Junior Ava Montpetit founds non-profit designed for single mothers


Courtesy of Nurture Newborns

Nurture Newborns strives to assist expecting and young mothers through the early stages of parenthood.

Audrey Weber, Staff Writer

As available volunteer opportunities dwindle due to COVID and the demand for volunteers and community outreach increases, most BSM students in search of volunteer opportunities have been stuck in a challenging position. While many students have put volunteering on hold due to limited opportunities, junior Ava Montpetit has done just the opposite. 

Nationwide, millions of people have been hit hard by COVID, but one group in particular that has struggled to find its footing throughout the pandemic are the new and soon to be mothers right here in Minneapolis.Fueled by the pressing need right in her own backyard, Montpetit decided to start her very own campaign––Nurture Newborns. “Nurture Newborns is [designed] to combat the devastating effects of the pandemic through providing free newborn and toddler supplies to parents in need,” Montpetit said. 

Montpetit felt inclined and inspired to give back in a way that was achievable, yet impactful. “My love for children and desire to give back ultimately led me to create Nurture Newborns,” Montpetit said. 

With the goal of helping in-need mothers in mind, Montpetit decided to reach out to Emerge Mothers Academy––a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization focused on equipping single mothers to emerge as confident women and caring moms. Montpetit chatted with the founder of Emerge Mothers Academy, Rebecca Erickson, about her idea with the hope that Erickson’s organization could serve as a model for her initiative. “As the founder of an organization that serves single mothers with children, she thought Emerge could be a great nonprofit to help mentor me along my journey of creating NN,” Montpetit said. 

Montpetit is the founder of Nurture Newborns, but alongside her is a “teen team”––a group of 10 students from around the metro who help Montpetit fundraise. To be considered as a member for the teen team, teens around the metro had to submit an application deeming why they were the best fit for helping to achieve Nurture Newborn’s initiative. “I leaned towards the applicants who showed self-motivating and giving qualities,” Montpetit said. 

The teen team draws from five schools across the metro area––Minnetonka High School, Visitation, St. Thomas Academy, Woodbury High School, and Benilde-St. Margaret’s. For various reasons, high school students applied to be part of the teen team, but there is a common denominator among all applicants: a desire to help and give back to the community. “I really wanted to help people to become aware of the high costs of newborn essentials, and let them know that they can help babies get started on the right food through fundraiser organizations such as Nurture Newborns,” junior and member of the teen team Caroline Braun said.

Nurture Newborns is a great foundation because of its local origins within our own BSM community and because of the cause it is helping.

— Teddy Madden

It can be rare to come across student-led fundraisers, which was another draw for a particular member of the teen team in addition to its initiative. “Nurture Newborns is a great foundation because of its local origins within our own BSM community and because of the cause it is helping,” junior Teddy Madden said. 

The job of the teen team is to assist Montpetit through the fundraising process, mainly through expanding the network of connections; hopefully increasing the number of donors. “This year, we are in the process of raising $50,000 throughout April and May. This money will be divided among 50 recipients who each receive $1,000 worth of fundamental supplies, including cribs, diapers, car seats, clothes, and strollers,” Montpetit said. 

After the fundraising comes to a close, it’s time to evaluate where the money will be used best and make the biggest difference. “We have a one-on-one meeting with each of our recipients, who are chosen by an application process, to discuss how they desire to spend their $1,000 worth of supplies. We then order and hand deliver each of the care packages throughout the summer,” Montpetit said. 

Despite what one may think, every donation is one step closer to establishing a better life for a mother and baby. “Your donation could help fund a grant to uplift the livelihoods of young mothers and their new little lives. Each donation, of any amount, matters in getting babies off on the right foot,” Braun said. 

To find out more about Nurture Newborns and the initiative, or to make a donation, visit the Nurture Newborns website.

Disclaimer: Writer Audrey Weber is a member of the Nurture Newborns teen team.