire to self-identify their strengths and warming pots and then share their results with everyone. All staff also share their strengths and warming pots.

There’s no shame in sharing your Executive Skills at New Moms! We have a big board on the production floor at Bright Endeavors that lists everyone’s strengths and warming pots so that we can use that information to help hold each other accountable and support each other to grow.

For example, my Executive Skill strength is “Goal-Directed Persistence.” I just HAVE to make sure we meet our daily production SMART goal! When moms know this about me, they understand the way I manage the production floor the way I do, why I insist on SMART goals in all departments, and they don’t take it personally when I re-direct them to focus on these goals.

The young moms also know “Working Memory” is my warming pot so they leave me notes to remind me of something we previously talked about, like their time off requests. This is great! I am working on it, with their help. They see how it’s now just something we know about each other, so they can help me with my struggles just as I do with theirs.

How cool that such a small action, like post-it notes, can have a big impact!

The timer on the blue wax melting pot is set to automatically remind us when the pot needs to be refilled.

We call it an “environmental modification.” We do a ton of that at Bright Endeavors! We change a processes or system, remove barriers to success, use technology to help a mom achieve a goal. For example, we set an automatic timer on our wax melting pot. The timer goes off every 30 minutes, so it reminds a mom to stop her candle making task, check the wax pot temperature and refill it.

When we accomplish small goals with the help of environmental modifications, we gain confidence that we can accomplish bigger goals over time, too. Of course, moms also get paid $13/hr, which removes the stress of where their food or diapers are going to come from and means they can focus more on their training at Bright Endeavors and getting a good job.

How does Executive Skills coaching impact the moms at Bright Endeavors?

The ES coaching approach shows moms they already have strengths. Sometimes young moms come to Bright Endeavors with low self-esteem, struggling with domestic violence or other challenges. When a mom becomes aware of her own Executive Skills, she feels empowered, proud of who she is, and also gets the tools for how she can grow in her warming pots. She also doesn’t feel ashamed of her warming pots since she sees that everyone has them. When a mom knows how her Executive Skills show up in the workplace, now she has techniques to deal with it so she can find and retain a permanent job outside of Bright Endeavors. Our job retention rate is really strong because of this – 81% stay employed for one year after the program! Similar programs are around 50%.

A young moms at Bright Endeavors focuses on achieving her candle production SMART goal for the day.

For example, we have a young mom right now, Helena. Helena’s strength is “Task Initiation.” She gets an assignment and there she goes to work on it immediately! Her struggle is “Sustained Attention,” so after a little while she’ll be on the other side of the floor working on another project. Now that Helena and I both know this about her we make very short-term SMART Goals, like “make 50 lavender candles by the end of the hour.” She gets to start “new” tasks every hour and still accomplish her performance goals at Bright Endeavors, proving to herself she can do it!

Now, Helena can share that example in an interview, and can use that technique to perform well in her next job, too.

How do you use Executive Skills to celebrate growth and success at Bright Endeavors?

Bright Endeavors’ young mom rings the bell to let everyone know she just got a job!

Young moms are motivated to get a job, get paid, leave a legacy for other moms in the program and for their kids. We use incentives to help motivate people to reach for bigger goals. Each department has a “team lead” position – this is a young mom who gets promoted, wears a red apron, and helps to lead her department. It’s a big boost and everyone wants to be a Team Lead so young moms work hard to get promoted.

We also have a bell on the production floor and when a mom gets a job, she gets to ring the bell. Everyone stops working and goes over to the mom, cheers them on. It’s very public recognition. She then gets to write her name, date, employer, and an inspirational quote on the wall. Alumna of the program will come back to ring the bell. Everyone loves the bell!

Moms also give shout-outs at the end of every day at our post-shift meeting, “Thank you for your help on my shipping project,” “I appreciate you for receiving the feedback really well,” etc. They always want me to hear shout-outs!

Why does an Executive Skills Approach matter at New Moms? And what is New Moms going to do to keep the momentum of this innovative approach going?

Executive Skills matter at New Moms because young moms feel very proud of their hard work and want to share that pride with others – their kids, their family members, friends, coaches, Bright Endeavors candle customers and more! That’s the most rewarding aspect of using Executive Skills coaching at Bright Endeavors, seeing moms feel empowered by knowing their strengths and confident that they can accomplish their goals.

Now, New Moms is testing out parts of the Executive Skills Approach in our Housing and Family Supports programs. Coaches and participants are excited about that. We’ll be able to do another blog post about it, too!

To learn more about how New Moms and Bright Endeavors apply Executive Skills-based coaching to our programs, check out our Executive Skills Implementation Case Study and Practitioner Toolkit!

Creating supportive spaces for student mothers

New Moms Family Support Specialist Noemy Céspedes leads a young mother support group on Wednesdays at Morton East High School on Nov. 6, 2019. The group covers “a little bit of everything” but discussion is centered around preparing for motherhood or being a parent.

In the midst of the whirlwind that is an average US high school, Noemy Céspedes creates a unique space for fellowship and reflection.

New Moms Family Support Specialist Noemy Céspedes holds six-month-old Valeria on Dec. 2, 2019. Noemy meets with young moms for in-home coaching visits twice a week in addition to leading the support group based out of Morton East High School.

Each week, Noemy, a New Moms Family Support Specialist, leads a support group for young mothers at Morton East High School. The group always meets on Wednesday, but the time changes so moms only miss class once every six weeks.

“I think it’s really important to give these young mothers a safe space to gather and to discuss whatever’s on their minds and whatever they’re hearing in their hearts,” Noemy said. “I always tell my young moms, ‘Who better to understand where you’re coming from than someone else who is experiencing the same thing you are.’”

The group covers “a little bit of everything”, but discussion is centered around preparing for motherhood and being a parent. This includes breastfeeding, c-sections, what makes someone trustworthy, etc. Sometimes the moms will ask about things they’re currently experiencing, Noemy said.

In addition to the support group, Noemy also leads in-home coaching appointments twice a week with moms from the group.

We sat down with Noemy to talk about her role as a Family Support Specialist and what it’s like working with young moms in a school setting.

What is it like to work with students?

I think that I’m actually at an advantage that the moms are in school. No matter what is going on in their lives, either personally, or wherever they are in their journey with motherhood, school is always the grounding point for them. No matter what’s going on, they always come to class. It’s like our hub.

What has been the most challenging part of your job?

Sometimes a teenager isn’t the most reliable. One of the challenges is setting up a time for a home visit or a time to meet somewhere, and then that falls through. I constantly have to remind myself, “You’re working with someone incredibly young and who has other priorities.”

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding thing is knowing that these moms come into our program, not because they are required to, but because they want to. They want to learn to be better mothers. They want to learn to be as prepared as they can be for motherhood or childbirth. I’m really impressed by that. They have a genuine desire to just be the best parent they can be.

What should people know about this support group?

It’s important to have a space with people who know where the moms are coming from, like their peers. What I like to see, and what normally happens, are a lot of friendships that come out of these groups.

I also like the consistency of the group being every Wednesday and that we come to them in their school. It makes it easier for the moms. It makes it more accessible, so they don’t have to arrange childcare, or have to be picked up or dropped off. 

What should people know about the in-home coaching visits?

There is nothing that compares to the honor and privilege of being allowed into someone’s home. I am invited in to have that one-on-one time with them and their baby where they live. These young moms can be very private individuals, so when they open the doors and they see that I don’t bite, it brings another level of the relationship that you build with the young mom. 

Do you meet the moms’ families during these visits?

Yes. The participant’s mothers are always very curious about me and what I do. Since I work in Cicero, a lot of the families are Spanish-speaking, and English is their second language — if they speak English at all. Fortunately, I can speak Spanish, so I meet them in a language that they understand. Once they see and hear that we’re talking about parenting, the importance of preparing for motherhood, and finishing your studies, they’re like “Oh, okay you’re cool. You can come back.”

Do the young moms like to speak Spanish in the support group? 

The mothers that I see in the high school all speak English. Their classes and their homework are in English. It’s the preference of wanting to speak Spanish or being more comfortable in that language that adds another layer of comfort into the room. I feel like once they realize, “Oh, she speaks Spanish like my mom does, and my grandma does, and my aunt, and my dad,” there’s more of a sense of connection. I believe it makes them feel more at home.

What is a misconception about New Moms’ Family Support program that you’d like to clear up?

Usually when people ask me what I do for a living and I say I work with mothers that are in high school, I immediately get a lot of, “Oh, those poor young moms.” It’s the idea that their lives are over, or they’ve made a huge mistake. First of all, their lives are not over. Their lives are just changing. Like I said earlier, it’s wonderful that these moms have decided on their own to participate in all these great programs that we offer. They want to learn, and they want to do better. They go on to graduate high school and they go on to college. Again, their life is not over, it’s just changed. 

How does your work fulfill New Moms’ mission?

I think of one mom that I worked with. When she came to our program, she was in her second trimester and she was really behind on her credits in school. So, she went to night school which means she was in school from 8:30am to 7:30pm. In addition to that, she was maintaining her GPA, she was coming to group every week, and she was coming to her home visits as well. Her goal — because we talk about goals a lot at New Moms — was to graduate in May. She was determined to do it. There were days she wasn’t feeling well. There were days she was exhausted. But she stuck with her goals and she was able to make up her credit hours. She graduated in May and is now attending Morton College. She’s still in our program and  participates in home visits with me. 

I know we talk about grit a lot, and this is a mom who has a lot of grit. It would have been very easy for her to say, “This is too hard for me. I’m not going to do it, or I’ll figure something out later,” but she stuck to her goal of wanting to finish in May and she did!

What advice would you give to young moms thinking about joining the program?

What I always tell my participants when I meet them initially is to give it a try. Give us a chance. Worst case scenario you don’t like it and you don’t ever have to see us again. But when you do get something out of it, you learn, you enjoy yourself, you make those friendships and connections, and you keep coming. You grow as a person and as a parent. So, if you’re wondering if you should call, I always say “What’s the worst that could happen?”</sp

Direct cash transfers support families during COVID-19 pandemic

Cash support is powerful because it 1) relays trust our in participants to make decisions for themselves, 2) reduces stress by allowing young moms to plan their finances beyond immediate necessities, and 3) is a fast and efficient way to improve economic mobility from poverty.

As part of our COVID-19 response, New Moms partnered with Family Independence Initiative and the #GiveTogetherNow Chicago Fund to provide direct financial relief to families in our programming who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Within the span of two weeks in late April, our dedicated program staff helped 45 families who were experiencing employment loss access an unconditional cash transfer of $500 each. In total, $22,500 was directly transferred into bank accounts of young moms across all New Moms’ programs!

Chief Program Officer Melanie Garrett described the initiative as exciting because it gets to the heart of New Moms’ mission and Family-Centered Coaching approach. This approach puts moms in the driver’s seat and affirms their strength, ability, and potential to accomplish the goals they set for themselves and their family.

“It’s truly putting our money where our mouth is and saying ‘we really trust you, you are the expert of your own life,’” Melanie said.

While COVID-19 has affected all of us, it has had a tremendous, immediate impact on the families New Moms serves. Many young families in our programs are experiencing homelessness and are out of school and work. The pandemic has exacerbated housing and employment loss, especially for young moms in front-line retail, manufacturing, and service industries. 

Rashai, a Family Support participant, lost her job as a daycare teacher when schools were closed earlier this year. She said her #GiveTogetherNow cash transfer went directly to paying her rent.

“[My landlord] has been trying to be understanding and be patient and wait for [rent], but I’ve been giving him whatever I can get,” Rashai said. “The $500 helped out a lot.”

Destiny and her son Emyr at New Moms 2018 participant Christmas Party. Destiny lost her job as a field worker for the Census in April due to COVID-19, and said before the cash transfer, she’d been struggling to pay the out-of-pocket cost for her daughter’s medicine.

Destiny, a resident at New Moms’ Transformation Center, said in addition to buying diapers, wipes, and food for her two children, she used the money to pay for her daughter, Amiyah’s, Vitamin-D drops.

Destiny lost her job as a field worker for the Census in April due to COVID-19, and lost her insurance. She said before the cash transfer, she’d been struggling to pay the out-of-pocket cost for her daughter’s medicine.

“I felt relief, that there was hope,” Destiny said. “I took care of everything I needed to with the money.”

Family Support Specialist Paula Ciccarone worked with the residents of New Moms’ Clare Place in Oak Park to access the cash transfer. She said trying to communicate with moms remotely with such a short turnaround time was challenging but, overall, she was “delighted” to be the person to share this opportunity with them.

“I enjoyed the sighs of relief from participants,” Paula said. “Having cash without limits definitely gave them a sense of control and empowerment.”

Employer Engagement Specialist Ashlee Krawczyk said the moms she spoke with were “relieved” that they could stop stressing about living expenses like groceries and the gas bill even if just for a little while. She said one mom in particular was “so excited.”

“She hadn’t been working for a few weeks and was worried about how she would continue to get her new baby formula without a job,” Ashlee said. “When I told her that she was about to come into some money, she asked me what the catch was, but luckily there was no catch! She told her own mother while we were on the phone and sang to her new baby about all the diapers and formula she would get her.”

For three years New Moms has partnered with Community Financial Resources to provide young moms with free, FDIC-insured bank accounts through US Bank. Access to quality, free banking products is just one tool we use to advance racial equity in the face of generations of financial injustice against Black and Latinx communities.

New Moms has been exploring direct cash transfers as part of a larger initiative to advance economic mobility for young families. For three years we have partnered with Community Financial Resources to provide young moms with free, FDIC-insured bank accounts through US Bank. Access to quality, free banking products is just one tool we use to advance racial equity in the face of generations of financial injustice against Black and Latinx communities.

Dana Emanuel, Director of Learning and Innovation, said New Moms is exploring ways to incorporate more cash transfers into programming. Transferring cash, she said, “is about financial inclusion and wealth-generation, it’s about racial equity. It’s about reducing financial stress immediately so young moms can plan for their short and long-term goals, and have the flexibility and autonomy to make their own decisions about their finances.” 

Through our research into cash transfers, New Moms connected with the Economic Security Project, which introduced us to the Chicago office of the Family Independence Initiative. With the spread of COVID-19, Family Independence Initiative created the #GiveTogetherNow fund to distribute money to families impacted by the pandemic. Within two months of New Moms’ application for the program, our participants received the $500 transfer in their bank accounts.

“We’re thankful to the Family Independence Initiative for recognizing the importance of cash transfers for young families, especially those who lost jobs due to the pandemic,” Dana Emanuel said. “It wasn’t a burdensome process for participants to access their money and that’s really important, so I want to thank them for making it relatively easy.”

Melanie Garrett said she wants to thank the coaches at New Moms who demonstrated grit while facilitating the cash distribution to families.

“This required a rapid response,” Melanie Garrett said. “We had very quick turnarounds, and I know during this time that that can feel even harder to do, so I appreciate that everyone really rose up to this challenge and made sure this could happen.”

Moving forward, New Moms wants to continue conversations about cash with the hope of eventually incorporating unconditional cash transfers into our programming.

“We saw how much of a difference it made and we are planning to continue providing or somehow facilitating cash transfers for families,” Dana Emanuel said. “The benefits of cash – the direct reduction of stress that comes from cash – doesn’t end when COVID is over.”

Want to know more about building economic mobility through cash supports? Click below to connect with our community partners or read some of the research behind direct cash transfers.

Community Partners:

Cash Supports Research:

New Moms COVID-19 Response:

Tabitha Finds a Pathway Forward for Her Family

Meet Tabitha! Tabitha is a former New Moms resident and Job Training alumnus who is now working at Northwestern Hospital and finishing her bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Tabitha’s story is an exciting example of how supporting young moms helps to build strong families. And that is why New Moms exists — to shine a light on a path forward for young moms and help them find stability, gain a community, and grow in confidence as they lead their families.

After losing her job at a local restaurant, Tabitha found out she was pregnant and soon became homeless. For a few months, Tabitha was staying with friends but felt like she needed more help during her pregnancy. 

She was eventually connected with New Moms during her stay at the La Casa Norte shelter. Through New Moms’ housing program, Tabitha gained a safe home to raise her newborn daughter and focus on her next steps.

“New Moms gave me a stable place where I didn’t have to worry about safety, will I have heat, or all that other stuff,” said Tabitha, who was 23 when she was referred to New Moms. “I had stability in my life while I was able to change my own life.”

During her time in our two-year transitional housing, Tabitha also enrolled in New Moms’ Job Training program. Through her work experience at our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, Tabitha learned how to communicate and receive feedback in a professional workplace.

Tabitha and her daughter celebrate Christmas at New Moms’ Transformation Center in 2018.

“It challenged me to learn how to address the situation more professionally — not just screaming, yelling “Raw, raw!” Tabitha laughed. “I had to learn how to say how I felt about the situation and how I wanted to resolve it. But it also gave me confidence in myself.”

At the end of her time at Bright Endeavors, New Moms staff member Ashlee Krawczyk helped Tabitha apply to a career development program called YearUp. The program provided Tabitha with skill training and a pathway to corporate internships with potential for placement. Tabitha was then placed at Northwestern Hospital as a Research Administrator intern.

Tabitha embraced the challenging experience as a critical stepping stone to a long-term career path. She said while the program and her internship at Northwestern Hospital were difficult, she felt supported and encouraged to see it through.

“When it came to YearUp, I saw a lot of people who want to change or want to get out of the situation they’re in,” Tabitha said. “Everybody there has something they want to do, and I did too. When classes got hard, we all studied and shared notes. When somebody was ready to quit, we all gave encouraging words.”

After her YearUp internship, Tabitha was offered a full-time position at Northwestern in Research and Administration as an Account Specialist. She said she knew Northwestern was a good fit for her because she was allowed to be herself in the office. She doesn’t feel like she has to look a certain way or speak in a certain way to be accepted.

“I’m a little loud, I’m a little bubbly, I wear bright colors,” Tabitha said. “I don’t have to put on a fake voice or talk a certain way to [work at Northwestern]. I can just be myself.”

After her two years with New Moms, Tabitha has a steady job and career path, she has found a safe and stable home, and continues to focus on being a great mom to her daughter. 

“I want her to grow up and understand that she can do whatever she wants to do,” Tabitha said. “I want her to know that, “I’m going to support you in whatever you do. Even if you fail and hit the ground. I will be there to help you get back up. Just try for yourself.””

Tabitha said her next steps are to complete her bachelor’s degree in business and pursue an MBA. However, Tabitha also has a passion for baking, and so her long-term goal is to expand her home bakery business and open her own walk-up bakery.

“At this point in life, my goal for myself is to finish school,” Tabitha said. “I would like to keep growing and eventually get to a point where I’m stable in my life and in my income where I can go back to my passion for culinary.”

Tabitha said she’s learned a lot about herself during the last couple of years. She said reflecting back, she realized how much determination it took to get where she is today.

“My journey of losing my job, being homeless, being in the shelter, it all started back November 17, 2016 when I lost my job,” Tabitha said. “I didn’t feel done with my struggle until [this] December when I got my job. Nothing is going to happen overnight. Nothing worth having is easy. So, it was going to be a process – what I did.”

Not only does Tabitha look to her own accomplishments for inspiration, she also looks to them for reassurance when she experiences struggle. Tabitha said she tries not to worry about what the future might hold because she’s confident her drive will help her find resources and overcome potential challenges — like what she found at New Moms

“I feel like if I fall down again or something happens in my life where I’m at square one again, I know I’m strong enough to get back,” Tabitha said. “I know I’ll do whatever it takes. No matter what it is.”

Tabitha’s story is a great example of the way that New Moms provides critical support and resources for young moms who face times of instability and uncertainty. Your support can continue to make this possible. We still face a $90,000 shortfall in our FY20 budget. Make a gift by June 30 to ensure New Moms can continue to surround young families with everything they  need to succeed.

Click here to donate: www.newmoms.org/help-create-stability

Year in Review 2019

As the year comes to an end, it’s time to celebrate some of New Moms’ major accomplishments from the last 12 months.

New Moms is a special place that offers young families a safe space to heal, hope, and take firm steps to build a strong foundation for their future. We’d like to thank all of the people whose ambition and grit make this possible. We all play a significant role in creating a community where our young moms can thrive, and we deeply value all of the ways you come together to make this mission a reality.

Thank you for being champions of young moms and investing in their potential as parents and leaders. You make it possible for young moms to build strong families and solid foundations for the future.

Meet Andrea.

Andrea was homeless when she came to New Moms with her baby, Jasmine. She had moved from shelter to shelter, each day hoping for a door to open that would lead to something better.

Then the door to an apartment opened at New Moms. Andrea found a safe home where she could breathe. She began to make a plan, with the support of her Family Support Specialist. Andrea had lived under the stress of poverty and was determined to show her daughter that life could be better.

She had never had a job, but Andrea knew that the future of her family depended on her courage to face the unknown, develop her skills, and find employment.  At New Moms, every young mom – like any parent – faces their challenges with GRIT – a deep determination and perseverance for long-term goals. It’s because of your support that Andrea can believe in the possibilities of a job and stability for her family. For 35 years, you have made it possible for over 3,000 young moms, like Andrea, to find stable homes, good jobs, and become great parents! You have helped families interrupt the cycle of poverty.

Andrea joined New Moms job training program and developed critical professional skills. She wanted to prove herself, and she did. She quickly displayed leadership, holding herself and her peers accountable. She set goals and worked hard to achieve them. Her work experience at Bright Endeavors, New Moms’ social enterprise candle company, set her up for success. Today she can proudly say she is employed full-time at the United States Postal Service!

Andrea is building the foundation for a strong family. Her life and leadership will give Jasmine the example she needs to reach for new possibilities.

This Christmas season at New Moms, we see the power of ‘yes’ for a future that is not yet seen. When New Moms began 35 years ago, no one could have imagined how the lives of so many would be transformed. Because a faithful few said ‘yes’ to helping young families, we have seen thousands of lives transformed.

Will you say ‘yes’ again? As we approach the end of 2018, we need you to continue making this transformation possible in the lives of young families. We need you to believe in the long-term goal of transformed families who, in turn, transform their communities.

And thanks to a generous donor, when you say ‘yes’, your gift will be matched up to $20,000! Your impact will be multiplied, not only because your donation is matched – but because you are investing in two generations of youth, like Andrea and Jasmine, who now have the tools they need to flourish and lead their families out of poverty.

GIVE A GIFT

Destiny & Amir

“What do I do now? I lost my support system.”

Destiny gave birth to her son, Amir, at the age of 17. Her mom was her primary support who encouraged her towards her goal to go to college. Unexpectedly, her mom was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and soon passed away. The loss of her mom lead to the loss of her home. Destiny and Amir became homeless.

We know that trauma, like what Destiny experienced, can have serious, long-term effects on the health of a family. In the midst of these life storms, it is critical that young moms and their children are surrounded with support and stability.

Destiny’s determination lead her to New Moms, where she found a safe and stable home and was connected to a grief therapist. Through home visits with her family support coach and attending parent support groups, Destiny is surrounded by a community of support that walks with her as she finds healing and rebuilds foundations for her and Amir.

“They have given me so many bonding opportunities, I don’t have to worry about his safety which gives us opportunities to do more fun, crazy, and wild things …which I feel helps us get closer!”

Destiny is now inspired to become a doula (pregnancy and birth coach) and support women as they become mothers. She is setting educational goals to make that dream a reality, and has already joined a class to become a breastfeeding counselor!

A year ago, Destiny was grieving and without support. Now she says, “I feel like everything’s a lot more positive. My life’s on track.”

She is empowered to be in the driver’s seat of her own life. Surrounded by New Moms integrated housing, job training and family supports, Destiny has a team who will partner with her as she realizes her potential and builds a strong family.

“This place is like a rope—but you have to climb it. If you do, you get something great. You can become independent with New Moms’ help.”

Your investment in New Moms makes sure that young moms, like Destiny, have the support they need to get through the storms of life and make sure their families are healthy and strong.

As this year draws to a close, will you make a gift to empower young families, like Destiny & Amir?

Every donation will be fully matched by a generous donor up to $25,000.

Thank you for investing in young moms as they become empowered and confidently lead their family toward a strong future.

Blessings to you this holiday season,

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President & CEO

DONATE

Christmas toy drive: Bring joy to families this holiday season!

New Moms’ annual Christmas party is possibly our most anticipated celebration of the year! Families come to partake in a day of fun, food, and gift-shopping. Moms and kids are allowed to choose gifts for each other in their own boutique rooms so that they may keep their chosen gift a surprise for the recipient. All items are donated, and the mothers and children receive them for free. This is a way to ensure that every family has a happy and special Christmas.

Show your Christmas spirit and donate gifts to our Christmas event! We need NEW, unwrapped gifts for our young moms and their children. See the wish list below or you can order from our Amazon Wish List to have gifts directly shipped to us. All donations must be dropped off to our Chicago location (5317 W. Chicago Ave.) by Mon., Dec 9th.

CHRISTMAS DONATION DRIVE

We are so grateful for all partnering organizations who contribute to the event each year to make it a success. Thank you for helping bring joy to our families!

Executive Skills: Recognizing Strengths, Realizing Potential

When I came to New Moms and heard the term “executive skills” I said to myself, “I thought my classroom days were over!”  Although I knew the concept was important to understanding early child development, I did not equate it to young adults in the structure of a workforce development program. “We need to focus on employable soft skills for job retention,” I thought. Silly me. As I started working with our young moms more extensively, I began to see that they were struggling with behaviors relating to time management, planning, organization, emotional control, etc. I recall talking with my team about these issues and then it clicked: “Those are executive skills.”

photo by Anjali Pinto

After that epiphany, I decided to learn and digest all I could about executive skills, the twelve mental abilities that enable us to organize, plan, react and get things done. Most importantly, I wanted to discover how we could maximize the strong and mitigate the weaker executive skills of our coaches and participants for better employment and retention outcomes, because ya know…workforce development! 

Brain science research demonstrates that executive skills (ES) take up to 25 years to fully develop. This means at New Moms we are particularly well suited to this work, as participants are under 25 years old and at a prime time in brain development for their Executive Skills to grow, shift, and strengthen. 

So, what are the Executive Skills? Everyone has them. These are the Executive Skills we focus on at New Moms: 

In order to learn and apply our own ES to our everyday work and interactions with each other, staff attended intensive Executive Skills training and ongoing consultation with an ES expert, Dr. Dick Guare. We began using ES words and phrases more explicitly and learning how they manifest as behaviors. We incorporated the terms “strengths” and “struggles” when discussing ES and setting SMART goals with participants and each other. We view struggles in this way:

  • Ever been called lazy? Task initiation is probably an area of struggle. 
  • Is a colleague annoyed with you for moving a meeting back an hour? She may struggle with flexibility. 
  • Ever flip someone off in traffic? Perhaps you struggle with emotional control.  
  • Your spouse or partner in constant need of validation? Metacognition is probably a struggle for them. 
  • Someone asks you to repeat yourself more than twice? Working memory might be a struggle for them. 

Get the picture? 

We began to apply our knowledge of Executive Skills by modifying our program environment: simplifying forms, shifting procedures, and incorporating technology to help mitigate the effects of Executive Skills struggles. We created ES training for participants, and they facilitate daily pre-shift workshops focused on ES so they could learn to recognize and build these skills in themselves and their children. We posted an ES skills board with participants and staff to enhance understanding and visualize how these show up on teams. Participants talk openly about their Executive Skills, and we see strong gains in literacy and numeracy, employment retention, and productivity increases at our social enterprise as a result of our Executive Skills strategies.

At New Moms we believe in the strength and ability of all our participants to work towards their employment and economic goals. I invite you to learn more about why Executive Skills matter and the specific ways we address them at New Moms in our hot-off-the-press Executive Skills Implementation Case Study. We also created a companion Implementation Toolkit for our colleagues in the field to design and apply their own Executive Skills-informed strategies in their programs. By understanding how brains develop, how trauma and scarcity can affect Executive Skills, and the incredible resilience of adolescence, we can design a strengths-based workforce development program that improves outcomes for staff and participants. Join us in this movement!

– Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal, Director of Workforce Development

Watch Gabrielle talk more about Executive Skills here:

Doula: A Witness to Beauty

New Moms Doula Mary Morales Calderon celebrates with Patty, a participant in New Moms’ Doula program, and her newborn daughter, Athena.

“Do you know what just happened!”

Mary Morales Calderon said she wants to scream this from the rooftops every time she witnesses a birth.

As a Doula at New Moms, Mary works with expecting mothers to support them during their birth experience. She said the journey to motherhood is “very special [and] very sacred” so she feels honored when young moms allow her to accompany them.

Doula Mary Morales Calderon smiles with new mother Shaniece, a participant in New Moms’ Doula program, who gave birth on September 11.

“Being a Doula is all about empowering the mom,” said Mary who has worked as a Doula for three years. “I provide physical, informational, and emotional support.”

Pregnant women referred to New Moms are encouraged to engage with a Doula. Doulas provide support and education for mothers from 28 weeks into their pregnancy to six weeks after the baby is born.

According to national research, Doula presence at birth decreases medical interventions at delivery, and reduces labor complications. Doula-supported mothers are also more successful in adapting to new family dynamics, have greater breastfeeding success, have lower incidence of abuse, and lower postpartum depression rates.

Mary said a large part of her work is giving young moms the tools to advocate for themselves and practice speaking up. She said this is important because young moms must continue to advocate for their babies for the rest of their lives.

We sat down with Mary to talk about her role in the Doula Program.

How did you become a Doula?

I am Hispanic, and growing up my grandma and mom would take me with them to visit family and close friends after they gave birth. It was a very woman-centered, women caring for other women sort of thing, and I had just grown up doing that culturally.

I continued this after college. When close friends were beginning their families, I would fly back and support them for a couple of weeks. When I returned from one of those trips somebody asked why I was away, and when I told them they said, “Oh, so you’re a Doula?” and I said, “Well, what’s that?”

I lived in Seattle at the time, which is home to a renowned birth professional institute that trains and certifies Doulas. So, I got all of my education there and then moved to Chicago.

What is the hardest part about your job?

The hardest part of my job is boundaries. Moms are in a very vulnerable time and they get very attached to their Doula. And so I have to constantly remind myself, and gently remind them, that I am their Doula and that our time will eventually come to an end. 

I would say that’s the hardest part, trying to maintain professional and supportive boundaries so that [the moms] know they can do this without me. That’s definitely the hardest part because we grow very attached and connected to one another when you go through something so beautiful and sacred as giving birth.

What is the most fulfilling part about your job?

It’s them choosing me to be one of their support people — sometimes their only support person — to walk with them on this journey to motherhood. Being a birth Doula has helped overcome a lot of sadness in my personal life because it’s really hard to dwell on bad things that are happening when you witness something so beautiful on a weekly basis.

What should people know about New Moms’ Doula Program?

I think they should know that New Moms’ Doula Program is really about empowering the young women in our community with information and support so they can start the foundation of motherhood.

What is a misconception about Doulas that you’d like to clarify?

A lot of people think that if you have a Doula it’s because you want a totally natural, unmedicated childbirth. Modern-day Doulas, like what we are at New Moms, are all about making sure the mom has a positive birth experience whatever that birth experience looks like. 

We are there to make sure that what the mom wants is ultimately what she is going to get. And if things start to detract from what she wants, then we’re there to give her information and tools, so she can make an informed decision and really be in charge of what’s happening in her birth experience.

How does the Doula Program fulfill New Moms’ mission?

One of the things that drew me to New Moms’ mission was that it was all about surrounding young mothers with love and everything they need to transform their lives. And, beginning your journey as a new mother starts with your birth. New Moms’ Doulas help fulfill that mission. We are there supporting [participants] right at the very beginning, right in that exact moment when they become mothers making sure they have everything they need to be a leader of their family.

Any last comments that you’d like to share with the New Moms community?

Being a Doula is my divine purpose, so it’s not just a job to me. I’m just really happy that I get to do this work every day.

The FY19 Impact Report is here!

I am proud to present this impact report, showing how far your support has taken us this past fiscal year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). Some highlights:

  • Last year, during our 16-week Job Training program, participants saw an average 1.4 grade level increase in reading and math comprehension.
  • Every $1 invested into New Moms’ integrated programming has a $3.81 return on investment. Click here to learn more about our full Social Return on Investment (SROI) report from the Social Impact Research Center of Heartland Alliance.
  •  We served 856 moms and kids last year, up from 799 the previous year!

Thank you for making this possible,

Laura Zumdahl

President & CEO

Vote for New Moms in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist awards!

New Moms is one of the Top 200 finalists in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist® grant program. We need you to rally behind our cause, cast your vote and help us win $25,000 to buy a new van!

We currently have one mini-bus, shared across three sites, but would love to have a van dedicated to our brand-new building in Oak Park, which would accommodate young moms and children in car seats. A new van would allow us more flexibility to transport families to appointments, outings, and take advantage of all Chicago and Oak Park has to offer.

We need your help! In order to win, we need to get enough public votes to reach the top 40 out of 200. The voting phase is open until August 23rd at 11:59:59 P.M. ET, and you can vote up to 10 times per day every day for our cause. Winners will be announced September 25th. Please forward this to your colleagues, friends and family to vote and help spread the word.

Vote for us by clicking the button below.

Thanks for your support!

Vote today!

Success Story: Symone’s Job at Share Our Spare

Symone is the Engagement Coordinator at Share our Spare, as well as a 2019 graduate of New Moms. Symone coordinates volunteers and donations, and she’s also a one-woman administrative support and social media team. She was leading a cohort of participants from New Moms Job Training program who were out on a field visit to sort clothes when we caught up with her.

Coordinating volunteers is something that she does regularly, and she loves being able to help others serve the community of young families in Chicago. Symone is focused on her job and enjoys how it allows her to help families like her own each day.

Because her story has been shaped by mentors she met at New Moms, she was eager to offer advice to the current participants who would someday secure jobs like she had. It was meaningful for the participants to learn about Symone’s story and serve alongside her in her current workplace where she is touching the lives of individuals with similar stories. Because of Symone’s history as a participant, the cohort was able to connect with her and see her professional success as something that was attainable in their own lives.

She is grateful to her family support specialist, Ashlee, as well as everyone else at New Moms who helped her to get to where she is today.

“I got help and that’s not a bad thing; You don’t need to do it by yourself.”

She likes to work with people who shop at Share Our Spare because she once found herself in their position of having the responsibilities of caring for a newborn but lacking adequate resources. As a graduate of New Moms, she wants people to know that receiving help is not a bad thing, and encourages others that they don’t need to do it by themselves.

Share our Spare is happy to help families or social service agencies in need of resources. You can find more information about their services and how to get them on their website.

At Share Our Spare, Symone has helped the organization expand its reach on social media and train her colleagues on savvy social media usage, despite not having a communications degree. She wants to go back to school because she has discovered a hidden talent in communications and pursue opportunities that a college degree will give her.

Her former family support specialist was proud that she was putting herself out there, given that she used to be more hesitant in putting herself out there for other opportunities in the past.

Symone is considering going to college in hopes of getting a degree in communications or business.

For now, she is taking care of her son and taking classes at community college.

The mission of Share Our Spare is something that inspires Symone to keep serving in the community. Share Our Spare is a nonprofit organization in Chicago focused on collecting and distributing baby and kids’ items to families and organizations in need. It was started in 2011 by two moms with a lot of leftover stuff after their kids grew up. They wanted to create their own organization that catered specifically to families with new babies and young kids because of the huge need for an organization like Share Our Spare in the community.

Social service agencies as well as individuals in need can come and shop and fill a bag with clothes and resources that their kids will need for free. One of Symone’s favorite parts about Share our Spare is that each bag of clothes comes with a handwritten note card of encouragement.

New Moms participants wrote note cards with quotes that have been personally significant to them, such as “It always seems impossible until it’s done!” borrowed from Nelson Mandela.

Symone continues to help the community turn the extra into the extraordinary at Share our Spare and is grateful for the ways that New Moms has helped her get to where she is today.

Why Early Childhood Education is No Small Matter

“Over the last twenty years, a revolution in our understanding of early childhood has led to one, inescapable conclusion: the experiences we have in the first five years of life shape our brains and bodies in profound and lasting ways; it’s no longer about “nature versus nurture”, but how the two work together to shape who we become.” – No Small Matter, 2018

At New Moms, we constantly educate ourselves on the latest issues affecting our work and explore new methods for program delivery. On July 11th, we held our annual Staff Retreat and screened a special viewing of the 2018 documentary, No Small MatterNo Small Matter provides an intriguing and important insight into why the mission of New Moms matters on a national scale.

No Small Matter delves into the importance of early childhood development and explains how it is critical for children ages 0-5 to receive loving, supportive care and play. These early years are the most important years for brain development. Due to the rising costs of childcare, children in low-income families have less access to high-quality childcare and therefore may miss out on critical opportunities for development and learning. The filmmakers elaborate that “Higher-income parents have more money and time to invest in their kids’ early care and education; as a result, kids from wealthier families start kindergarten up to two years ahead of low-income kids, a gap in opportunity that becomes a gap in achievement that only reinforces the cycle of poverty. Kids who fall behind in school are more likely to drop out, and high school dropouts are eight times more likely than graduates to end up in prison.” 

New Moms’ model applies brain and behavioral science to services that address the needs and goals of young moms and children experiencing poverty. Our team partners with young moms by sharing resources, teaching skills, and offering encouragement to equip them to be their children’s first and best teacher. And through our housing and job training programs, our moms find safety and stability that supports them as they establish a peaceful home for their children. We are able to positively shape children’s brains and create vital neural connections by surrounding our young moms and their children with these key supports that allow them to thrive.

The film reinforces how working with children at a young age benefits not just the child, but the entire community, as Experts calculate that the return on investment (ROI) for quality early childhood education — in terms of money saved in the health care system, in prisons, in tax revenue, in special education — is somewhere between $4 and $13 for every one dollar invested in a young child.” 

At New Moms, according to the social return on investment study conducted by the Social Impact Research Center of Heartland Alliance, “for every $1 invested in New Moms integrated programming there is a $1.04 return on investment at two years and a $3.81 return on investment at 5 years.” These findings show that “investing in New Moms generates nearly a 4-fold return for every dollar invested.”

Watch the trailer below, and click here to learn more about No Small Matter and how early childhood education is crucial to creating strong communities and setting up children for successful futures.

Learn how to view No Small Matter it in your community:

New Moms Gala 2019

When: Friday, October 18th from 6-11pm
Where: Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60642
What: Featuring a silent auction, paddle raise, New Moms presentation, live music, and delicious food & drink. Dress code is cocktail attire.

Please join us for a vibrant evening as we raise funds to ensure young moms can find safe and stable housing, a path to employment, and tools to develop strong parenting skills.

We’re in need of auction items and sponsorship! We’re looking for great silent auctions items like: hotel stays, restaurant gift cards, sports or theater tickets, local and artisanal goods, experiences, and specialty items. If you have a connection for auction items or potential sponsorship, please contact Bonnie Andorka at gala@newmoms.org.

REGISTER

Inside Look: New Moms Housing Program with Stacey Flint

New Moms looks at our families as whole people – body, spirit, and soul. We’re not just looking to say “Here’s a program, can you do these things?” but “Who are you? How can we help you to heal, not only for yourself, but for your children and for the next generation?”

Stable housing is an important topic here at New Moms – we provide over 80% of the beds in Chicago for young moms struggling with homelessness. Having a safe place to live is central to a family’s ability to build a strong foundation for their lives. We understand this deeply, seeing firsthand the transformation that occurs in the life of a young mom and her children once they’re able to find a stable place to pause, breathe, and start planning for the future. As we begin our housing program in Oak Park, we spoke with Stacey Flint, New Moms’ Director of Housing, to learn more about her passion for this work and what makes New Moms’ work distinct.

What made you passionate about this kind of work?

Stacey Flint, New Moms Director of Housing

I worked in the city of Chicago for over 15 years in community development. I started out in policy and advocacy work, and after

that I wanted to do something to make a tangible difference. Community organizations were usually the best advocates for themselves. I learned how to advocate from the community, so it is a natural fit to be back in the community and working from the ground up for change.

Housing, specifically, is one of the things in most communities, especially in Chicago, that is the basis for moving towards meaningful change. If you want good schools you’ve got to have good housing. If you want to have less crime on the street it goes back, again, to housing. Safety, economics – it goes back to the question of housing. Is the housing in good, stable condition? Do people feel safe and stable and have an affordable place to live? If not, you’re going to see the ripple effect it will have.

At one point, I was homeless as a young person. That experience is one of the things that really attracted me to New Moms. I wasn’t parenting, but I know that insecurity of not having a stable place to go. I always promised myself that when I got to a certain point in life, I would give back.

What does New Moms’ housing program do?

This is a transitional housing program, so we offer mothers ages 18 to 24 an opportunity to be with us for two years or until their 25th birthday. During that time they’re able to stabilize their housing situation, take advantage of our family support services to help them with their parenting, and have coaching from our Family Support Specialists to help them understand what their goals and dreams are. We walk alongside them, coach them, and provide them with the resources to increase their income, their education levels, and be prepared to have their own stable, independent housing.

That might look different for everyone – some people might move into a stable long-term situation with family and friends, or they might move into their own affordable home. Some people have gone back to college and actually found college housing with their children, which is exciting. Some people have even been able to increase their income to the level where they’re able to afford their own market-rate apartment.

It looks different for everybody, but wherever people want to and can go, we want to support them. We want to listen to the mom about what they want to do, rather than telling them “Ok, this is what you have to do, this is what you should be doing, and this is how things should work out for you”. We really want to understand – what does each individual mom want? And then how can we be creative in helping them realize the things that they want?

What do you think is distinctive about New Moms’ housing program?

I definitely think that what makes it distinctive is that we are focused on youth which gives us an opportunity to catch people when they are still dreamers, still visionaries, and hopefully have a lot of energy and resilience.

The component of spiritual health and wellbeing is also very unique and important. New Moms looks at our families as whole people – body, spirit, and soul. We’re not just looking to say “Here’s a program, can you do these things?” but “Who are you? How can we help you to heal, not only for yourself, but for your children and for the next generation?”

How does the housing program affect a mother’s relationship with her child?

The major thing is that it supports the fact that your children are not a burden, but are a joyful part of your life. In our programming, either the children are included with the moms to do things together and learn together, or there’s childcare provided. That way the mom can feel like she can relax and take in what’s going on, and not worry about “Oh my gosh, I have to take care of my child at the same time” or “Where is my child? Is my child being taken care of?”

What do you think people should know about New Moms’ housing program?

One thing that they should know is that you might come to New Moms feeling like a girl and an inadequate parent, but you’re going to blossom into the young woman and the confident parent that you can and will be. Not only that, but perhaps there are some things that you want to parent yourself in, because you didn’t get all the parenting you wish you would have had. Here you are free to parent yourself, parent your child, and to start laying the foundation for future generations.

I think it’s really important to note that our staff who work with the families really put their heart and soul into it. They become not just family coaches, but mentors, big sisters, mothers in some cases, and definitely coaches. They go above and beyond to make sure that our moms are able to do what they want to do. Sometimes that might mean inspiring them. Sometimes it means reminding them of who they are or what they can do. Sometimes it means saying, “Here you can use my laptop” or “Let me hold your baby while you make this call,” or “Let’s practice what you’re going to say to this employer or this landlord when you talk to them on the phone.” They really need to be creative and think on their feet because each situation can be different.

What is a misconception people have about New Moms’ housing program?

I think from the outside world, people assume – “oh, it’s a homelessness program”. That’s not how I think about it.

Yes, people have been struggling with homelessness and that’s why they come here. However, it takes tenacity, grit, and determination to come into a program like New Moms. You’re a gutsy person because you are picking this program. We don’t go out and beg you or recruit you – once you’re paired with our housing program through the Coordinated Entry System, you learn about New Moms and decide if this is the program for you. When a young mom comes to New Moms, they are not content or happy with their situation and they’re not willing to let themselves and their children continue in instability and homelessness. They’ve already decided to do something to change the situation. If they’re coming to New Moms it means that they’ve done the research, they’ve done the work and they’ve actually picked us. That they’ve chosen us means something to us – it’s both a responsibility and a privilege.

People can get caught up in their problems and trauma, only seeing themselves as pregnant teens, unwed mothers, or homeless, rather than seeing amazing, resilient, powerful people who decide to change their situation and make a difference in their children’s lives and their children’s children’s lives. They are visionaries who have the support of these people, but also a divine presence of protection that’s embracing us all to get through the difficulties of life. We’re not alone.

Why are you excited about the new Oak Park housing? What’s your role in that housing program?

I’m excited about our new Oak Park housing because the community of Oak Park, where I live, has talked a lot about a commitment to affordable housing and a desire to be inclusive. This is an opportunity to put those words into action. We look forward to the community continuing to embrace us.

I’ll be overseeing that program as well. There will be 18 units of permanent, supportive housing. Unlike here at the Chicago location, where you have to exit the program within 24 months, there you are able to stay as long as the program and the housing fits your needs. We look forward to that.

Can you tell us about a moment that you felt like your program was fulfilling New Moms’ mission or its own specific goals?

There are so many! But one is from the beginning of the year. We were doing vision boards and just getting people excited about visually putting down what their lives could look like this coming year. One young lady was working on her vision board and she was being so precise. You would think there was a machine that had cut out everything that was on her vision board. I came by and commented on some of her things and said “You’re really precise, do you like math?” and she said “Yes, in fact, I do like math” and she started talking and I was like “Wow, how are you going to realize your dreams?” and she said “I’m going to go back to college” and I said “I really believe you’re going to do that.”

Last winter, she was accepted back into college, the one she had dropped out of when she had gotten pregnant! They gave her a dorm room for her and her daughter and a full scholarship! Now she’s a business major. New Moms paid her first month’s rent in her dorm. She’s going to come back and visit to share her story with the moms still in our program.

Join Team New Moms for the Austin P.O.W.E.R. 5K on September 28!

LET’S INTERRUPT THE CYCLE OF POVERTY AND CREATE STRONG FAMILIES IN CHICAGOLAND!

Team New Moms will walk/run the Austin P.O.W.E.R. 5K on September 28, 2019.

RACE START TIME
Check-In: 7:30 am | Step-Off: Youth “Fun Run” 8:15 / Adult 5K 8:30 am

1. Register with Team New Moms
Register to run with Team New Moms! You can register as a fundraising participant, or as a non-fundraising participant.

  • Runners who are fundraising do not have to pay a registration fee but must raise a minimum of $200
  • Non-fundraising runners must pay $45 to register
  • Children ages 12 and under are $15 each to register

Register with Team New Moms

 2. Donate to Team New Moms!
Help us collectively raise $20,000 to interrupt poverty for two generations! You can go to our Team New Moms page to donate to a friend’s campaign, or directly to New Moms.

Donate to Team New Moms

3. Volunteer with Team New Moms
Want to help on race day and hand out water and snacks at the New Moms water and cheer station along the race course? Contact Jenna Hammond at jhammond@newmoms.org

About New Moms
For 35 years, New Moms has been the leading Chicagoland agency interrupting the cycle of poverty for two generations by offering supports to young moms in the most important areas of the life of a family – stable housing, job training, and family support.

Help us reach our goal of $20,000! All funds raised by Team New Moms will go to supporting New Moms’ comprehensive services that help young families write a new story for their future, filled with hope and possibility!

Email Jenna Hammond at jhammond@newmoms.org if you have any questions about being a part of Team New Moms.

Help build the foundations of hope.

YOU make it possible for young moms to have hope.

And when I say hope, I mean that kind of hope that has weight to it.
The ‘I know I can do this’ kind of hope.

Young moms at New Moms set goals every day. These goals can be as simple as reading a book a day to their child, or as daunting as finding their first job. Every goal that is accomplished creates a foundation – one that is marked by possibility and amazing potential to be great moms, raise wonderful children, and have strong, stable families.

Two years ago, Darri moved with her 3-year-old son and infant daughter into an apartment at New Moms Transformation Center, a 2-year transitional housing program. She set a goal, committing to herself and her children that she would find stable employment and housing by the end of the program. With her intention set, she was motivated to action. She began with New Moms Job Training program, gaining key professional skills, and worked with coaches to find employment opportunities in her field of interest—early childhood development. Darri networked and took any daycare job she could find, at one point commuting one and a half hours across the city just to work for one hour. Despite the inconvenience, she recognized “If I put myself in a specific place, it might lead to something else.” And she was right.

Through her connections, she eventually found employment at a local daycare. The director quickly recognized her potential and put her in charge of her own classroom. Darri accomplished her first goal and with the support of New Moms staff, located a three bedroom apartment where she moved this spring, ensuring her children would not face homelessness again. Darri’s accomplishments are the result of hard, dedicated work – and what it looks like to have hope.

A goal sets an intention, which triggers motivation, then drives action and builds momentum until the goal is accomplished. And when a goal is accomplished, confidence is built and possibility becomes reality. This is the foundation of hope.

Darri knows she can do this. She can provide for her family. She can have meaningful employment. She can pursue her dreams. She can be a great mom.

You make this happen when you support the work of New Moms.

At New Moms, young moms like Darri find the support they need to accomplish their goals. Many have experienced homelessness and the traumas that come with poverty. Your support of New Moms ensures that a young mom is surrounded by a team of coaches, who foster spiritual and emotional healing, encourage growth, and equip her to accomplish her short and long-term goals.

Creating strong families is hard work, but the outcome of that work is hope that sustains. This year, we served more than 800 young moms and children, and opened our new Oak Park Center & Clare Place, offering housing to 18 more young families. The crisis of parenting youth experiencing poverty continues to persist and the work of New Moms remains critical to ensuring families have access to the resources they need. Because of you, we are able to surround more young moms and children with all they need to transform their lives.

As we come to the end of the 2019 Fiscal Year on June 30 we need to raise $25,000 to meet our budget. Will you give a gift to New Moms that ensures young moms, like Darri, can do that hard work of building foundations of hope? Your generosity is critical to the lives of young moms and children at New Moms. I am so grateful for you and the hope that you instill in our families.

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President & CEO

Give A Gift

Happy #AllTheMothersDay!

This year, New Moms and our candle-making social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, are celebrating #AllTheMothersDay, recognizing that all of us have more than one person who has mothered us throughout our lives. Whether it’s been a cousin, sister, neighbor, biological mother, or another woman in our lives, this Mother’s Day we’re recognizing that all mothers are worth celebrating.

We’re particularly grateful for the mothers we get to work alongside every day. To celebrate them, we’re highlighting a story of a mother in each of our housing, job training, and family support programs. Read below to learn about three amazing mothers and the work they did to strengthen their families.

Housing Spotlight: Mothers Keep the Dream Alive – Kellee’s Story

After moving into an apartment at New Moms Transformation Center Housing, Kellee set up her stylists’ chair in the corner of her home to remind her of the dreams she had for her family. She worked with New Moms’ staff to focus on achieving her short-term and long-term goals to make that happen. This spring, her family moved into a 3-bedroom apartment and she is hoping to pursue her cosmetology license soon. Congratulations Kellee!

Job Training Spotlight: Mothers Persist Towards Transformation – Laqisha’s Story

Laqisha began New Moms Job Training program in January 2019. She was ready, focused, and eager to pursue permanent employment and long-term stability for herself and her son. While at Bright Endeavors, she displayed leadership, a positive attitude, and a willingness to go the extra mile and quickly advanced to a team lead position. Laqisha’s hard work paid off—she recently gained permanent employment in a supervisory role, and we couldn’t be more excited for all that she’ll accomplish in the future!

Family Support Spotlight: Mothers Untap Their Own Potential – Emely’s Story

Emely found out she was pregnant the summer before her senior year of high school. Determined to be the best mother and provider she could be, she re-enrolled in school and even took night classes to make up credits. She joined New Moms Family Support Program to empower herself as a mother and provide the best care for her child. Emely is on track to accomplish her dream of graduating from high school this month! Our Family Support program is honored to walk with Emely through this journey and are so proud of all she’s done to strengthen her family.

It’s a privilege to work with these and all the other amazing mothers we serve every day.

Join with us in strengthening families and make an in-kind or financial donation in honor of the important mothers in your life this Mother’s Day at https://newmoms.org/help/donate/ways-to-give/.

Bright Endeavors is celebrating our aunts, friends, neighbors and mothers and the light they bring into our lives by adding a new scent to our collection – Sugared Grapefruit! The Sugared Grapefruit candle is a fresh scent for spring, with notes of citrus, lemon and strawberry, and a delicate floral base. Shop Bright Endeavors’ Mother’s Day gift sets, featuring the new Sugared Grapefruit scent, here.

“Seven Top Kitchen Trends” from the 2019 New Moms Kitchen Walk

New Moms’ 34th Annual Kitchen Walk is coming up on Saturday, April 27! We asked one of our expert designers, Denise Hauser, to share her “Seven Top Kitchen Trends” that will be featured across the 10 stunning and beautifully renovated kitchens on display.

To purchase tickets, and for more information about the 2019 Kitchen Walk, please visit the following link.

Seven Top Kitchen Trends from Kitchen Walk 2019

1.            PERSONALIZATION AND CUSTOMIZATION

Personalization of space is one of the biggest design trends you will see at New Moms’ Kitchen Walk. No longer is there a distinct design style on display everywhere! It’s all about making your home uniquely tailored to your own distinct tastes as owner, both functionally and aesthetically.

2.            ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN IS KEY

We are seeing more emphasis on unique architectural spaces and details, and less cabinetry as part of this year’s kitchen designs. Less wall cabinets and more windows and furniture, giving kitchens the feeling of a “living room” not just a place where food is prepped.

3.            MAXIMALISM IS STARTING TO EMERGE

This year’s kitchens are bolder, with more detail and color, including mixed metals, wallpapers, and interesting patterns rather than the simple clean lines and neutral colors of the past.

4.            LOW MAINTENANCE COUNTERTOPS

Manufactured quartz countertops are all the rage! Granite is on the wane and homeowners are selecting quartz countertops to replace natural stone, enabling them to customize the look they seek while benefiting from its low-maintenance attributes.

Along with manufactured surfaces is the rise in Quartzite, a beautiful, natural stone that is very non-porous and able to weather stains, while offering low maintenance.

5.            SMART APPLIANCES

More and more smart appliances are emerging in the kitchen with new technology, smartphone apps and Wi-Fi connectivity common. The connected home is the next area of focus for the kitchen, and many appliance manufacturers are introducing smart appliances that create a higher level of convenience for the home cook. 

6.            INTERIOR STORAGE IS KING

With the increase of architectural spaces, more windows and less wall cabinets, unique interior storage applications are critical to adequate storage solutions.  Drawers have become more popular because of their ergonomic benefits and user-friendly nature, versus doors with a shelf inside.  The industry is providing many new interior features that make each cabinet work harder and be more efficient!

7.            FARMHOUSE AND TRANSITIONAL STYLING STILL STRONG

Traditional kitchens are on the decline and are being replaced by transitional looks and farmhouse casual looks with organic details. And, while high tech is in, kitchen design increasingly channels an organic cozy look. The rise of “Hygge” is a very important trend in the industry.  Hygge is a Danish term that defines the desire to create cozy contentment and well-being through simple and clean décor in your home, and its popularity is in response to the intensity of the high-tech culture we have created.  

The Renewal Awards – we won!

It’s official – New Moms has won The Atlantic and Allstate Renewal Award! New Moms was one of five nonprofits selected from over 9,300 public nominations. A team of The Atlantic journalists and editors narrowed these submissions down to 12 finalists who were then evaluated by a combination of public voting and an outside panel of judges who made the final selection of the award winners. All five winners receive a grant of $40,000 distributed over two years. Additionally, Allstate will provide executive leadership training and a host of opportunities to share our mission and impact.

This award is truly the result of our collective efforts to share the mission of New Moms. Thank you for joining in the campaign to share the vote with your networks. Though voting was just a portion of the evaluation – I am confident that the strong community of support that came from your efforts elevated New Moms to the top 5 winners!

The Atlantic has published a wonderful article online called How to Build Community in an Era of Division by Ron Brownstein. This is a great read, shedding light on how the respective work of each organization brings communities together, strengthening the fabric of our society.

Jenna Hammond, New Moms Director of Development & Communications, had the opportunity to represent New Moms at The Renewal Summit in New York City last week to accept the award and participate on a panel discussion.

You can watch The Renewal Summit below, and find the panel discussion at these time marks 0:45:13min – 1:10min

It is a beautiful thing to see the hard work of our participants, staff, volunteers, and the faithfulness of our supporters acknowledged on this national platform. The work of New Moms is only possible because of the many people who have invested their time, talent, and resources into this mission.

Thank you!

Laura Zumdahl
President & CEO

Why Volunteers are Important

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, our Engagement Specialist, Frida De Santiago, wrote a blog post about the importance of our volunteers and how grateful we are for their generosity.

Volunteers are essential to non-profit organizations.  At New Moms, our volunteers are a part of the New Moms team—each one has a special role in our community, supporting our staff by completing a variety of tasks and helping when it’s needed most. Our front desk volunteers are the first point of contact for all New Moms visitors, providing hospitality and care. Our job training volunteers provide our participants with support as they job search, build their résumés, and complete various online applications. We rely on our childcare volunteers to assist childcare staff by providing child enrichment activities during parent support groups and other workshops. At Bright Endeavors, volunteers will help staff with various tasks, like pouring wax and making sure candle orders are ready to be shipped. During Volunteer Appreciation Week, we will be highlighting the reasons why some of our volunteers choose to volunteer at New Moms by using the hashtag #iVolunteer. Let me start.

Frida De Santiago, New Moms’ Engagement Specialist and Amate House Fellow

I volunteer at New Moms because I want to give back to the community of young mothers who helped shape me into the person I am today. I am currently the Engagement Specialist at New Moms, but I am also a volunteer. Last summer, I signed up to do a year of service with a fellowship program called Amate House. Amate House is a leadership program through the Archdiocese of Chicago that focuses on leadership transformation through the act of service. I thought I was absurd for signing up to work a full year with no pay, but there was just something about Amate’s mission that called to me. I am now nine months into my year of service, and I don’t regret it one bit. As part of my fellowship, I was given the opportunity to pick a non-profit in the city of Chicago that I felt I could serve the best. The moment I heard about New Moms, I knew where I had to go. As the Engagement Specialist, I am the go-to person for volunteers. Part of my job is to make sure that New Moms has the volunteers they need to make their programming possible. The other part of my job is helping with in-kind donations. This means having to build strong relationships with the community in order to receive donations. My job requires a lot of community outreach to local churches, schools, corporate groups, and other organizations to get help with donations, such as canned goods, diapers, and formula. Each day, New Moms staff comes in ready to support young mothers as they try to find a safe place to live, get a job, and become strong leaders for their family – because if they don’t, the cycle of poverty will continue. Growing up, I saw that same cycle of poverty affect my family. I remember watching my mother juggle several jobs just to put food on our table. Often times she would go without eating just to make sure that her children were full. However, through all the ups and downs, I always saw my mother’s strength persevere. It is that same exact strength that I see in the mothers we help at New Moms. Volunteering can be meaningful contributions in many different forms. You can volunteer once a week or commit to a year of service, but no matter what, your actions are making a difference. Volunteers help organizations, like New Moms, offer a wide range of life-giving support and services to many young families. This week, in honor of the volunteers who give so much to us, we will take some time to show our gratitude to them.

How New Moms and Bright Endeavors are “In the Business of Change”

“When it comes to the multiplier effect of job creation and its impact on the sustainability of our cities, newer social enterprises like Chicago’s Bright Endeavors are carving strong footholds as leaders too. Based in West Garfield Park, a neighborhood on the west side of Chicago, Bright Endeavors hires young mothers aged 18 to 24 to make soy candles that are sold in a variety of stores… The mission – intimately connected as it is to employment – is also what makes them so determined to keep much of their production handmade, despite the fact that machines help achieve efficiency. ‘It’s messy, but that’s the beauty of social enterprise,’ says CEO Laura Zumdahl, adding that, so long as intergenerational poverty is being addressed, they’re meeting their goals.”

We’re pleased that a recent book highlighting the growing role of social entrepreneurs recognizes the work of New Moms and our social enterprise Bright Endeavors. “In the Business of Change: How Social Entrepreneurs are Disrupting Business as Usual is a powerful rallying cry in support of social entrepreneurialism and its growing influence on job creation and sustainability within our cities.

At New Moms, young mothers and their children find safe and stable housing, a path to employment, and the tools they need to learn and develop strong parenting skills. Our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, offers these same women – many of whom have experienced multigenerational poverty and homelessness – a life-changing opportunity to gain employment and job-skills training at our Chicago-based soy candle manufacturing facility.

As part of their experience, they receive coaching in effective teamwork, quality control, professional conduct, and the next steps to further their education. Over time, this training can translate into secure permanent employment elsewhere in positions that enable them to provide their children a secure future, working to break the cycle of poverty. Our moms receive support from staff members who help them in their search for a job after completing the program and support them throughout that transition and into their employment.

Since acquiring Bright Endeavors in 2010, we’ve supported more than 650 young mothers while at the same time building a thriving enterprise, whose products have received national acclaim. The young women who work at Bright Endeavors experience a strong boost to their confidence levels, which lights their path to a brighter future.

New Moms and Bright Endeavors will continue working to assist young mothers in transforming their lives. We celebrate every milestone and moment of triumph that these young women undergo throughout this program, whether it’s earning their GED, getting accepted into college, or receiving a job offer. This process is transformative and empowers these women to untap their own potential and strengthen their families.

Shop spring gift sets from Bright Endeavors here and stay tuned for their new fragrance, Sugared Grapefruit, launching mid-April.  

Year in Review

Here at New Moms, 2018 was a big year for us.

As we looked back on 35 years of creating strong families, we marveled at how far hope and possibility have taken us. Here are some highlights from last year:

  • We served 343 moms and 456 children
  • We logged 4,727 hours of volunteer support
  • Participants in our 16 week Job Training program experienced an average 2.3 grade level improvement in both math and science between program entry and exit.
  • 81% of young moms retained employment for 12+ months. Compared to the national median of 39%.

I am so grateful for all of the people who invest themselves into this transforming work – the donors, volunteers, staff, and families – who make these stories possible every day. I hope you’ll join us over on the New Moms website to check out our full Annual Report. Click here or on the picture above.

Warmly,

Laura Zumdahl

New Moms President & CEO

New Moms Oak Park Center & Clare Place – FAQ

With our new New Moms Oak Park Center & Clare Place now open, we know you all probably have some questions about just how this all works! See below to get the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

What is New Moms?  What do you do at New Moms?

Founded more than 35 years ago, New Moms is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving young families experiencing housing insecurity.  Headquartered at 5317 W. Chicago Avenue in Chicago, we serve young families from the city and surrounding suburbs.  New Moms provides housing, job training, and family support to equip young women who are breaking through barriers to their success.

Where is your Oak Park office?

In March 2019 we will close our office located at 405 Euclid, and reopen in our brand new 21,700 square foot facility at 206 Chicago Avenue.  Our general hours of operation will be between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

What services will be offered at New Moms Oak Park?

In our new facility we will continue to offer doula services, prenatal classes, parent support, and home visiting.  We will also add job training and support, as well as 18 units of permanent supportive housing.

Is New Moms located near public transportation? Where can I park my car?

The CTA’s green and blue lines make several stops in the Oak Park area, connecting to multiple CTA and Pace bus stops within walking distance of the location.  The nearest bus stops include (CTA 66, 86, 91) and Pace (309, 313, and 314).  Ample street parking is available in front of the building as well as on surrounding residential blocks.

Can you tell me more about New Moms housing in Oak Park? 

The first floor of New Moms Oak Park building includes office space for staff, meetings and educational programs.  The 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors have 18 beautifully designed one and two bedroom apartments, dedicated for young families. The residential side of the building has been named Clare Place, in honor of a generous contribution from the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters.  The name Clare Place was inspired by St. Clare of Assisi who devoted her life to the Franciscan values of respect, compassion, service, and integrity, among others.

Who will be living there?  How is NM Oak Park housing different than NM housing in Chicago?

Clare Place apartments at New Moms in Oak Park, are permanent supportive units.  Once families are housed there, they can stay as long as needed to achieve long-term stability.  Similar to New Moms apartments in Chicago, Clare Place residents will be offered housing, coaching and supportive services focused on education, employment, life skills, health and well-being.

In Chicago, New Moms provides transitional housing for young mothers ages 18-24 and their small children, experiencing housing insecurity.  Serving up to 40 moms and 50 children, families are able to live in apartments for a maximum of two years. In addition to housing resident are offered coaching, supportive services focused on education, employment, life skills, health and well-being.

How can I apply for an apartment in Oak Park?  Chicago?

We do not accept applications, nor do we maintain a waitlist at New Moms for housing. We will partner with other organizations in Oak Park to fill our open units with residents.

I need immediate housing help, where can I go?

In Oak Park you can call the Suburban Cook Call Center at 877-426-6515. In Chicago dial 3-1-1.

New Moms Oak Park Center & Clare Place – FAQ

With our new New Moms Oak Park Center & Clare Place now open, we know you all probably have some questions about just how this all works! See below to get the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

What is New Moms?  What do you do at New Moms?

Founded more than 35 years ago, New Moms is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving young families experiencing housing insecurity.  Headquartered at 5317 W. Chicago Avenue in Chicago, we serve young families from the city and surrounding suburbs.  New Moms provides housing, job training, and family support to equip young women who are breaking through barriers to their success.

Where is your Oak Park office?

In March 2019 we will close our office located at 405 Euclid, and reopen in our brand new 21,700 square foot facility at 206 Chicago Avenue.  Our general hours of operation will be between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

What services will be offered at New Moms Oak Park?

In our new facility we will continue to offer doula services, prenatal classes, parent support, and home visiting.  We will also add job training and support, as well as 18 units of permanent supportive housing.

Is New Moms located near public transportation? Where can I park my car?

The CTA’s green and blue lines make several stops in the Oak Park area, connecting to multiple CTA and Pace bus stops within walking distance of the location.  The nearest bus stops include (CTA 66, 86, 91) and Pace (309, 313, and 314).  Ample street parking is available in front of the building as well as on surrounding residential blocks.

Can you tell me more about New Moms housing in Oak Park? 

The first floor of New Moms Oak Park building includes office space for staff, meetings and educational programs.  The 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors have 18 beautifully designed one and two bedroom apartments, dedicated for young families. The residential side of the building has been named Clare Place, in honor of a generous contribution from the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters.  The name Clare Place was inspired by St. Clare of Assisi who devoted her life to the Franciscan values of respect, compassion, service, and integrity, among others.

Who will be living there?  How is NM Oak Park housing different than NM housing in Chicago?

Clare Place apartments at New Moms in Oak Park, are permanent supportive units.  Once families are housed there, they can stay as long as needed to achieve long-term stability.  Similar to New Moms apartments in Chicago, Clare Place residents will be offered housing, coaching and supportive services focused on education, employment, life skills, health and well-being.

In Chicago, New Moms provides transitional housing for young mothers ages 18-24 and their small children, experiencing housing insecurity.  Serving up to 40 moms and 50 children, families are able to live in apartments for a maximum of two years. In addition to housing resident are offered coaching, supportive services focused on education, employment, life skills, health and well-being.

How can I apply for an apartment in Oak Park?  Chicago?

We do not accept applications, nor do we maintain a waitlist at New Moms for housing. We will partner with other organizations in Oak Park to fill our open units with residents.

I need immediate housing help, where can I go?

In Oak Park you can call the Suburban Cook Call Center at 877-426-6515. In Chicago dial 3-1-1.

Chicago Area Nonprofit New Moms Celebrates Grand Opening of $7.25 Million Supportive Housing Development and Family Support Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jenna Hammond 773-413-3451 jhania@newmoms.org

CHICAGO, March 15, 2019 – Community members joined nonprofit New Moms and its development partners today for the grand opening of the organization’s Oak Park Center and Clare Place, a 21,700-square-foot facility that features 18 permanent supportive homes for young families, as well as office, community education and program space that will allow New Moms to expand the breadth and depth of its service offering in Chicago’s western suburbs. The grand opening was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included remarks by State Sen. Don Harmon, the assistant majority leader of the Illinois State Senate, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, among others.

New Moms, an organization with a unique model recognized throughout the United States, offers comprehensive support that meets the specific needs of young parents and their children to help them reach their full potential and create strong families. The organization will provide family support programming on the ground floor of the Oak Park Center, which was funded by the James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation. This programming will include doula support, home visiting, parent support groups and parent education workshops, among other services.

The residential component of the building, Clare Place, will be housed on the second, third and fourth floors. Containing one- and two-bedroom apartments, Clare Place will provide families with safe, stable housing and onsite supportive services focused on education, life skills, health and well-being. In honor of the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, Clare Place is named for St. Clare of Assisi, an early follower of St. Francis who devoted her life to helping those living in poverty.

Apartments available at Clare Place are permanent supportive units and, once housed there, families will be able to live in their homes for as long as needed to achieve long-term stability. Permanent supportive housing is an evidence-based solution to homelessness which combines housing with case management and supportive services focused on education, employment, life skills, health and well-being.

“For more than 35 years, New Moms’ mission has been to interrupt the cycle of poverty for young moms and their children by offering life-changing housing, job training and family support services,” said Laura Zumdahl, President & CEO of New Moms. “This building represents one of our most significant milestones to date, and we are excited to expand our capacity to provide holistic services that result in deep and lasting change for the families we serve.”

New Moms Oak Park Center and Clare Place was made possible by a diverse group of partners in the public and private sectors, including: James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, an anonymous private foundation, Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, Cuore e Mani Foundation, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, IFF, Illinois Housing Development Authority, Lightengale Group, McBride Kelley Baurer, McShane Construction, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Topfer Family Foundation, Corporation for Supportive Housing and numerous individual donors who contributed to New Moms’ capital campaign.

About New Moms

Since 1983, New Moms has been the leading Chicagoland agency specializing in outreach and services to young moms experiencing poverty and homelessness. New Moms provides a continuum of services designed to interrupt the cycle of poverty for two generations by offering support in the most important areas of the life of a family – stable housing, job training, and family support. For additional information, please visit newmoms.org.

Join us 4/4 for the New Moms Associate Board Happy Hour!

  Join New Moms Associate Board and make a significant impact in the lives of young moms and their children. We are looking for professionals who are eager to join the mission and grow their leadership skills by helping with fundraising, volunteering, and becoming strong ambassadors of New Moms. Come on out to a special Happy Hour event at Nellcôte in the West Loop on Thursday, April 4th from 5:30-7:30pm. You’ll meet current members of New Moms Associate Board and find out how you can make a real difference through this exciting opportunity! Sign up here and let us know you’re interested in attending!

Thursday, April 4th | 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nellcôte 833 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60607

SIGN UP

The Pearl and the Stone

Natural pearls are rare things of beauty, requiring a precise confluence of events to be possible at all. The process begins when an irritant – like a grain of sand – slips into the oyster’s shell. At this point in the process, it is very hard to imagine that the grain of sand could ever become anything more. However, as a defense mechanism, the oyster coats the irritant repeatedly with a substance called nacre and, over time, layers build. After many months of this the grain of sand is transformed, turning an existential threat into one of the world’s most prized possessions.

In many ways, the young women in our job training program undergo a similar process. Faced with immense challenges like poverty and homelessness, they commit to an intensive program that empowers them to transform adversity into a source of strength. Many participants enter the program having never held full-time jobs before, and are without the skills and confidence needed to do so.

The job training program addresses this over the course of 16 weeks through a combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training at our social enterprise candle company, Bright Endeavors. At the beginning of the process, program staff work with participants to build trust, break down walls and form a sense of camaraderie within the job training cohort. Over time, each young mom builds layer upon layer of additional skills as they are coached on topics like proper professional conduct, preparing for interviews, crafting the perfect résumé, conducting quality control and working effectively on a team, among many other things.

As these skills accumulate and confidence grows, participants undergo a process of transformation that equips them to achieve and retain permanent employment. At the end of each 16-week program, we commemorate this transformation with a milestone celebration during which each young mom is reminded that while life brings many challenges, these challenges can produce strength and beauty with hard work and determination. Each participant receives a stepping stone with their name on it that is placed on a wall in our headquarters. As the job training program is a stepping stone for them, they are a stepping stone for other young mothers who wish to provide their children with a better life. Each celebration is also themed around one of our core values: love, grit, hospitality, empowerment, and possibility. Every graduating mother is given a gift symbolizing that core value to encourage them throughout their professional journey.

Last year, with your support, 80 young moms found permanent employment and 81% retained employment for 12 months. We are extraordinarily proud of each of them for embracing the process, and grateful that they now serve as examples of the change that is possible for other young moms at the beginning of their journeys.

To learn more about how the job training program transforms the lives of participants, we encourage you to read about Debrea and Olivia.

Oak Park Building Update…Opening Soon!

Excitement is at an all-time high in these last few months leading up to the opening of our new Oak Park Building! We look forward to being able to better serve Chicago’s near-west suburbs from our new building, as well as to providing 18 families with affordable long-term housing.

We’ll soon announce dates for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony as well as an Open House! Stay tuned so you may join us for both events!

Until then, take a look at the videos below for sneak peeks at the both the New Moms Oak Park Center and Clare Place.

https://vimeo.com/313247545

https://vimeo.com/313247810

Celebrating Our 35th Year of Impact and Looking Ahead in 2019

“You have no idea of the talent and potential that we serve with New Moms. This isn’t about charity, this isn’t about this particular woman in this particular circumstance. It’s about the infrastructure of our communities, it’s about the hope for our futures, it’s about things you cannot even fathom you are allowing to blossom.” – Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx

Every day at New Moms, we witness personal transformations as young women like Andrea, Natasha, and Olivia work to create better futures for themselves and their children. In doing so, they are laying a stable foundation for their families and clearing the way for future generations to reach their full potential. But, as Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx noted during her keynote speech at our 35th anniversary gala in October, the impact of this work reaches far beyond any single family; when these transformations happen consistently, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts as our communities become more vibrant places.

In 2018, your support made it possible for us to increase our capacity to create positive change in numerous ways. In the past year, we have bolstered the quality of our services by reimagining our programming to incorporate the latest research on brain and behavioral science, while also expanding our service area to 8 communities in Chicago’s near-west suburbs. As a result, we are serving more families than ever before, providing services to an additional 50 moms and 100 children, and achieving greater success in program outcomes, such as a 43% growth from last year in permanent job placement for our young moms!

We commissioned a Social Return on Investment (SROI) study to learn more about the broader value of our work across multiple sectors of society. We learned that every $1 invested into New Moms has a return of $3.81 after 5 years, showing strong gains in long-term housing stability, maternal and infant health, child social and emotional development, and economic security. We’ll be sharing more from this study in the near future.

Our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, continues to grow and has expanded distribution to national retail outlets like CB2 and The Little Market, among others. This growth is helping increase the sustainability of our job training program, providing our moms with valuable work experience and allowing us to fulfill our commitment to help those we serve become banked and employed while working toward their long-term goals. In addition, it is helping open the door for new partnerships with companies like Google & LinkedIn, both of which New Moms began working with in 2018.

As we transition to 2019, we look forward to building on these successes and celebrating new milestones. Most immediately, we are expecting to open New Moms Oak Park Center in March, which will create 18 permanent supportive homes for young families in Cook County while also greatly expanding our capacity to provide services to a greater number of families in the suburbs. This includes special workshops that cover topics like healthy eating & budgeting, as well as our twice-weekly Morning Parent Meetup (click here for additional details and to sign up).

We are also excited to continue refining our service offerings by integrating best practices on topics like family coaching, brain science and behavioral development, each of which will help us better serve whole families. We know that long-term success among the families we serve is the result of physical, emotional and spiritual health, and this work will greatly enhance our ability to provide wrap-around support that results in deep and lasting change.  

We’re grateful for your partnership in this vital work, and look forward to continuing to work together in the year ahead. Because you believe in the grit of the mothers we serve and their determination to fight for their children, you are helping interrupt the cycle of poverty for generations to come and making Chicago and its suburbs a better place to live for all residents.

How Britany Made It Possible

POSSIBILITY – It’s a core value at New Moms, and so important to believe as we meet young moms with amazing potential at a time in their life when they often feel the pressures of poverty weighing on their vision of a future full of opportunities.

Britany had straight A’s in high school and graduated top 10 in her class. Soon after high school, Britany’s mother passed away and she was left homeless, sleeping at a different friend’s house every week.

Britany moved to Chicago for a program where she could earn 31 college credits. After her stellar academic record, she wanted to continue on her path of learning. “I found out I was pregnant the week before I started my program and prayed to God that this wasn’t going to break me.”

Not long after giving birth, she was referred to New Moms for housing. Britany received a call and moved into her own apartment at New Moms. “My apartment is way better than going house to house.” Britany lives with her 9-month old son, Noah.

Britany just celebrated her 21st birthday, has stable housing, and is interning in the IT department at a Fortune 100 company in downtown Chicago. “I’m a living testimony,” she says. Britany’s time at New Moms is allowing her to focus on the great possibilities that are before her.

Imagine audacious possibilities with me for a moment. Imagine that every family experiencing homelessness has a safe home this winter, gainful employment, and a community of support to help them grow as parents and build a strong family.

Your support of New Moms helps to make these possibilities real for hundreds of young families every year. With plans to build an additional 18 units of permanent supportive housing in 2018 that will provide safe and stable homes for young families, we see how imagining audacious possibilities can lead to tangible and transformative outcomes.

In this season of Christmas, we have a real reason to hope and believe that our generosity to each other can help make audacious possibilities a reality. We invite you to make it possible for young families, like Britany’s, to find homes, jobs, and family support at New Moms by giving a gift that transforms the future for generations of youth, giving them lives full of possibility and hope.

Recognizing New Moms at LemonAid on 9/11- Come Support!

New Moms is proud to have been selected as one of two recipients for funds raised at this year’s LemonAid Kids Helping Kids Charity Lemonade Stand, along with A House in Austin. We are excited to take part in this year’s event and engage with our community, and hope you will too! Please join us for the celebration on September 11, from 3-7pm on the 700 Block of Bonnie Brae in River Forest to help recognize New Moms and to support this unique opportunity to remember a tragic event in a positive light. Bring the kids for a fun-filled family event full of games, activities, and treats for everyone to enjoy!

LemonAid began in 2002 as a response to the attacks on September 11, for neighbors in River Forest, IL to inspire their youth to impact the community through philanthropic action. To date, LemonAid has raised over $250,000 for local charities serving children, and we are excited to be recognized as one of this year’s recipients. Visit 9-11lemonaid.com for more information.

We hope to see you there!