Roughly half of the youth served by the Santa Maria Community Services’ (SMCS) Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) are parents. Raphael (Rae) Moore, mom to R.J.-5, is one of those parents. She can attest that parenting is many things – hard work, fun, rewarding, and challenging. But she would also agree that parenthood is expensive!
Raphael joined Santa Maria’s CCMEP program in January 2020. She knew firsthand that many families in the Greater Cincinnati Area struggle to afford diapers for their children. That’s where Cincinnati’s only nonprofit diaper bank comes in.
Sweet Cheeks has been one of Santa Maria’s most valuable partners. In addition to assisting youth by providing diapers and other essential female sanitary materials, Sweet Cheeks is a worksite host to a Santa Maria CCMEP youth through the CCMEP Work Experience Program.
In June 2020, Santa Maria partnered with Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank to become a worksite for Santa Maria’s Work Experience Program giving youth the opportunity to gain experience in nonprofit work and community engagement. With help from founder, Megan Fischer and Program Manager, Jean Hodge, Santa Maria successfully placed Raphael at the worksite within the first several weeks of the partnership. Since then, Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank has invested in Raphael just as much as they do in their own employees, making sure that she feels supported and gets as much out of her time there as possible.
As Sweet Cheeks’ Community Engagement Associate, Raphael is tasked with leading volunteer groups, sorting and counting donations, and scheduling volunteer events. With Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank distributing 195,925 diapers, 45 potty-training toolkits, and 1,338 period supply kits in July alone, this is no small task! Jean says that Raphael has exceeded expectations in her role and continues to do a great job at her work site,
We are thrilled that Rae is working with us!…In her first week she assimilated very well into the mix of our team. She takes initiative to complete work that is assigned to her, asks questions when she needs more information and she is a joy to be around! We aim to give Rae the experience she is looking for to set her on a course for future career development.
Raphael echoes the positive feedback of the site, saying, “I love the collaboration and flexibility within the team at Sweet Cheeks. I am very grateful to work with them.” As someone who has received diapers from Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank in the past, Raphael says that it has been great seeing how much work goes into running the diaper bank and getting as many diapers out to families as possible.
Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank continues to be an irreplaceable resource for Santa Maria’s clients. Santa Maria’s Early Childhood Administrative Assistant, Gina Hornback, reports that for the SMCS August order, she counted approximately 170 clients served. Hornback continued, “They are a tremendous resource for our agency and clients!”
Raphael’s work experience is set to go until the end of December, and she is excited for everything she will have learned in her six months there. Having the opportunity to work with Sweet Cheeks fully achieves the goal of Santa Maria’s Work Experience Program, which is to provide youth with work experience in a motivating, rewarding, and challenging workplace. Santa Maria and Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank look forward to continuing their partnership in the future and fulfilling their commitment to service the Cincinnati community.