Mandy E.

Mandi Edmonds and her husband Eugene didn’t think they could get pregnant, so their first and only child Kelvon was quite a shock. With their carwash business struggling and a tight income, Mandi knew she would need help.

“I was scared. I knew we weren’t prepared to do this the right way,” Mandi said. “I wanted my son to have everything he needed. That’s why I went to the Healthy Start program in Fernandina Beach.”

From day one, the staff at the Nassau County Health Department Healthy Start program saw Mandi take her role as a mother-to-be seriously. She never missed an appointment and formed strong bonds with the staff, including B.J. Owens, who she considers one of her closest friends.

“Healthy Start gave me everything. Clothes. Formula. A car seat. Christmas presents,” Mandi said. “But it was knowing that I always had someone to talk to, someone who cared about me and my baby that will always mean the most.”

After Kelvon was born, Mandi began to receive support from the Nassau County Health Department’s Healthy Families program. The program provides information on parenting and includes home visits. Through Healthy Start and Healthy Families, Mandi has acquired the skills to take care of herself, her son and her 80-year-old mother-in-law who lives with them. From learning how to breathe during the birth, how to breastfeed, and now, how to teach and nurture Kelvon through the developmental stages, Mandi has learned to be the mom she always wanted to be.

“My son is the most important thing in my life. I will always appreciate how I got here and who came through for me when I needed help,” Mandi said.