It’s been two decades since Cheryl Wright Mayhew discovered a new program to help her during her pregnancy. Cheryl was in her early twenties when she walked through the doors of Healthy Start on the west side of Jacksonville, one of the first clients to participate in the new program focused on healthy pregnancies and babies. Pregnant with her second child, and alone, Cheryl didn’t know it then, but she had just taken the first step toward a brighter future.
“With Healthy Start, I started to see a doctor to check out my baby’s progress, taking measurements. Just making sure we were both okay.”
Cheryl also took advantage the WIC program (Women Infants and Children), which provided her with milk and dairy during her pregnancy and then coupons for formula after her child was born. And she took a class to get a free car seat.
Cheryl realized she needed help, reached out for it and did what she had to do. She is still grateful for the people and the program that meant so much for her and her baby.
“I will never forget Mrs. Fern, who was always there for me. Later, we became colleagues and friends when I came to work at Healthy Start myself.”
The young mother was in the Army Reserves and was called to active duty to serve in Desert Storm when her baby was about six months old. She was comforted as she left her young daughter knowing that she had given her a healthy start.
Today, Cheryl is the Dietary Director at a retirement home and still lives on the Westside with four children. Kevon and Cheryl, her two oldest, are finishing their college degrees. She also has an eight and ten year old.
Her daughter Cheryl, once a Healthy Start baby, is now a staff member at the Coalition’s federal Healthy Start program, the Magnolia Project.
“Healthy start gave me great resources and motivation for me at a time in my life when I needed support,” Cheryl said.