Meet the Doulas & Staff


MPDP STAFF
Erica, Michelle, Rae, Cara, Hope, Evelyn, Brittney, Gloria, Clara, Amber & Sonja




ERICA 
Doula & Program Director

I became a doula as part of a journey to change the outcomes of at-risk children. I believe that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves and it is our purpose in life to reach out to those who need our help, support, and kindness. It has been my experience that pregnancy and birth open a window of opportunity for significant life change. I believe that all women deserve the compassion of another woman at the time of their birth and I believe all children deserve to be welcomed into this life in an atmosphere of love and hope.

I am a mother of two young boys, a wife, a social worker, and an eternal optimist who believes that there is good in all people and that everyday is a new day to change our lives for the better. During the last ten years of community-based social work I have come to understand that life is complicated and that there are many shades of gray. My work at the prison has challenged my ideas of right and wrong and made a permanent impact on my life. In my free time I love cooking, gardening, and exploring the world with my family.


REBECCA
Research Director 

Rebecca received her BS and MS in human development and family studies
from the University of Wisconsin. She received a PhD in child
psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University
of Minnesota. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the
Prevention Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Rebecca is
responsible for the data collection and program
evaluation of the Minnesota Prison Doula Project.
Most of Rebecca's research focuses on understanding the
developmental outcomes of children and families with multiple risk
factors. She is particularly interested in children with parents in
prison, as well as the programs and policies that impact families
affected by incarceration. In addition to her academic work, Rebecca
also volunteer as a guardian ad litem in juvenile court.



RAELENE
Doula & Program Coordinator

I have been a birth doula since 2004 and have been a part of this project since the beginning. I believe that every woman who desires the support of a doula deserves to have one. I also believe that by supporting incarcerated women it will help them become more connected mothers to their children and will in turn better our community as a whole. 

Every baby deserves the best start to life, to be welcomed into the world 
surrounded by love and every mother deserves to birth feeling safe and fully supported.

For me, working with incarcerated mothers has been incredibly rewarding. 
I feel honored to be invited into their lives to help make a positive difference by
supporting their pregnancy and birthing experience.


EVELYN
Doula 

I have been a doula for about 9 or 10 years now. I got certified a little over 3 years ago. I have attended over 200 births. Some high risk, water births, natural births, C-sections, and unfortunately a few IUFDs. I am currently a nursing student at NHCC and have 2 wonderful children. Vianna who is almost 9 and Jonathan 6 years old. I speak fluent Spanish and English. I was born in Guatemala. My grandma was a lay midwife and I believe she passed on that gene to me! I love what I do, and I am blessed to be part of such array of multicultural women. It is so delightful to support each one of them in their own way of birthing!
Why I wanted to be involved in prison birth work?
I believe that education is power. Minnesota Prison Doula Project gives me the opportunity not only to educate women but also to learn from their experiences. I believe that we can change the world one person at a time. I find happiness by giving back to our community, especially by helping these women be able to re-integrate in our society as empowered mothers and women full of hope.



GLORIA
Doula

My name is Gloria, I am a certified birth doula though DONA, Doulas of North America. I also hold a Bachelors Degree in Legal Studies from Hamline University. I am the mother of six children, two of which are adopted. I made the decision to collaborate and provide my services as a doula to incarcerated women, because I believe that motherhood should be respected under all circumstances... and should be treated with dignity and respect, it’s all about the new life. Many of these women not only need help with self-esteem, they need emotional and physical support for a healthy birth. It is a great pleasure for me to be able to help these mothers during labor. Altruism and bonding are the fundamental basis in my life as a woman, wife mother, and grandmother. I believe that each one of us women deserve the opportunity to live with dignity and respect. All of this converts into a great blessing crossing bridges of unity, kindness and respect for all women.



HOPE
Doula

Birth is a time of transition and change for every woman. This experience can be empowering when a woman is supported by someone who cares for her and serves her during this incredible rite of passage. I feel strongly that all women deserve this kind of support-- this includes incarcerated women. I feel honored to join these women and support them as they become mothers, whether for the first time, or once again. I have been supporting women from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds for over four years, and becoming a doula has been the latest part of that journey for me.



CARA
Doula

I have been a birth doula since 2009, after the birth of my second son. I am drawn to assisting women and partners to navigate the birth process and make it their own best experience. It's always an honor to be welcomed into the space where a new life joins us. Prior to working as a birth doula, I worked for the United States District Court in the District of Minnesota in various capacities. I hold a BA in French from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a paralegal certificate from Milwaukee Area Technical College.
I've had a lifelong interest each in the justice system, law, healthcare, and childbirth. As a MPDP doula, I am able to pursue each of those passions simultaneously. Working with my prison clients has been educational, humbling, and inspiring.



MICHELLE
Class Facilitator & Doula

Michelle has her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has history of working with at-risk populations including being an at-home therapist for foster children and their foster families, a supervisor and parent educator for parents who have lost custody of their children, an adoption program manager for adolescent wards of the state, and an individual and group counselor in a county jail. Along with her passion for helping families, Michelle is also passionate about empowering women through their pregnancy and birth experience and has been a birth doula since 2010.
Michelle, her husband, and three children recently moved back to Minnesota after being away for nearly six years. She has known about the prison doula project since its inception and is excited and honored to finally be a part of it. She looks forward to continuing the project’s mission to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the context of incarceration.


AMBER
Doula
{Picture and Bio coming soon}


BRITTNEY
Doula & Northwest Regional Leader
{Picture and Bio coming soon}


CLARA
Doula
{Picture and Bio coming soon}


SONJA
Doula
{Picture and Bio coming soon}



CRYSTAL
Class Facilitator

In 2011, after eight years as a book editor focusing on women's health titles, I moved from New York, where I grew up, to Minnesota to become a nurse. I currently work as a public health nurse with pregnant and parenting teens in Minneapolis through the evidence-based Nurse Family Partnership program. I love this work because it allows me to have the one-on-one supportive relationships with women that I was seeking. I strongly believe that the first three years of a child's life build the foundation for his/her health and wellness forever afterward, and that we can have enormous influence by bringing love and compassion to young families. I am a trained doula and I serve on the board of the Twin Cities Doula Project, which provides doula care for women who cannot otherwise access a doula in the metro area. I also work with the Minnesota Prison Doula Project as a co-facilitator.

I live in Dinkytown with my husband, singer-songwriter Matt Hannah. I enjoy reading (in particular gothic novels), playing music, and exploring the beautiful wild areas of Minnesota whenever the temperature is above zero!






**Professional photographs taken by Kristin McCarthy Photography
(Kristin is a photographer in the Twin Cities,
she does maternity, birth, newborn and family sessions-specializing in lifestyle photography)

1 comment:

  1. I am very interested in becoming apart of your team! I am a doula and a first year MSW student in the Twin Cities. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete