In the Press
"Safe Babies Healthy Families: Giving Back"
May 7, 2013
Credit: Tina LeAnn Photography
I’ve been working with Safe Babies Healthy Families of Waukesha for over a year now. Safe Babies Healthy Families is a non-profit home visitation program for at risk mothers—women who have been exposed to neglect, abuse, and poverty—in breaking through life-long, challenging patterns of behavior.
Each month during our Wisconsin spring, summer, and fall season, I give a free portrait session to a mother and child. I love being able to use my camera for something bigger than myself. I love giving up a couple hours of my time each month to give each woman and child a memory for a lifetime. I encourage everyone who’s reading this to do the same, to use your talent as a tool for giving back.
By Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Credit: Living Lake Country
As a sophomore, Mukwonago High School alumnus Keara Flaherty couldn't have imagined how her Senior Girl Scout Gold Award project would come full circle. Flaherty and her fellow Scouts Casey Cox and Kayla Vail coordinated a Pack 'n Play drive in 2010 to help prevent infant deaths from co-sleeping.
Working on the project, Cox kept saying, "If we save one life, it is worth it." Three years later, one of the lives the project might have saved was Flaherty's son Owen.
To give back to the organization that has helped her, Flaherty organized another Pack 'n Play drive to benefit Safe Babies Healthy Families of Waukesha from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Mukwonago Community Library.
"The organization that we helped then, helped me when I was pregnant," Flaherty said.
Three years ago, Flaherty, Cox and Vail coordinated a Pack 'n Play drive for the Pregnancy Support Connection, which merged with Healthy Families of Waukesha County in 2012 to form Safe Babies Healthy Families.
The girls became close friends working on the Girl Scout Gold Award project, but several days before the collection, Cox passed away.
"We were so into that project together," said Flaherty. "We got close because of it."
Flaherty and Vail carried out the Pack 'n Play drive, collecting more than 100 beds for infants by the end of the drive.
"We knew she wouldn't want us being depressed doing this drive," Flaherty said. "It was to save a life, and we were able to get 120. There were 120 babies we didn't have to worry about co-sleeping and risking that."
In Flaherty's senior year, she found out she was pregnant. She went four months into the pregnancy before telling anyone.
"I didn't know how to tell anyone, and I couldn't grasp the fact that I was going to have a baby," Flaherty recalled. "It was hard saying the words, 'I'm pregnant.' "
Her high school counselor told Flaherty about an organization that sounded familiar to her, one that could help her as a teenage mom. Safe Babies Healthy Families provided Flaherty with information on being pregnant, helped her with health insurance, food stamps and eventually housing.
"They remembered me from the Pack 'n Play drive," said Flaherty. "It was really cool that we were both helping each other, so I want to give back to them for all they have done."
Flaherty remembers back to that first Pack 'n Play drive.
"The girls that we talked to over there were so different from what I thought I was like," she recalled. "It's kind of humbling. Everyone is human. Everyone goes through something."
Safe Babies Healthy Families enrolls young women in a structured case management program where set standards for personal responsibility and accountability are expected. Women work closely with their case managers to develop personal goals to become self-sufficient and are individually coached to learn appropriate life skills, as well as given support and education to ensure delivery of a healthy baby and positive parenting, according to the organization's website.
The organization makes it possible to provide services that serve two populations - isolated, abused and pregnant young women and young, at-risk families who lack financial, healthy and social support.
"Two champions who stepped out of the shadows, shined a light on the dark secret of child sexual abuse and showed us how to understand and begin to heal"
By Gary Smith
Credit: Sports Illustrated, December 17, 2012
Click here to read the article.
The May 9th Annual Gala Event of Safe Babies Healthy Families, Waukesha County’s premier agency working to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect, promises “An Evening to Remember” of fun, food, great auction items and the chance to make a tremendous difference in our communities.
The black tie-optional event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel, W231-N1600 Corporate Court, Pewaukee. InPro Corp. and Waukesha State Bank are Presenting Sponsors for the 2013 Gala Event. This year’s affair promises even more surprises built around its theme of “An Evening to Remember."
“Not only will attendees have a festive time for a great cause, they’ll see our mission in action and witness how their support is directly improving peoples’ lives and strengthening our communities,” said Safe Babies Healthy Families Executive Director Nancy Major.
A Major Success
By Judith Berger
Credit: Wisconsin Woman Magazine - April 2013
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