Wednesday, September 18, 2019
One reason Sisters in Birth Inc. founder and Executive Director Getty Israel decided to create her organization is "because there was a time when I was a single mother without a support group," she says.
Israel was a single mom who had a master's degree in population health from Jackson State University, which she received in 2006. She worked as a full-time projects officer for the Mississippi Department of Health, but she did not have enough money to pay her bills or even to buy lunch, she says.
Because of her struggle, she "had to hustle and use my skills" in order to buy food. To get a little bit more money, she became a contract worker at MSDH and took a part-time job as a staff writer with Alcorn State University.
"There are many young women who fall through the cracks," she says, women who work full-time, low-paying jobs that do not cover daycare costs, and these moms also do not qualify for government assistance.
This conundrum, and the high rates of teen premature births, C-sections and low rates of breastfed babies, led her to start Sisters in Birth, which launched earlier this month. The program is open to girls and women ages 14 to 30.
Through the program, Israel aims to raise the amount of women who receive quality and timely prenatal care, she says.
Sisters in Birth Inc. will support participants through avenues such as home visitation, child-birth-education activities, physical activity, counseling on tobacco cessation, labor and delivery support, counseling on breastfeeding, patient advocacy and more. Sisters in Birth will also hire 10 Hinds County mothers who had healthy outcomes with birth and breastfeeding to serve as community health workers for the participants.
"We are about building relationships," Israel says about the program.
The young women who complete the program will receive a free crib and car seat, and those who have full-term vaginal births and ones who breastfeed will receive a financial incentive.
"Sisters in Birth is a real pro-life support organization helping women out of real poverty," she says.
The organization will first be limited to 50 young women who live in Hinds County at enrollment time, with the plan to increase an additional 50.
Sign-up began Aug. 31. For more information, email [email protected].