After more than 28 years in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Scripps Memorial Hospital Chula Vista, Marilyn Wiedemann has seen her share of babies born either to moms who are drug dependant or premature due to lack of prenatal care. She felt she had a responsibility to mentor the mothers but did not quite know how to approach it. Until one day she met Dr. Johnny Carter at the hospital. After conversing about the different situations she sees at the Neonatal ICU, they both realized that they had a similar vision and desire to help these newborns by getting to the root of the problem.
What Dr. Carter and Wiedemann established would later change the lives of hundreds in the community. The Youth Advocacy/Innocent Addicts Program (YAIAP) is a program of support and counseling for parents and children at risk. It is a private non-profit organization dedicated to educating, counseling and supporting the development of young people, their families and communities.
“We focus on rescuing young expecting mothers and other children who have fallen victim to drug addiction,” says Wiedemann.
Services practiced by YAIAP include individual, family and group counseling in areas such as substance abuse, marriage and relationship strengthening, mentorship and out-patient youth drug and alcohol recovery program.
“In creating this organization and getting out in the community and working with young girls I have learned to see the other side of the coin and understand more where these youths are coming from and what I can do to help,” says Wiedemann. In turn, this counseling and education helps decrease the number of infants born unhealthy. “Scripps Memorial Hospital Chula Vista gave me the opportunity to realize that I can make a difference. Their support helps me get the education message out in more ways.”