Susan Orkin and Chris Wasserstein, two Upper East Siders, were honored on June 9 at the Fig and Olive Restaurant in Manhattan for having founded an important non-profit that assists first time mothers in New York’s poorest neighborhoods: Friends of New York City Nurse Family Partnership (friendsofnycnfp.org).
Before creating this organization six years ago, both individuals were involved with the New York City division of Nurse- Family Partnership, a national model that matches nurses with first-time at-risk pregnant women. The specially trained nurses in the program visit the mothers-to-be in their homes to teach child development and parenting and until each mother’s child is age two.
The reason for creating a privately run satellite organization for NFP in New York City was program needs exceeded what government funding was able to support.
The effort has proved to be a great success. More than $600,000 has been raised since the organization was created. The money is used to pay for needs associated with post-secondary education or training for mothers.
“We’ve provided tuition grants, assistance with child care costs, computers and MetroCards and even funds for family emergencies,” Wasserstein said. “Friends helps NFP ease the way for first time mothers to provide a decent life for their child.”
Orkin added, “I am passionate about this program because we make a transformative difference in the lives of these mothers, who show grit and determination every day as they try to overcome the daunting challenges that face them. “Our donors can give them the leg up that they need and, in doing so, we provide the conditions for their babies to thrive and grow up to become more productive adults than they would otherwise have been.”
Now the two founders are stepping away from their leadership positions in management and on the board. Making the awards to the founders were the new executive director Karin Romans and the rest of the Board of Directors.