MATERNITY CARE COALITION
February 5, 2010
I initially heard about Maternity Care Coalition through an internship program at my university in Philadelphia. The motivating goals and purposes of MCC aligned with my interests in maternal health and public health, and I jumped at the chance to work in an organization where I could learn about issues that matter to me through (1) direct service, (2) research, and (3) policy. Last summer, I worked at Maternity Care Coalition's North Central site, where I had a client caseload and performed the role of a "Momobile Advocate." I provided education, referrals (including everything from material support with iterms such as cribs (our Cribs for Kids program receives a lot of referrals!) as well as emotional support and counseling services). I once heard someone describe the role of Momobile Advocate as "part cheerleader, part coach, part social worker." My training for this role was definitely on-the-job; though I did not feel prepared the first couple of times I went on home visits, the staff at North Central were always there for me and provided constructive feedback. I learned a lot from not only MCC's staff, but also from the clients I was privileged to meet. When the school year started in the fall of 2009, I transitioned from my work in the small North Central MCC office to MCC's central, mostly administrative office in Center City Philadelphia. There is certainly a different office dynamic here, given that it is far larger than North Central and houses so many departments. Though I have been working less hours (since I have to balance the internship with classes and homework and all the chaos that the school year brings!) and have not had ample time to invest in the community here at the central office, I have been able to witness the different organs of MCC at work. The research, policy departments as well as the Cribs for Kids and Perinatal Emotional Support programs are housed here in the Center City office, and though I have mainly been working with the research department and Cribs for Kids, it has been valuable to talk to staff who work in all of these departments. My work with MCC has given me a glimpse into the frustrations (and joys) that low-income mothers in Philadelphia face, into the life of an established, well-oiled nonprofit, as well as perspective on what has been done and what needs to be done for the welfare of mothers across Philadelphia. It has also widened my career prospects. Though I (as typical of college students) came into my undergraduate education as a committed pre-med, experiences at MCC have broadened the careers that I can envision for my future. The range of backgrounds, expertise, strengths, and interests represented in this organization have been a constant well for me to draw from. MCC has played the wonderful role in my life of confirming my interest in women's health; it has also confirmed that there are so many avenues and tools that can be used to advocate for and contribute to women's health. Though I have no solid answer on what tool I wish to pursue (whether it is medicine, midwifery, nursing, public health, academic research, political advocacy, social work, counseling, community organizing, or a delightful combination of many of these things...!), I am glad to be in the position of making an informed decision on my future (with the perspective that Maternity Care Coalition has provided me).
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
friendly, committed, concerned, knowledgeable.
Ways to make it better...
I had more training before I embarked on home visiting and social support services.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I interned at their North Central Philadelphia site, offering social services and support to low-income pregnant women. Recently, I have been working in the research wing of Maternity Care Coalition, helping with outcomes research for Cribs for Kids, a ba.