Inside Look: The Role of a Parent Educator

Mary Cossom is a Parent Educator with Project Hope at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services.

“The mission, vision, and core values of Marillac St. Vincent connect with me because I am somewhat a product of what MSV can do for someone.” Says Mary Cossom, a Parent Educator/Home Visitor and Co-Facilitator for Project Hope’s parenting class. "MSV enabled me, with resources and opportunities, to better parent my children when they were younger and that's what I do now with the clients I serve on a daily basis.”

Project Hope is MSV’s program for pregnant and parenting teens and young women who live on the West Side of Chicago. The goal of Project Hope is to empower teens and young women to work toward self-sufficiency, care for their child, and build a bright future for their family. This includes doula birthing services, referrals to schools, home visits, and more.

Mary works to sustain the goals of Project Hope every day in her role. She frequently visits with teen moms and their child or children, where she bring materials that help the mother and child build healthy bonds and attachment and encourages child development. These sessions and the regular activities mothers do on their own, also help them recognize potential child developmental delays. Mary co-facilitates Project Hope’s parenting class as well. In these classes, the mothers and MSV staff discuss life skills, parenting behaviors, child development, and any other topics that encourage strong families.

As a single mother with four children, Mary said “When they were young, my daughters joined MSV's Hope Jr. Program. They learned quite a bit and were given opportunities to do different things that I could not afford to give them. MSV also gave me insight on how to better parent my kids.” In her current role, Mary gives new mothers the same insight she received years ago. We very much appreciate Mary’s dedication to the mission of MSV and her hard work helping to empower those in need.

To learn more about Project Hope, click here.

If you would like to support Project Hope with an in-kind donation, common necessities include: Diapers, formula, new or gently used clothing for babies, car seats, strollers, books, educational toys, and breast pumps.

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