Talk about starting the day right this week! Early on Tuesday I was taking in every morsel I could about VNS —Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa. "Growing Great Families" is the VNS theme for the year.
For 105 years VNS nurses, social workers, outreach workers and interpreters have collaborated to provide client-focused services. Its programs meet the health and human service needs of 56,000 individuals each year, including 3,550 children across six counties. VNS currently provides access through translations services for 21 different languages and dialects.
VNS of Iowa board member Deb Milligan told the women attending the breakfast how she requests that her guests forget hostess gifts when they come to her home and bring essentials for the Stork's Nest, one of 27 programs operated by VNS. Moms-to-be and young moms in a two-year relationship with VNS earn points when doing the best things for themselves and their child (going to birthing, new mom and childcare classes, medical appointments, etc.). Those points can be redeemed for brand new baby accessories, clothing, furniture, and baby feeding, hygiene, medical and safety items.
While her mother held her easy-going, six-month-old, a 20-year-old rock star young mom being served by VNS shared her story of an abusive relationship, depression, fear and questioning when she learned she was pregnant. Her mother's friend told her about VNS. She's received therapy to deal with depression, emotional and medical preparation for the arrival of her son and instruction on caring for him now. And along the way she received the strength to end her abusive relationship and take responsibility for being the best mom and person she can be. She's now enrolled to study psychology.
"I missed the red flags," she said. "VNS helped open my eyes ... now I'm a better parent for my son and a better person for myself. I'm a lot better, a lot happier."
I know that this non-grandma is going baby shopping. Want to help me stock the Stork's Nest?