New mentoring program for moms promotes healthy pregnancies in Muskegon

In an effort to reduce infant and maternal death rates in Muskegon County, the School of Nursing at Baker College of Muskegon and Public Health Muskegon County are collaborating on a new Mom Mentoring Program

The free program, which is currently enrolling mentors and mentees, is designed to provide local pregnant women with the support, education, and connection to community resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes.

The infant mortality rate in Muskegon County from 2015 through 2019 was 7.2, outpacing the state average of 6.6, according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services

The new program is committed to connecting pregnant women with community agency resources, providing appropriate education for a healthy pregnancy, assisting in helping new mothers to learn parenting techniques, and offering love and support without judgment. 

“In the nursing program at Baker College, service-learning opportunities like the Mom Mentoring Program are part of our commitment to the community and to our profession of caring, and are a privilege to be a part of,” says Melissa Miller, director of nursing/clinical coordinator and assistant professor at Baker College of Muskegon. “The women in this program, both the mentors and mentees, are our neighbors and peers, and their health and well-being are integral to our own, and to that of our community.”

Support continues until baby’s first birthday

Pregnant moms/mentees will be paired with a volunteer mentor, who is required to complete an essential training session, participate in bi-weekly educational meetings and commit to at least one hour per week of active mentoring over 18 months.  

Mentors support the mom mentee from pregnancy through the baby's first birthday. The program is open to all pregnant women, no more than 16 weeks along, who live in Muskegon County.
 
“The partnership we have with Baker College’s School of Nursing and our Mom Mentoring Program is a fantastic way to fulfill student requirements while serving as a valued community member,” says Shelia Wilson, maternal and child health supervisor with Public Health Muskegon County. “Helping women throughout their pregnancy journey, and up to baby’s first birthday, can be very rewarding.”

The Mom Mentoring Program is enrolling now. Interested mentors and mentees can learn more online at mommentormuskegon.org, by calling 231-724-4415 or emailing PublicHealth.MomMentoring@co.Muskegon.mi.us.

 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.