Philadelphia health care worker helps 'Moms Like Me' in the community

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
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"It's designed to support and empower working-class mothers and their families," said Tawandaa Austin who started the organization called "Moms Like Me."

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A community health worker in West Philadelphia is going beyond her 9-5 shift to make sure every mother she meets has the resources she needs to be successful.

On any given day, Tawandaa Austin from Penn Medicine could be a shoulder to cry on, a gym buddy, or a patient advocate.

She found her job about six years ago as she was pulling her family out of a dark time.

"I lost everything, and I mean everything," said Austin. "I was torn. I was crushed because at the end of the day, this was my reality, and I had to support my children."

She never wanted any mom to feel the way she did so also started her own organization called "Moms Like Me."

"It's designed to support and empower working-class mothers and their families," she said.

The organization's success is evident in the hundreds of moms she's helped.

"I was her first client," laughed Markia Carson, a lifelong friend of Austin who's more like a sister.

Austin was there for Markia through a battle with cancer.

"She embraced me. She hugged me. She cried with me. And ever since that day I got that phone call, she never left my side," she said.

Now, through the nonprofit, Austin helps moms with expenses like gas, food, and bills.

This weekend, Austin is throwing the mothers a pool party. It's part of a series of retreats she does every month to improve the moms' mental health. Little did she know -- the events would help her too.

"You get caught up in the day-to-day and you need that outlet to fellowship with other moms," said Rachel Hayes.

The group has given Austin a network of lifelong friends.