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Madres Unidas (MomU)

Since 2012, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation’s Madres Unidas program, MomU, has been helping Hispanic mothers in southwest Detroit deal with the challenges of parenting and the challenges of life. Using input from mothers to design a meaningful curriculum, the program addresses local mothers’ most pressing issues, including parenting teens. 
Michigan Nightlight: In your view, what makes your program innovative, effective or remarkable? 
Gloria Rosas, Family Department Director and Fernanda Sanchez, Salud Program Manager; Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation: The Madres Unidas program curriculum was developed to meet the critical needs and issues of families in the community. We felt it important that the community have the major input so that we could provide help on the issues that directly affect them.
We felt it important that the community have the major input so that we could provide help on the issues that directly affect them.
This would lead to more acceptance and willingness to participate than if we just provided a standard boiler-plate curriculum based on what we thought the issues and needs were. The issues were identified by surveying families and having them tell us what the most pressing issues affecting their families are. The issues where they felt the most need for help and education were parenting, self-development, financial management, and their ability to understand methods to enable them to take full control of these issues.
What was the best lesson learned in the past year?
We scheduled too many workshops because the demand and need was so large. This placed extreme demands on our staff due to little time available to plan and prepare workshop material and teach the mothers what they needed to know. We have developed a more realistic schedule that both meets the needs of our clients and allows staff ample time to do what needs to be done to ensure a successful program outcome.
What was the hardest lesson learned in the past year?
The hardest lesson we learned in the past year was that our hands are tied in certain serious situations that affect our clients and their families. This gives us a sense of impotence in helping clients with their problems. We have reached out to other agencies, government, and legal representatives in an attempt to assist our clients with these issues. Even with that, there are still areas of concern over which we have no control or answers.
What really differentiates this program?
There are three areas which differentiate the Madres Unidas program. The first and most important is that the curriculum was developed based on client input about their needs and wants. The second is that classes are conducted in the community where clients are familiar and comfortable in the surroundings.
...the classes are conducted by our staff that live in the community, are known by our clients, and have earned the respect and trust from our clients.
Finally, the classes are conducted by our staff that live in the community, are known by our clients, and have earned the respect and trust from our clients.
What are the keys to success for your program?
The keys to the success of the Madres Unidas program are the training curriculum that was based on the clients’ expressed needs; having culturally sensitive and bi-lingual personnel conduct the trainings; and our staff who are very well known to our clients and have earned their trust and respect and have a rapport with the moms, schools, and the community in general. All of these make the clients more willing to participate on a regular basis and accept the information and training provided.
What do the mothers in this program want to learn the most? 
The pressing issue, based on our client feedback, is dealing with teenagers in topics such as sexuality, venereal diseases, how to deal with anger management in teens, and immigration and deportation issues. We have utilized our years of experience in our youth, family, parenting, and HIV counseling programs to develop answers to these issues and methods to deal with them which we pass on to the mothers in the program. 
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