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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Dec. 21, 201012:00 PM EST

Nonprofit CEO Showcase: Vanessa D. Boyer

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The Childbirth Education Association

Mission
To improve the health and safety of mothers, babies and families through education and collaborative partnerships of public and private organizations.

Serving Jacksonville
The Childbirth Education Association was founded in April 1971. The organization affiliated with the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition in 2004.

Those served
The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition’s target audience is expectant moms, parents and newborn babies. Although the organization primarily serves Duval County, depending on the service, we can cover St. Johns, Nassau, Baker and Clay counties. We are not limited to any particular zip code for our service. We also provide teenage pregnancy prevention education in Duval County schools.

Biggest challenge
Finding resources to sustain the critical prenatal and postpartum services moms and babies need. Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies is a small agency with a big mission and many people do not know the agency exists and are unaware of the challenges faced by our babies and moms. We are blessed to be a United Way of North Florida agency with support from the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition. However, the current economic times have affected everyone. Those with the least amount of resources continue to need support. Bringing voices, hearts and hands together will hopefully help to create the reservoir of resources needed to ensure our babies and moms are healthy and safe.

Biggest satisfaction
The opportunity to talk about our work with everyone I meet. Many people know what I am going to talk about when they see me coming. But I have only been in the field for a little over 2 years and I didn’t have a clue about some of the challenges people face just to have a healthy baby. I know the average person probably is not aware, either. We are dealing with a community issue and therefore people of all levels of the community have to be informed and equipped to change the trend in infant mortality. I tell people how they can assist in making families’ dreams come true, having a healthy baby. Now who would not want to have that job? Especially a talker.

Hometown
Richmond, Virginia.

First experience with community service
My mother was the vice president of the Eastside Community Society. The group provided food, clothing and money to those in need. I can remember many nights during holidays that we would convene at the president’s home, Maggie L. Jones, and pack baskets with food, toys, clothes and more. Leaving her house at midnight to drive about 40 minutes home was typical. She was quite a character and I can honestly tell you I was much older before I could really appreciate her efforts. It was her personal treasure and contacts that improved the quality of life for so many people in Richmond. I was about 7 years old when we started this tradition.

Your job before Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies?
I was with FreshMinistries for about five and a half years as the associate director of Urban Ministries. That was a great opportunity to discover the needs and resources available in Jacksonville for the core city.

Upcoming events
Now: 2nd Annual Cribs for Christmas campaign. Our goal is to give cribs to 100 babies. A $100 donation provides a crib along with safe sleep education for parents and follow-up with the family. We have raised funds for about 40 babies to receive cribs and have 60 more to serve.

Contact information
www.hmhbcjaxnfl.org
Telephone: 854-7100
Fax: 854-7102
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition
644 Cesery Blvd., Suite 320, Jacksonville, FL 32211

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