Shared by Leslie Pucker

Tell us about your involvement with JF&CS and CERS.

I first met Peggy Kaufman, Director of the Center for Early Relationship Support® six years ago as a volunteer with CJP's Boston Haifa Connection. I was so impressed with what I learned about CERS that I decided to get involved. I started as a Lauren & Mark Rubin® Visiting Mom on the Vulnerable Families Team about three years ago. I also co-facilitate a support group for new parents. To further my understanding of the moms and babies with whom I volunteer, I have taken the Maternal Mental Health and Infant Observation courses taught by the skilled faculty in the Infant-Parent Training Institute.

Tell us about your family.
I am blessed to have a wonderful family - my husband, Ken, two daughters, Hannah, age 20, and Bella, age 17, and our beloved dog, Lala. My husband and I are on the brink of a significant milestone as our younger daughter, Bella, will begin college next year.

What is your favorite JF&CS memory?
As a Visiting Mom, I have the privilege of witnessing both the ups and downs in the lives of the moms and babies. Recently, a homeless mother of two children completed her GED. This family had lived in four different shelters during our time together. She invited me to attend her graduation ceremony. Being witness to this mom's pride and joy in achieving her goal given numerous obstacles was very moving.

What is one piece of parenting advice you'd share with others?
As a new parent I naively thought there would be one "right" answer to my parenting dilemmas – a "magic bullet." In hindsight, I recognize how silly and counterproductive this sort of thinking is. The important learning for me is that there is an abundance of expertise and advice available on parenting and what works for one parent or child may not work for another. Being aware of what feels right for you and your individual child is critical. So too is recognizing that it is okay to not get it right the first time.

What is your favorite children's book?
I love children's books so it's hard to choose only one. Favorite books that I read with my daughters evoke fond memories of reading and cuddling together. I can still recite from memory Jamberry by Bruce Degen. Kevin Henkes' strong, quirky characters like Chrysanthemum and Wemberly Worried and Kate DiCamillo's tales of animals are among my favorites.

What are you most looking forward to about this year's Women's Breakfast?
The testimonials from clients, volunteers, and staff about their experiences and the impact that CERS programs can have on changing their lives is always very moving and compelling. I also find it powerful to have more than 475 women together in one room in support of the critical work of CERS!

Join Leslie and many others at this year's Women's Breakfast on Wednesday, June 7 at the Westin Waltham. Visit the event webpage to purchase tickets and for more information.