The name of the program speaks volumes: Newark New Start (NNS). If asked the question, “who would not want a new start or support along the way during the beginning of something new?” This is what the staff of Newark New Start provides to each new mom that is embarking on the experience of motherhood. Our motto is: Providing a brighter tomorrow for mothers and their babies. We instill in each new mom the mantra “I can” to help replace the word “I can’t”:
“I can raise this child, I can go back to school, I can ask for help and receive it, I can fall down, BUT I can get back up, I can graduate from High School, I can go to college, I can struggle and overcome them…”
The goal of the program is to provide supportive services to a mother who recently has become a parent and has not been able to fully prepare (i.e. financially, emotionally, etc.). As with any program many challenges arise. This is because many people have their own challenges, but NNS staff will help the person regardless of their needs. They also try to lighten the load by hosting activities so that the mothers can let their hair down and remove themselves from the stresses of life just for a moment. NNS staff host different events to help this happen such as playing games, laughing, dancing, and having dinners certain times of the year (i.e. Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc.).
On a typical day, NNS staff are doing the following: Delivering a car seat and a baby bag to a mother so that she can take her child home from the maternity ward. This includes nights, weekends and holidays. New Jersey state law requires that a mother have a car seat before she is allowed to leave the hospital. We seek to meet the need, while enjoying the smiles that you encounter when you enter the room at the hospital of a mother “who awaits” your arrival and huge sigh of relief that the need has been met after the mother gets a car seat and she is able to go home from the hospital with her baby. Upon discharge from the hospital, NNS staff will make home visits to ensure that the parents have been properly prepared for the child’s arrival. This includes and not limited to assisting with linking and referring of the new mother and child to whatever else is needed for the first six months to assist in their responsibilities in becoming a parent (i.e. support services for school, counseling, entitlements, etc.)
During 2016, we were able to serve approximately 100 mothers during the year with baby items, referrals, clothing, hugs, workshops etc. The length of the program is approximately six months. Our goal for the upcoming year is to increase our services in other hospitals in Essex County’s maternity units.
Newark New Start is the Family Service Bureau’s boarder baby prevention program that provides assistance to at-risk mothers and babies in need. The Family Service Bureau is an affiliate of New Community.