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Why Babies?

The first 1,000 days changes everything.

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A baby’s brain doubles in size by age 1, and by age 3, it has reached 80% of its adult volume.

More importantly, it is forming synapses faster than it ever will again. However, if a baby is neglected, the brain is not exercised and it doesn’t develop. This starts a lifetime of being behind for a child.


But education and support for the mother can change this!

Did you know that 1 in 4 children in New York City are born into poverty?

Parenting is hard. Poverty makes it harder. We work in 6 areas to make it easier.



It’s hard to think about reading if you are hungry. 19% of Hispanic households and 32% of households headed by a single mother are food insecure!

We provide meals to our pregnant mamas and families. We also provide formula and food to any child in need.


Education & Literacy

Children from lower-income families hear a staggering 30 million fewer words than children from higher income families by the time they are 3 years old [University of Kansas, 2003]

Our families join us each Saturday to read and socialize at The Reading Corner. Each family takes home a book each week. We also educate our families on the importance of talking, singing, and reading to their baby.


Material Goods & Finances

Babies are expensive. Diapers alone cost more than $550/year (and are not subsidized by any government program). Add in a stroller, clothes, and formula to an already-strained budget and it is hard to pay the rent.

We provide the majority of the baby’s needs through quarterly "shopping" visits to our Baby Boutique. Parents are able to choose clothes, diapers, books, and a developmental toy.


Child Safety & Health

Low income groups have 3X the rate of SIDS compared to higher income groups [Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 1995]. It is also harder for our clients to get their landlords’ attention on lead paint, window guards, and working CO2 and smoke detectors.

We provide a safe and portable sleep spot (e.g., Pack n Play, sleepsack) and appropriate parent education. We also help families understand their rights so they can be advocates for themselves and their family.


Community & Support

Most of our families are recent immigrants. Many have been/are victims of domestic violence. These facts isolate and create loneliness.

We facilitate Mama & Me Groups with ~8 mamas and children of similar ages. These groups meet weekly and provide support and encouragement to each other.


Mama Well-Being

“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”- Jeff Foxworthy. We know our mamas are the foundation of a strong, safe and nurturing home. A two-generation approach is critical.

We take special care of our mamas too. From English classes with childcare to trauma-informed yoga to workforce preparation to annual goal-setting classes, we work with our mamas to help them achieve their goals.

Why Babies?

Toxic stress creates a lifetime of physical and mental effects and fuels the cycle of poverty.

Childhood adversity changes our biological systems and creates a lifetime of effects: higher rates of ADHD, diabetes, asthma, and stress responses. It reduces the average lifespan by 20 years. [See the research]

We can change this together!

We work with each family early and often. We take a two-generation holistic approach. Community is at the heart of our model.

All of these actions work to decrease toxic stress hopefully changing a child's lifetime trajectory.

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Together, we are changing lives!

Read real stories of mamas and children

Meet A Mother & Daughter

A story of nutrition.

Our families are food insecure and often hungry. Practically that translates into situations like this: a pregnant mama not realizing how important pre-natal vitamins and vegetables are in her diet, baby formula being diluted to get through the next few days (not realizing the effect on the growing brain), etc. We share a meal with our families whenever possible, and we provide food, in partnership with Freshly and Catholic Charities, to our families, prioritized by need.

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Meet our families

Stories of education & literacy.

Building a strong literacy foundation sets a child up for a lifetime of learning. But imagine that you don't have any books in your home to read? Imagine that you come from a country where your mother was illiterate and worked long hours to provide for the family... our mamas often didn't have a role model in regard to reading growing up. Imagine that you struggle to read yourself? We meet our families where they are and help them understand the importance of language and books. We also work with our families to build English skills overall with the goal of holding their kindergarten parent teacher conference in English! Meet and see our families working hard on this!

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Meet Anna and her children

A story of material goods and finances.

Babies are expensive. Diapers alone cost an estimated $550/year (and are not covered by government assistance). Often, our families put the babies in the family bed as they do not have a safe sleep space in their shared room for the baby (i.e., our constant need for Pack 'n Plays). Strollers are a luxury item. We also find that many of our families run out of formula for their babies even with WIC assistance. Every child deserves a safe space to sleep, a dry bottom, and a full tummy. It is hard to think about books and reading if these basic needs are not meant. We strive to come alongside our families and help them with all of these needs so the baby (and family!) can thrive.

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Meet the Cortez Family

A story of child safety and health

Many of our families live in small spaces. They sub-lease a room and therefore don't have the ability to complain about chipping lead paint, non-working smoke detectors, and missing window guards. They are frequently not aware of the importance of safe sleep spaces, vaccinations, regular visits to the pediatrician, and dental health. We work with our mamas to help them understand the importance of all of these topics. We partner with Columbia Presbyterian's Medical School and Columbia's Dental School to provide regular speakers to educate our mamas, and we provide CPR and first aid training for all of our families.


Community within the area

A community and support story.

Community is critical to every person, but particularly to new mamas. Our mamas meet weekly for a Mama & Me Group called Las Orugitas. Each group has ~8 women with similarly aged babies. Each group has its own Whatsapp chat group, and they laugh, cry, and support each other through the tough parenting moments. Part of our work is to connect our mamas with other mamas so we can decrease their isolation and increase their support network.

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Meet several of our mothers

A mama well-being story

We have always known in our gut that a two-generation approach (e.g., Mama + Baby) is critical to success. More and more scientific research is showing how critical the mama's well-being is to the long-term well-being of the baby. Even when there are significant numbers of adverse events in the household (e.g., food insecurity, domestic violence, housing insecurity), if the mama can "keep calm and carry on", the effect of these toxic stress events is markedly reduced on the child. Our mamas provide the buffer and make the child feel secure and loved. Therefore, events like our trauma-informed yoga classes are critical to providing the mental respite our mamas need.

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