Moms and Mentors
Supportive relationships for healthy parenting and families!
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A Health Promotion Perspective

The socio-environmental approach to health promotion serves as a framework for the organization of the Moms and Mentors program. A conceptual framework (click here to view diagram) was adapted from the 'Determinants of Health, Empowering Strategies' to illustrate the integration of this program within the broader context of the community (Maureen Hobbs, University of Victoria, Masters in Nursing Thesis, 2002).

In this diagram, young moms are at the centre of the small circle and their position is symbolic of the significant powerlessness common to them. Several issues common to young moms emphasize the inequalities that undermine their health and vulnerability to low education and poverty. For those who experience loneliness and low self-esteem, the outer circle of the framework represents the process of building self-esteem by engaging in social companionship and sharing experiences with others.

  • Moms and Mentors offer companionship and encouragement to young moms and their families who are vulnerable to psychosocial, physiological, behavioural, and economic conditions that encircle their lives.
  • Mentoring relationships with experienced moms trained as mentors involves a dynamic process of guiding young moms in a caring and non-judgmental way towards a healthier lifestyle.
  • Mentoring is represented by the arrows extending from the small circle surrounding young parents to the larger circle of the community. The arrows outward represents the mentors' intentions to be supportive and involves support for the psychological issues associated with young parenting; informational support for child growth, development and behavioral issues and instrumental support for assistance with other parenting tasks.
  • Mentors also promote awareness of community health and social resources by collaborating with professional mentors including public health nurses, hospital nurses, midwives, doctors, social workers and teachers.
  • Lastly, moms and mentors are resourceful to each other as parents helping parents, fostering healthy parenting and families. Mentor relationships provide young parents with both individual and collective support while building connections to the larger community.

The arrows extending from the outer circle back to young moms represents a process of 'giving back' to the community as young moms provide support to one another. It is a process of building supportive relationships with others, developing problem-solving and decision-making skills, increasing self-confidence and self-worth, and pursuing goals. It involves positive change in one's life and experiencing personal empowerment.

Overall, promoting social support with opportunities for affiliation with a self-help support network and mentor relationships promotes healthy families and community empowerment.

Moms and Mentors was started in 1995 as a community development initiative, facilitated by Maureen Hobbs, a former Public Health Nurse with the Capital Health Region, Victoria, B.C. Currently Moms and Mentors are in the process of applying for non-profit status on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Click here to view diagram

 




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For further information contact: Maureen Hobbs (phone: 250-478-6658 fax: 250-478-6165)
Victoria, Western Communities, and Sooke BC, Canada

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