Hi, Healthy Starters!

April showers have brought us May flowers, and with them, exciting updates in this month's Healthy Start newsletter!

In celebration of the recent International Nurses Day, we want to give a massive THANK YOU to all our incredible nurses. We are endlessly grateful for your hard work and dedication.

Mother's Day is a very special holiday to us, and we are thankful to the people at St. Mary's Episcopal Church for providing gift bags to show appreciation to those in our community who need it most!

Healthy Start is overjoyed to welcome four amazing members to our Home Visitation Team! Their passion and experience will drive our mission further. Plus, we have an open Certified Nurse-Midwife position - could it be you? Keep reading for all the details.

Join us for our Strong Like a Mother group, view the diaper schedule, and check out the plans for our upcoming MOM Mobile. Exciting times ahead!


Sam Suffich and your friends at MC Healthy Start

International Nurses Day

Healthy Start wanted to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to all the incredible nurses, in honor of the recent International Nurses Day on May 6! From our nurses at Nurse-Family Partnership, to our labor and delivery nurses at our local hospitals, to all the neonatal nurses and all in between, we cannot thank you enough.

Your dedication, compassion, and expertise bring comfort and hope to families during some of the most important moments of their lives.

By guiding expectant mothers through the stages of labor and providing essential care for newborns, you play a crucial role in ensuring the health and well-being of both moms and babies. Your tireless efforts and unwavering support do not go unnoticed.


Thank you for your kindness, your strength, and your unwavering commitment to excellence. You are true heroes, and we celebrate you! Happy International Nurses Day! 

Thank you, St. Mary's!

For yet another year, St. Mary's Episcopal Church has lovingly and thoughtfully prepared 71 Mother's Day gift bags for both expectant and new moms enrolled in the Healthy Start home visitation programs and Nurse-Family Partnership.

Being a mom is one of the hardest and most thankless jobs, and yet so incredibly fulfilling and wondrous. As mothers, we pour our entire being into our children every single day of the year, so to be recognized, even for just a day, is everything.


During the month in which we celebrate Mother’s Day, here's to all the moms out there. You are amazing, you are the best mother for your babies, and you are doing an AMAZING job.

We Are Urgently Hiring!

We are diligently searching for candidates to interview for our Certified Nurse-Midwife position. Please share to help us to staff our MOM (Maternity On The Move) Mobile, providing prenatal care all around Martin County! Click here for more information.

MOM Mobile: Coming Soon!

 Expecting a baby? We’re here for you – in your neighborhood!

Our MOM (Maternity on the Move) Mobile will offer a range of services, including:

  • Meet our Midwife
  • Receive prenatal care
  • Get connected with a doula
  • Learn about how to care for yourself and your baby

We will offer prenatal care in Indiantown, Hobe Sound, Golden Gate and East Stuart. Exact locations and times coming this summer. View our website to stay up to date.

Meet Our New Home Visitation Team

Christine Zelles

Christine Zelles joined Martin County Healthy Start in March of 2024. Christine is a dedicated Masters-level Social Worker (MSW) and Educator with a deep passion for parenting and empowering women and families.

Her love of healthy birthing, motherhood and healthy parenting come from her own journey. While connecting with other mothers in the community, she discovered a gap in resources and support, especially for working and single moms. She is committed to helping others live their “best mom-life.” 

Christine grew up in Canada but has been a Florida resident since high school. She is married and has a thriving 14-year-old son. Christine has extensive experience in community mental health, hospice and behavioral therapy. She received her master’s in social work from USC and has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Education from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Maria Valls

I was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. I am the youngest of three girls raised by a single mother. She was a teacher and my role model. I graduated from the University of Chile with a bachelor’s in fine arts. I met my husband in my country. He is from California and of Cuban descent. We fell in love, got married and we have two children. This year we will be married for 24 years. We love to travel and camp with our children. We love the beach and nature.

I moved to the USA in 2000. I struggled with the language, the culture, and the weather. I enrolled in ESOL classes and got my first job as a teacher's aide at an elementary school. Then I became pregnant with my daughter. It was a difficult time because I did not have a good support system in place, the language was a barrier, I did not know what to expect, and I felt alone. I dedicated the first year of my daughter's life to learning how to raise her. When she turned a year old, I started to work with Healthy Families as a Family Support Worker. I worked there for almost 14 years. I learned so many tools to work with my daughter and my clients. I was able to relate to their struggles as an immigrant, learning a new culture, and a new language, and not having an adequate support system. I fell in love with the programs that could help pregnant women and their children. It is not an easy job, but with the right support, you can thrive in motherhood and enjoy it. I wanted to get more tools to help my clients, so I decided to become a behavioral Health Case Manager. I am now a Florida board-certified behavioral health case manager. I have over 19 years’ experience and know the community and resources well.

When I was offered the opportunity to work in Healthy Start, I did not hesitate and now I have the privilege of being part of this wonderful program.

Karina Aguirre

Karina Aguirre is a Florida native from Jupiter with an amazing and supportive family. At a young age Karina knew she wanted to deliver babies. After doing tons of research, she found midwifery and fell in love with home birth. 

Jumping straight into the birth world, she started midwifery school at Heritage School of Midwifery and started an apprenticeship with the incredible midwives at Abundant Life Birth Center Treasure Coast. Karina stayed in the treasure coast area serving as a compassionate and dedicated midwife committed to providing personalized and holistic care to expectant mothers and their families. 

Karina has supported countless women through the journey of pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Known for her gentle demeanor and unwavering support, Karina creates a safe and nurturing environment where mothers feel empowered to make informed decisions about their care.

Now as a home visitor, Karina is excited about switching roles and serving the community in a different way with a deep understanding of the physiological and emotional aspects of childbirth, offering personalized guidance and support tailored to each woman's unique needs. She is committed to providing compassionate care that honors the sacred journey of bringing new life into the world.

Claudia Worley

Greetings! My name is Claudia Worley and I come from Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa, where I spent my childhood. I completed my secondary and post-secondary education in Freetown, after which I attended and graduated from Nursing and Midwifery school at The School of Nursing in Sierra Leone. Because of my love of the profession, I furthered my nursing education in the United Kingdom (UK), with a degree course in public health and prescribing nurse.

In the UK, I worked with the elderly and also as an ENT nurse. Upon completion of the public health course, I worked as a Health Visitor, visiting moms during the prenatal and postpartum period, up until the child turns five.

We immigrated to the United States from the UK in 2001 because my husband’s job moved us to Stuart, Florida. During the past 15 years, I completed my IBCLC training and worked as a Lactation Consultant at the Department Of Health in Martin County. I've always worked collaboratively with Healthy Start and Cleveland Clinic to help promote health and wellness in the community with an emphasis on breastfeeding. We also plan World Breastfeeding Month yearly.

I am married to my childhood sweetheart, Cecil, and we have two adult children, a son and a daughter. Our son Edwin got married last year, and he and his beautiful wife Caroline are expecting their first child. They live in Philadelphia. Our daughter Amanda lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Over the past fifteen years, I have worked for the VNA in home health, as a counselor at the PACE Center for Girls, as a counselor at the Hibiscus Children’s Center, and in the Health Department as a Health Educator and Lactation consultant.

I developed a passion for public health after I completed my field work during my Midwifery practicals. During the time spent with the mothers and babies, my passion for public health helped me make a difference in the lives of these mothers and babies which in turn was gratifying to me. This passion led me to pursue and complete a course in public health at East London University, making a huge impact in the lives of mothers and babies I worked with.

Working at WIC as a Lactation Consultant and Health Educator also allowed me to continue with my counseling skills and role as a Lactation consultant, thereby helping moms achieve their breastfeeding goals.

I have recently been accepted at the University of West Florida as a junior to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health. In my free time, I love to read, work out and do Zumba.

It is an honor to be part of the Healthy Start team, which I have worked closely with in making a difference in the lives of families in Martin County.

April Mom (and Partner) Group!

Join us Saturday, May 25th at 11AM for the mom AND partners group! For questions, please contact Anastasia Anderson at aanderson@mchealthystart.org or call 772-678-8360.

Please be sure to register here so we can save you a seat and a snack!

Remember, partners are welcomed and encouraged!

May Diaper Schedule

Horarios de pañales de mayo

Please respond directly to this email if you have any comments or questions. Thanks for reading!

Martin County Healthy Start Coalition | mchealthystart.org
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