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Johnson Volunteers For March of Dimes

Jessica Pina, Staff Writer
May 8, 2012
Filed under Campus

Walking down a long pathway she sees many images of premature and helpless babies which are displayed around the march; she can’t help but notice the infants that have passed away. Suddenly, the thought of helping these children pushes her to continue her march.

Every year, teacher Latonya Johnson participates in the annual five- mile March of Dimes Walk, a march to promote healthy babies, in April. Through Johnson’s sorority, the Phi Psi Zeta Charitable Foundation Stork Nest Program (PPZCF) and many others, March of Dimes (MOD) informs low-income mothers of the significance of treating their body right while they are carrying their child.

“When you’re doing the Baby Walk it’s very emotional because you see pictures of babies who have died because of the choices that their mothers made by not doing prenatal care, or by not following through with the 39 weeks,” Johnson said.

Over $500 was raised to help educate and provide necessities for mothers. 

“Being a part of this cause it important to me because my sister was a teen mother, and one of my close friends had her daughter premature,” she said. “Knowing better is the only way to expect people to do better.”

The money raised is used to provide educational information and items such as pampers, car seats and clothes that the government does not provide for them, Johnson said.

“The PPCF partnered with March of Dimes give parents the education that will help them go about taking care of themselves and their baby before and after they have the child,” she said.

Johnson said the mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. 

“The March of Dimes provides mothers, pregnant women and women of childbearing age with educational resources on baby health, pregnancy, preconception and new motherhood,” she said. “(They) also supply information and support to families affected by prematurity, birth defects, or other infant health problems.”

The purpose of the PPCF Stork nest program is to help prevent premature births through education.

“It’s important to know about pregnancy,” Johnson said. “If you are pregnant, you need to go 39 weeks, you cannot go less than that, because it is not healthy for the baby, and many young mothers do not know that.”

To inform teen mothers, the school sponsors a program to teach teen moms how to have the healthiest baby possible.

“March of Dimes benefits the school,” Johnson said. “I volunteer by giving up an hour of my conference a month to teach teen moms. In return, my sorority writes a grant for the school. We then provide prenatal classes which talks about information they need to help their baby.”

Senior Chelsie Merritt found the class informative and useful.

“Pregnant teens can go to meetings during seventh period sometimes to watch videos about giving birth and stuff that will help you with your pregnancy,” Merritt said. “It is very helpful because the videos show you what to expect when you’re going into labor or having signs of labor.”

Many young mothers do not get to have the chance to learn about the importance of properly carrying their baby for the full term or do not have enough money to.

“It is very emotional because some mothers do not know any better,” Johnson said. “When you’re 14 and get pregnant, and your mom is not there or you financially cannot afford to feed yourself but you have to feed your kid that can be really hard.”