By Kathy Widenhouse, Healthy Babies Project, Inc.
For twenty-five at-risk DC teen mothers, Mother’s Day 2012 was not only their first as new parents or parents-to-be. It was also especially meaningful.
On Monday, May 14, Healthy Babies Project paid tribute to these young women with a special Mother’s Day Dinner Celebration. It was a fitting way to honor one of HBP’s principal constituencies — teen moms enrolled in HBP’s cornerstone Teen Parent Empowerment Program (TPEP) — and the steps these disadvantaged young parents are taking to turn their lives around.
At HBP’s inception in 1991, the District of Columbia had among the highest infant mortality and infant illness rates in the nation — rates on par with some Third World countries. Today, those rates have been cut in half, thanks in large part to HBP. The agency works to reverse this needless cycle of poverty, illness, and despair by equipping at-risk DC families to have healthy babies. Case management, health education, and life skills training are keys to the agency’s success. HBP’s infant mortality rate is nearly two-thirds lower than the District’s; HBP client low birth weight rate is half that of other delivering mothers in DC.