JF&CS Volunteer News Spring 2014

Betsy CohenWhen Betsy Cohen began volunteering for the Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® program almost nine years ago, she never expected that she would learn as much from the moms she visits each week as they do from her. Over the years, Betsy has helped 11 women become more confident mothers, and they have given her a new perspective on mothering.

"Being a Visiting Mom is a learning experience for me. To be part of someone's life for a year, to listen without judgment, to accept someone else's reality that's not my own, has opened me up to being more accepting," said Betsy. "I love Visiting Moms. It's an incredible program. It appeals to so much of who I am."

Now in its 25th year, Visiting Moms is a nationally acclaimed program, offered by the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support© (CERS), for pregnant women and mothers of newborns who are adjusting to a growing family. The caring volunteers who visit moms' homes each week to offer support and encouragement are the heart of the program.

Betsy is a therapist who specializes in health education, nutrition, and lifestyle balance. She met Peggy Kaufman, Director of CERS, almost 15 years ago when she attended the agency's annual Women's Breakfast. "I could tell right away that JF&CS was a great organization with great people," she said.

In addition to Visiting Moms, Betsy is also a member of the CERS advisory committee and serves as co-chair of the agency's Hunger and Nutrition committee. She has found her time with Visiting Moms especially rewarding, helping mothers from different cultures, others who were new to the area without family or friends nearby, and some with postpartum depression and extreme sleep deprivation.

Even though she helped each mom face her own unique challenges, Betsy noted that one thing stays the same. "To watch someone blossom from being nervous, apprehensive, and sleep-deprived into a confident, competent, loving mother is a very positive experience."

She recalled one new mother who was struggling. "Mom and baby didn't have a strong connection at first," said Betsy. "I supported, encouraged and modeled for her. By the end she and the baby did bond. To see her love her baby – that was incredible. That's how we know the program worked."

The caring and respect that develops over the year is mutual, and Betsy has a collection of baby pictures to prove it. "To be a constant presence in their life means so much to them," she said.

This year's Women's Breakfast celebrates the 25th anniversary of Visiting Moms and honors all our Visiting Mom volunteers – past and present. Learn more about the event.

Read more articles from JF&CS Volunteer News Spring 2014.