- Posted by: RoiAnn Phillips
This year, HealthConnect One celebrates thirty years of innovation and collaboration to support moms, babies and families across the United States in communities of color and low-income communities. We asked our Executive Director Rachel Abramson, who was part of the founding collaborative, to talk with her mom about HealthConnect One’s growth over the past three decades.
Thank you, Alice, and thank you, Rachel.
Happy Mother’s Day!
How did you feel about me being one of the founders of this organization?
Your father and I were confident that after you had the experience of having somewhat non-traditional jobs in the Kosher Kitchen and as a carpenter’s helper, you would find your way to a work situation that reflected your deep commitment to social justice. When you described your plan to lead Chicago Health Connection (now HealthConnect One) to foster breastfeeding among low income young mothers, I was pleased and relieved that you had found a niche that felt comfortable/right for you.
The early stages of the organization were at a time when you had young children, which created the inevitable tension between work and home. When we were together for holidays, birthdays, etc. I could see that your relationship with your children was laced with love and pride and that your work was very meaningful to you.
How did you feel as you saw the agency evolve and reach milestones?
I was aware that you started with a small staff, and your relationships of trust and confidence seemed to mean a great deal to you. When you started talking about appointments with Illinois Senators Durbin and Obama, I realized that your program had advanced in terms of quality and uniqueness and you began to be awarded government and non-profit grants.
Your pride in your program and accomplishments was always modest, but my pride blossomed as I became aware of the impact you were having on the young mothers who were often without support but for your program. I felt that you had achieved goals that were intimately connected with your passion for social justice.
What do you understand about the work now that you didn’t then?
I always knew that you were in charge of doing work that was unique and ideally suited to the young mothers. As you incorporated research results, others could adapt your model with confidence.
From the beginning, I was convinced that you had found a niche that was ideally suited to your compassion and intellect. As the program grew, I could sense that you were accepting and appreciating what you and your staff had accomplished.
Your respect and appreciation for your staff was always front and center.
Why is the work that I do important to you?
I’ve told you of my passion for social justice that grew out of my experience as a child of poverty. As a mother, you can appreciate the enormous pride I have in all that you have accomplished.
~ Alice Abramson