SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.(May 9, 2013) – On the one weekend a year when Americans honor and celebrate motherhood and their influence on society, one local bay area mother and nonprofit leader in the fight against homelessness and champion of prenatal care will be recognized for her work as one of CNN’s 2013 Heroes. Martha Ryan, founder and executive director of the Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP) in San Francisco earned this prestigious distinction serving more than 3,500 families a year offering low income families case management, prenatal and parenting support, housing assistance, domestic violence prevention and intervention, mental health services, child welfare support, job training and emergency support of basic needs. Her organization HPP has been serving mothers and children in the Bay Area for over twenty years.


Now in its 7th year, CNN Heroes is an initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others. CNN receives thousands of nominations each year from all over the world. All CNN Heroes are selected from viewer nominations submitted at CNNHeroes.com.


Martha Ryan, mother of two children Ryan and Emma, cites her own mother Katherine Ryan as her inspiration and personal hero. Katherine, now 93, is the mother of 13 children. “My mother was always a volunteer. During the Vietnam War we lived in Japan and she would help out by visiting the sick. It was one of the hardest things she ever did.” Ryan added, “Today my mom continues to work, leading our family business, a huge financial and volunteer supporter of HPP. Her example led the way, and her commitment to doing unto others, even with thirteen children to raise, inspires me to this day,” Ryan says.


A nurse practitioner, Ryan founded HPP to provide prenatal care to poor and homeless women who were not accessing healthcare services during their pregnancies, putting both their health and that of their babies at risk. Agency staff realized early on that the women who came to HPP experienced obstacles to personal and family stability that prenatal care alone could not address. Their pregnancies were invariably complicated by the challenges of poverty (family instability, limited education and job opportunities). Unless these obstacles could be overcome, the health and future of their families would always be at risk.


Over two decades HPP’s focus has shifted from that of an agency devoted exclusively to the provision of prenatal care, to that of a family resource center with a broader mission – to strengthen families in order to end childhood poverty. With a foundation of supportive, nonjudgmental case management, HPP’s holistic approach integrates a comprehensive array of programs and services to address the specific needs of each client. The first agency in San Francisco to hire former clients as direct service staff, HPP is unique in that its growth and evolution has been guided, from its earliest days, by the community it serves. Because many of them were once homeless mothers themselves, HPP’s Family Case Managers are well equipped as professionals to help clients channel their own inner strengths and resiliency.


 Today, HPP is supported by a staff of 80 and more than 200 volunteers. By seizing the motivational opportunity created by pregnancy and parenthood, HPP joins with families to help them recognize their strengths and trust in their capacity to transform their lives.


You can learn more about Ryan and HPP by going to CNNHeroes.com and www.homelessprenatal.org


Or watch on CNN at the following times:

**Times listed below reference the hour the video will air. Unfortunately, we are unable to specify the time within the hour.

**All times are given Pacific Standard Time




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CNN Media Contact: Shimrit Sheetrit

shimrit.sheetrit@turner.com; 310.788.6796


HPP Media Contact: Micah Bennett

415.545.6756 ext. 376; micahbennett@homelessprenatal.org