The 2016 Dorothy Wilson Mabry Award in Recognition of Outstanding Accomplishments by a Healthy Start Participant or Grass-Roots Community Leader was presented at the February Board of Directors meeting to Denise Mills, a former Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) participant and current peer breastfeeding counselor for the Coalition.
Denise joined NFP as a first-time mom in February 2012 and was part of the first graduating class, along with her son Calvin. After learning about the benefits of breastfeeding from her nurse home visitor, she breastfed her son Calvin for a full year and began advocating for her friends to breastfeed.
After graduating from the program, she was eager to stay involved with NFP. She was an advocate for the programs and services of the Coalition as part of the 2014 Rounds at the Grounds celebrity softball event.
Soon after, she joined the Coalition to provide peer breastfeeding support to fellow moms through a grant with the National Association of City and County Health Officials. She also runs a support group for current and former NFP participants, allowing them to get to know each other and organize play dates. Denise’s son Calvin is now a happy, healthy three-year-old and Denise and Calvin Sr. are planning a summer wedding.
The award honors the legacy of Dorothy Wilson Mabry, a community volunteer and advocate, who devoted her life to supporting the empowerment and achievement of young women and vulnerable families. The Wilson Family provided a generous donation in honor of their mother which supports a stipend for the award recipient.