In 1993, Fran Courtney, then Chief of Nursing for the Clark County Health District, noted the startling rate of low infant birth weight and the lack of nutritional education for pregnant mothers in parts of Las Vegas. She recruited clients in need of this vital information, as well as volunteer Mentors: Resource Mothers (RM), capable of providing the guidance that could directly help to change this situation. Her efforts resulted in the creation of the Baby Find Program and Smart $hop Program, which in turn empowered the clients with the knowledge that enabled them to give birth to normal-weight babies and establish improved lifelong nutritional habits.
Since 2001, the Baby Find Program, under the new umbrella of Courtney Children’s Foundation, a United Way-accredited and funded 501 (c) 3 organization, has mentored over 500 at-risk pregnant teens and women in the North and old West part of Las Vegas. Each Resource Mother (RM) has donated her time to make sure that her client “daughter” receives the health care she needs during pregnancy, mother-to-mother support before, during and after the birth of her baby, advice on nutritional and health-related issues, encouragement in completion or pursuit of educational goals, help in developing parenting skills and a hand when times get tough.
Each Resource Mother contacts her client at least once a week by phone to check on the above, or just to see if there is anything she needs, how she is doing, etc. In turn, her client is able to contact her RM any time of the day or night just to talk about anything or receive additional community resource referrals.
Each RM makes at least one home visit per month, depending on her client’s needs. As you see, each RM volunteers anywhere from one to four hours a week depending on her client’s situation. The RMs are known to take their clients to doctor’s visits, grocery shopping, even the hospital when the time arrives. All of these 25 women are absolutely amazing in their ability to understand, relate and show compassion to all with whom they come in contact. Some have even become their clients’ Godparents as well as a lifelong friend. Because of this effort, they now have more than 500 healthy babies and their mommies living in the community.