The VNSNY Nurse-Family Partnership: Celebrating More than a Decade of Life-Changing Relationships

Bronx NFP program recognizes 105 mothers at 2017 fall graduation ceremony

On November 2nd, friends, family and VNSNY staff gathered at the Metro Café on Waters Place in the Bronx to honor 105 young first-time mothers—this year’s graduating cohort from two of the four nursing teams in VNSNY’s Bronx Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). Each mother had spent the past two and a half years, starting in pregnancy and continuing through their child’s second birthday, working closely with one of the Bronx NFP’s 32 nurses to develop and refine their parenting skills and advance their own education and career.

Left, Marki Flannery, VNSNY EVP and Chief of Provider Operations and right, Carol Odnoha, Director of VNSNY’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program

“The relationships these young mothers build with their NFP nurses are truly life-changing,” says Carol Odnoha, director of VNSNY’s NFP program. At the ceremony, attendees were welcomed by Carol and Marki Flannery, VNSNY’s Executive Vice President and Chief of Provider Operations. Roberta Holder-Mosley, NFP Director for the City of New York, then addressed the group, followed by Carl Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly, who represents the 83rd Assembly District in the Northeast Bronx, State Assembly member Luis Sepulveda, who represents the 87th Assembly District in the South-Central Bronx, and State Senator Jamaal Bailey, who represents Senate District 36 in the North Bronx and Mount Vernon. As part of his remarks, Assemblyman Sepulveda read aloud a New York State Assembly citation he had sponsored, honoring the Bronx NFP. “Since it began in the Bronx in 2006,” the citation noted, “VNSNY NFP has helped over 4,800 families start out right.”

VNSNY Nurse-Family Partnership client Vanessa Camilo and her son, Samuel, at the recent Bronx NFP graduation ceremony, together with (left to right) New York State Senator Jamaal Bailey, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and New York State Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda.

The event’s highlights included moving speeches by three mothers from the graduating class, and the presentation of the program’s graduate certificates by the Bronx NFP nursing staff to the women they have mentored. “There wasn’t an empty seat in the house,” says Carol. “Quite a few family members of the graduates were there, cheering and taking photos, including a number of the NFP children’s fathers, which is a very positive thing to see. Building these supportive relationships is one of the things that NFP stresses.”

Another important aspect of NFP is what Carol calls its “ripple effect”—a pool of evidence-based knowledge about child-rearing that spreads well beyond those enrolled in the program. “What these women learn about early child development will also end up benefiting any other children they have,” she says, “plus it gets passed on to sisters, grandmothers, the children’s fathers, and other relatives and friends. So while 4,800 mothers have actually gone through our NFP program with their children in the past 11 years, the number of people who have been impacted by the program is many times that.”

Our Nurse-Family Partnership—which operates in Nassau County as well—is a leading example of VNSNY’s Charitable Care and Community Benefit programs, which are turning around the lives of thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers. This is thanks in no small part to the generous contributions from VNSNY’s own staff members. To learn how you can help support the mothers in our Nurse-Family Partnership as well as other New Yorkers in need, click here.

As part of his remarks, Assemblyman Sepulveda read aloud a New York State Assembly citation he had sponsored, honoring the Bronx NFP. “Since it began in the Bronx in 2006,” the citation noted, “VNSNY NFP has helped over 4,800 families start out right.”