After own struggle, Maryland mom works to connect low-income mothers with community resources
Jerré Smith had plans for the birth of her daughter, which included mommy-and-me classes.
She was excited for hands-on learning about infant CPR and breastfeeding. Plus, she was looking forward to camaraderie among other expectant mothers.
But Smith wasn’t able to join.
The 28-year-old Maryland mother found the classes came at a hefty price — almost $400, she said.
“I couldn’t get any of those things,” Smith told, Hey, Black Mom! “I wanted this birthing plan, and I couldn’t afford any of it.
“I was devastated.”
Struggling financially while pregnant, she realized how many resources were out of her reach. In time, she saw other low-income mothers in Maryland’s Prince George’s County faced with the same difficulties in accessing resources.
Smith, who now has a 3-year-old daughter, decided to do something to address the issue.
In 2019, she started Strong Attitudes Supporting Sistahs, or SASS, an organization dedicated to connecting low-income mothers over the age of 18 with resources in their communities.
From providing lactation specialists, doula workshops, career guidance and more, Smith hopes through SASS she can help improve the lives of mothers in need.
“I’m proof,” she said about her organization’s mission. “When I needed something, I couldn’t find it. When I did find it, it was hundreds of dollars — that’s with insurance.”
Smith’s first offering is the Vent with SASS program, a virtual space for moms to vent about the joys, struggles and challenges of motherhood. Interested mamas can register at www.sassinc.org.
The inaugural Vent with SASS was on Juneteenth, and the turnout exceeded Smith’s expectations.
So far, she’s received positive feedback about SASS. Though its primary goal is to introduce mothers to community resources, she hopes it can help them make meaningful connections with each other, too.
“I’ve got big dreams and visions for SASS. I can go on and on (about) all the things I hope to accomplish,” she said. “I’ve been getting a lot of reassurance that SASS is a much-needed resource.”