When I walked into Maternity Care Coalition’s Hamilton Office for the first time at the end of last summer, I was looking to get involved in an organization that promoted maternal and child health. I had made the decision earlier that year to move to Philadelphia because I wanted to get experience in this field before starting my master’s program in public health. I decided to volunteer with MCC because I knew that the organization was a leader in maternal and child health programs in the area. The unique vision of the organization really interested me, and after 7 months with the organization, I continue to learn new things about the amazing ways we are involved in the community.
I began as a volunteer with Fund Development and Marketing department. This position allowed me to learn a lot about event coordination and how a non-profit secures funding for its day-to-day operations. I worked with Samantha Jeune, Development and Events Coordinator, to support events like the Generosity 5k charity run and the Fall Policy Forum. My favorite project that I worked on with this team was Family Gift Connection; it was really inspiring to see so many members of the community come together to brighten the holiday season for MCC’s clients.
One of the greatest things about my volunteer experience at MCC is how open everyone has been to me working on projects beyond my original role. I was able to work on a project for Katja Pigur, Director of Breastfeeding Services, where I researched organizations who could benefit from MCC’s breastfeeding consultation services. This project opened my eyes to the work that MCC does to make the greater community a more accepting place for mothers by working with businesses to train them on ways to be breastfeeding friendly. For the Spring Policy Forum this year, I worked with Rosemarie Halt, Senior Director of Policy, to create an introductory presentation on the discussion topics. I really enjoyed this project because through my research I learned how policies surrounding paid parental leave, equal pay, fair scheduling, and workplace accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding employees all affect working mothers.
Throughout my time as a volunteer I have also worked with Dr. Marjie Mogul, Senior Director of Research, on her work in Riverside Correctional Facility. I had the opportunity to review the data collection process for Fit Beginnings for Mom, a program that works with clients at the facility to develop exercise and nutrition goals. Currently, I am researching community alternatives to incarceration for pregnant mothers. Without this experience, I may not have discovered my interest in the health of incarcerated mothers, and because of that I am grateful for the opportunity to work on these projects at MCC.
Through my experience as a volunteer, I was introduced to the Program Evaluation team, and I recently began an official position with them. In this role I use ETO to create reports that our funders use to evaluate the efficacy of our programs. This experience has been a really great way for me to learn how MCC’s programs function behind the scenes, and the role that data plays in managing and improving the programs that directly impact our clients. My time as a volunteer prepared me for this role and I had an understanding of the organization that has helped me understand how the work that I do affects our clients. I know that had I not been a volunteer, I would not have been given this opportunity.
My experience with MCC has been impactful. I have had the privilege to work with many different teams, allowing me to learn how MCC operates and how each individual plays a unique role in serving MCC’s clients. I originally came here to contribute to a cause that I care deeply about and to gain experience in the field while doing so. I can now confidently say that when I leave to attend school in the fall, I will be taking with me valuable experiences that will affect the lessons I learn in the classroom and impact my career down the road. I am really grateful for the opportunities I have had at MCC and for the lasting relationships that I have built with the individuals who work here.