Joseph Epstein, an activist and leader of the French resistance during World War II said, "We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing."
Every day in this country, over 2,000 babies are born into poverty. For their mothers – often very young themselves – the prospect of parenthood can seem scary and overwhelming, especially if they're facing it alone. As a single parent myself, I know first-hand how challenging it can be raising children without a second parent, as invested in a child's future as you are. I know it must be that much harder for those who are financially strapped and don't have an adequate support system.
But the Nurse-Family Partnership is lightening the load by sending registered nurses out to visit first-time mothers in high-risk, low-income households. For the thousands of moms in the program, that friendly knock at the door means help has arrived. Sure, they're health professionals. But the NFP nurses wear many more hats than the one that used to be worn by Florence Nightingale. One young mother I met in Brooklyn, New York for tonight's story told me her nurse was the closest thing she had to the mother she lost as a child. These nurses supply advice, but also friendship, comfort and confidence.
This program wasn't created by a philanthropist or a politician. It was created by a psychologist -- one who grew up in poverty. David Olds came from a broken home, but dedicated his life to fixing thousands of others'. Ask David what he calls the 30-plus years he's spent refining the Nurse-Family Partnership into the success story it is today, and he'll say, "It's a good start."
And that's what a countless number of newborns have, thanks to him.