Since becoming a mom, I’ve thought quite a bit about how I want my daughter to be raised and in what ways I will be an example for her. I’ve also realized how fortunate I am in my daily life to not have to worry about food or whether my family and I will have a warm place to rest our heads. It’s easy to stay naïve to anything happening outside of my “bubble,” and I am 100% guilty of that, on occasion. But I’ve made a conscious decision that it is time I become more involved with causes that speak to my heart, and at this point in my life, mothers and children are what speak the loudest. Alex, founder of The New Mom School, is clearly a leader when it comes to helping the motherhood community (I mean, she created TNMS in the first place!), and she is also very passionate about giving back to those in need. So, this week’s post is all about Orange County-based foundations that focus on helping mamas and kiddos, and how we can all get involved.

First up: Families Forward. This incredible organization helps place homeless children and families into stable housing. “Families Forward works with homeless families to find realistic solutions for sustainable housing and build individualized plans to return each family to self-sufficiency. By stabilizing these families and giving them tools to build a future, we create a stronger community for all of us.” Another way they help these families is by giving them access to resources they may not otherwise have. “Through various safety-net services, those at-risk are given access to assistance such as our on-site food pantry, counseling, career coaching, and financial and life skills education. The goal of the program is to help families recover from a financial crisis so they can maintain their self-sufficiency.” There are a few ways you can get involved with Families Forward. One would be to drop off “baby essentials” to The New Mom School – there’s a bin in the back of the classroom that gets donated directly to the families in need. You can also drop off food donations at their pantry in Irvine or host a food drive. They also have this awesome partnership set up with Amazon Smile and Ralphs that allows you to link your accounts so that a portion of every purchase you make at those retailers will be donated directly to Families Forward (at no cost to you)! And, of course, you can make a monetary donation, directly on the website.

The next program that provides assistance to OC mothers is Moms Orange County. They provide in-home Maternal Health Care Coordination and group Health Education Classes for low-income pregnant women and families in the Orange County area. “For more than 24 years, MOMS Orange County (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) has provided free access to prenatal care, health screenings, infant development screenings, health education and referral services through monthly home visits and group classes. We currently serve more than 3,700 low-income families annually and have proudly demonstrated, through rigorous outside evaluation, that our program brings children in a highly disadvantaged population to health and developmental levels that exceed those set by the general population.” They have multiple ways you can contribute to their causes, making it very easy to get involved. You can donate baby items, become a seasonal volunteer, host a diaper or clothing drive, shop and support (like what Families Forward does with Ralphs and Amazon Smile), or you can make a financial donation. If you want to see all the ways you can get involved, check out their donation page.

A local non-profit that helps young mothers is Generation Her. “We offer a weekly life skills program for teen mothers and pregnant teens at our 6 locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Generation Her encourages setting educational and career goals for each teen mom that we work with and walks beside her to accomplish her goals as well as to provide a safe place of encouragement, hope and support through mentors and their fellow community of teenage mothers. Generation Her encourages independence through teaching life skill classes such as; budgeting, money management, job interviewing skills, resume building, cooking, self defense, nutrition, stress and anger management, relationship workshops and so much more.” Generation Her makes it very convenient to donate to their organization. They accept new or lightly used baby essentials as well as Wal-Mart, Target, or grocery store gift cards. You can also volunteer to attend their weekly meetings, mentor a teen mom, teach a class, or host a fundraising event – they, of course, accept monetary donations as well. You can check out all the ways to get involved here.

Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation supports mothers with cancer who raise minor children. They provide financial assistance, peer-to-peer support, and education for the children who are impacted. “As a trusted charitable organization founded in 2013, we have provided assistance to hundreds of young families faced with cancer. Half a million parents in the US diagnosed with cancer raise minors. 18% are under age of 6 years of age.” If you feel inclined to become involved with this foundation, there are three ways you can do so: volunteer your time, make a financial donation, or become a 5k sponsor. For example, they just had a 5k run at Angel’s Stadium in Anaheim, so if you’re an organization, you can sponsor the race, of, if you’re an individual who feels called to this cause, you can sign up to run (or walk). Although this year’s run has come and gone, they do this annually, so you can keep an eye out for messaging around this event next year!

The final organization we’d like to highlight is Casa Teresa. “Deeply rooted in the Orange County community, Casa Teresa provides pregnant women in crisis a loving home to begin their healing journey. With a trusted and compassionate team of professionals and a proven residential program, we empower mothers in learning lifelong skills to end cycles of homelessness, abuse, and addiction; regain control of their futures; and create families that thrive.” Casa Teresa accepts many forms of donations. You can donate money, baby and mommy essentials, and your time. They are always in need of volunteers to help sort through donations, help around their “campus,” or even babysit little ones! You can also commit to attending a certain number of annual events and become a part of their Founders or Central Guilds. All the ways to pitch in can be found here as well as on the “serve” dropdown at the top of the page.
This week’s post exposed me to a lot of incredible charitable organizations I had no idea existed and triggered a whole lot of soul-searching. I’ve been privileged my entire life, and now that I am a mother, I’m realizing it even more. There is always room to give back, here and there, whether it be financially or volunteering time. If any of the causes mentioned above spark your interest, I strongly encourage you reach out and investigate where your services can best be used. Imagine the impact our village could make if we all just committed a little bit of time or effort, and how many of our fellow mamas we could help, encourage, and support.

In kindness and giving,