Josie joined Bright Start when she was pregnant with her first child. Having no supportive family or friends in the area, Josie felt alone and scared as she looked ahead to what pregnancy and parenting would mean. Josie kept her weekly visits with her Bright Start nurse, Kay, soaking up everything she could to help make her pregnancy a success, her baby healthy, and to be the best parent she could be. With the father of the baby in and out of the picture, Josie depended on Kay for support and resources. Josie was connected with housing resources, employment opportunities, Medicaid, food stamps, Furniture Mission, Teddy Bear Den, Sharing Christmas, and bus passes so she could get to all of her prenatal appointments. At 36 weeks, Josie gave birth to a healthy baby girl and shared in the joy with her nurse.
Unfortunately, when her daughter was almost a year old, Josie stopped communicating with her nurse. Then, after almost eight months without any contact, Josie reached out to her Bright Start nurse to share she had moved to Iowa to live with her family and just found out she is pregnant with her second child. The baby's father was not prepared to care for a second child. Confused and stressed, Josie and Kay spent a lot of time talking through her options, with Kay supporting her without judgement. Ultimately, Josie decided to keep the baby and parent on her own.
Several months before giving birth to her second baby, Josie moved back to Sioux Falls and started meeting regularly with Kay again. She also got a job, found a great daycare, and eventually got into her own apartment. Her daughter was thriving both physically and developmentally. When her second baby was born, Josie was in a very stable place. She was financially supporting herself, had the support of Bright Start, her employer, and her daycare, and was successfully co-parenting with the father of her children.
Josie was one of 89 families supported by the Bright Start Nurse Home Visitation program last year. Participants had 1,885 nurse home visits and mental health care sessions. Your support of Sioux Empire United Way provides Bright Start services to families from pregnancy through the child’s third birthday.