Think Babies Michigan Parent Leader Spotlight – Jaimie Estep

Jaimie EstepHaving the courage to change your own life isn’t easy for anyone. Finding courage to change your family’s life can be even harder, and advocating for change for other people’s lives can be an even bigger challenge. But Jaimie Estep is up for the challenge. She embraces her truth and carries it into the world to create positive change.

Jaimie’s journey to parent leadership began with her own struggle through the illness of addiction. Confronting numerous challenges, she fought to reconnect with her first child while pregnant with her second. Embracing Child Protective Services (CPS) as a vital resource, Jaimie spoke highly of their support. “I love CPS,” she said. “They have provided so many resources and so much help. I’ve had them in my life for years with other agencies, and they’ve been so helpful.”

Now a Think Babies Michigan Leader, Jaimie has also partnered with Zero to Five and her local Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). She takes pride in the knowledge she has gained since the birth of her second daughter. Reflecting on her growth, Jaimie remarked, “I wasn’t a mom when my first child was born. It was like starting all over.” Her eagerness to learn and advocate for her family, her recovery, and her baby has fostered deep community relationships. Jaimie actively supports other parents locally while learning from statewide experts, sharing her knowledge and passion broadly.

When asked for advice for new parents, especially those in recovery, Jaimie emphasized the importance of learning and participation. “Worry a little less about the pile of laundry on the couch when a CPS worker comes to visit and focus more on asking questions and learning what’s available,” she advised.

During her tenure as a Parent Advisor for her daughter’s GSRP, Jaimie was invited to provide input on program materials. “The brochures they had depicted perfect-looking families, and I didn’t know families who looked like that,” she observed. She suggested using images of children from their coalition, a change that was implemented. Jaimie’s honesty and directness, coupled with her knowledge, have not only transformed her own family’s reality, but have also influenced her local preschool and the wider community.

Jaimie continues to learn about legislative advocacy work in early childhood education in Michigan. She is pleased with recent changes aimed at providing more childcare options, but hopes to see further developments, particularly in after-hours care. “There’s so many opportunities out there, so much more advocating to do,” she acknowledged.

Interested in joining Think Babies Michigan as a parent leader? Learn more.