Baby Clothing Swap to Benefit YWCA MotherLove

6 Mar

Mission Hospital’s Breastfeeding Center and Boutique, located at 2 Medical Park Drive Suite 201, is hosting a Baby Clothing Swap on Saturday March 9th. The Swap is a benefit for the YWCA MotherLove Program. Clothing drop off will be from 10:00 am – 11:30 am, and swapping will run from 12:00 pm until 3:00 pm.
Click here for more information.

The MotherLove program is featured in this month’s WNC Parent Magazine, with Mothers on the Move,  a program of the Mountain Area Child and Family Center. Here is a re-post of the MotherLove part of the story:

Giving Moms a Helping Hand
by Marla Hardee Milling

From left, Jasmine Flint, Teresa Allen, group leader Tangela Bowman, Ahmarie Gaines, Taiyanna Collington and Keyshaunna Ellington meet for the YWCA's MotherLove Lunch Bunch at Asheville High School. / John Fletcher/Jfletcher@citizen-times.com

From left, Jasmine Flint, Teresa Allen, group leader Tangela Bowman, Ahmarie Gaines, Taiyanna Collington and Keyshaunna Ellington meet for the YWCA’s MotherLove Lunch Bunch at Asheville High School. / John Fletcher/Jfletcher@citizen-times.com

The workday doesn’t end at 5 p.m. for Tangela Bowman, director of the MotherLove Program at the Asheville YWCA. “My girls know they have access to me 24/7.”

She wouldn’t have it any other way. For Bowman, helping teens that are pregnant or new moms isn’t a job, it’s part of her life purpose.

“I’m always excited about what I do and making an impact in someone’s life,” she says. “They are also making an impact on my life.”

The MotherLove program includes 30 participants at seven schools in Buncombe County. When it started about 25 years ago it focused solely on Asheville High School. It has grown to include a total of seven schools including the Community High School, Reynolds, Erwin, Owen, Enka and Roberson.

Teresa Allen is a senior at Asheville High School and a participant in the MotherLove Program.

“I found out I was pregnant over the summer of 2011,” says Allen. “I don’t know how the school found out, but they introduced me to the MotherLove Program. At that time I was living with my grandmother and alcoholic granddad. It was rough for me.” She says Bowman would sometimes let her stay at her house when her home life was too difficult. Bowman also picked her up and took her to her doctor appointments to ensure good prenatal care.

“She’s basically my second mom,” says Allen. “I love everything about the program and I made a lot of friends with the other girls.”

The participants all meet once at month for dinner and a program at the YWCA. They also gain important information through special lunchtime gatherings.

“We do lunch bunches at every school,” says Bowman. “We come in and provide lunch for them and we provide a speaker.” In February the speaker was a staff member from Helpmate who provided education about domestic abuse. In March, Wells Fargo staff will present the young women with useful tips on such topics as balancing their checkbooks, creating a budget and applying for credit.

Through a voucher system, Allen is able to secure child care for her almost year-old son at Asheville City Preschool while she finishes requirements for her diploma at Asheville High School. She’s on track to graduate in June.

Bowman urges supporters of this program to become advocates to push legislators to maintain the voucher system.“Vouchers are being put on hold even for teen moms,” says Bowman. “This is such a serious issue because if these girls don’t get these vouchers they will have to drop out of high school because they won’t have anyone to take care of their child.”

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor to the girls or helping in other ways can contact Bowman at the YWCA or visit http://www.ywcaofasheville.org

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