Community service and outreach is a key part of Mocha Moms, Inc. Each local chapter of Mocha Moms, Inc. is required to perform two community service projects each year, one of which must focus on the National Community Service Initiative. This is easily accomplished because most members are eager to use their energy doing something positive for their communities.
In 2009, our community service initiative is entitled, "Closing the Gap in Minority Health, Prosperity and Achievement." This initiative, which originally focused on education, has been, for the past two years, a much more significant and far reaching initiative. The initiative hits close to home for all of us for with it we can have an impact within our own homes, in our communities and throughout the nation. With nearly 100 chapters throughout the country, our initiative has made a significant impact on the lives of thousands of children throughout the entire country. Last year alone, our chapters set up 50 reading nooks in barbershops and beauty shops through our partnership with Boys Booked on Barbershops. Our work was even featured last November in a “Making a Difference” segment on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
The following is our list of partner organizations under our Closing the Gap Initiative:
- Black Women’s Health Imperative. Founded in 1983, this organization’s mission is to empower African American women so that we can become educated health care consumers and be strong voices for the improvement of our health status. Their website, www.blackwomenshealth.com, offers a wealth of information that African American women need to maintain the health and well-being of themselves and their families.
- Boys Booked on Barbershops. Chapters select a barbershop or beauty shop in their area and set up a reading nook with age appropriate books, mostly written by and about African Americans. The goal is to facilitate the ongoing practice of reading as boys (and girls) make their regular visits to barbershops (and beauty shops), places where many of us spend a lot of time.
- Department of Education. The Department of Education promotes student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Mocha Moms, Inc. partners with the Department of Education to improve parent engagement, and to share resources for academic improvement. www.ed.gov.
- Donate Life. You have the power to donate life and we want our chapters to help spread the word to increase donations! More than 110,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants to save their lives. Thousands more are in need of tissue and corneal transplants to restore their mobility and sight. www.donatelife.net.
- Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA protects human health and the environment. Protecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility. Chapters have endless opportunities to share information or build campaigns. www.epa.gov.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Mocha Moms, Inc. has partnered with NAMI to educate, advocate, promote awareness and listen to our moms who might be suffering from a mental illness. Chapters can encourage members to be #Stigmafree, volunteer in a NAMI walk, host events to educate members and community on mental illness in our journey of motherhood, support any member that may suffer from mental illness symptoms, and provide resources for support. www.nami.org.
- National Marrow Donor Program (National Cord Blood Donor Program). In the past, Mocha Moms, Inc. chapters were identified and contacted in the cities where the NMDP (www.bethematch.org) has a cord blood bank. We are hoping to continue this very worthwhile partnership utilizing the following opportunities:
- Local cord blood bank participation during local chapter meetings as guest speakers on cord blood donation education
- Collaborating with local chapter members to determine methods to assist in increasing cord blood donation
- Cord Blood Center conducting focus groups with Mocha Moms, Inc. chapter members to discuss topics related to cord blood donation (e.g. pre-natal clinic education)
- Launching community service campaigns related to cord blood donation
- Inclusion of articles for Mocha Moms, Inc. e-newsletters on public cord blood donation.
- Shot@Life. We can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. Mochas are called to action for this global cause by planning and hosting Shot@Life fundraising parties. www.shotatlife.org.
Over the past two years, our participation in Boys Booked on Barbershops/Girls Booked on Beauty Shops has been tremendously successful. Boys Booked on Barbershops is a cutting edge, national literacy program designed to make the most of naturally occurring opportunities for children to read in the context of their cultures and communities in familiar neighborhood sites such as barbershops. Through the organization, reading nooks have already been set up in many barbershops and beauty shops throughout the country. Kids read, parents read to kids, kids read to parents, barbers read to kids...everyone benefits.
All Mocha Moms, Inc. chapters are required to sponsor or participate in an event that will help Close the Gap in Minority Health, Prosperity and Achievement. Examples include:
- Formation of a parent/child or mother/daughter or son book club
- Hosting literacy nights for parents
- Establishing a “Boys Booked on Barbershops” reading nook in their community.
- Tutoring/mentoring students at a local school or through a specific program
- Participating in community service at a local library
- Creating their own signature Closing the Gap community service program
- Sponsoring and/or Attending Health and Wellness symposiums
- Sponsoring a financial planning workshop
If you have any questions about these partnerships or are interested in partnering with Mocha Moms, Inc., please contact us.