Make Your Mama Proud: Non-profit's campaign helps at risk mothers-to-be

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Photographer Keri Vaca of Small Miracles Photo makes it her mission to photograph pregnant women who face adversity.

The women she photographs are at risk and have sought help from a San Francisco-based nonprofit called the Homeless Prenatal Program. The women may be homeless, suffering from substance abuse, or domestic abuse.

HPP has three main goals: The non-profit wants to help ensure parents give birth to healthy babies; become safe, nurturing families; and have the resources to move toward permanent homes and self-sufficiency.

Vaca got involved with HPP when her daughter was in a class with the founder of HPP, Martha Ryan's, son. She learned about HPP and asked if she could offer to photograph mothers to be.

For the last 7.5 years, once a month, Vaca will spread joy by photographing the women who are part of HPP's prenatal class that meets each week.

Vaca says she wants to reward them for going to the class so she'll bring clothes for them to wear if they want.

At the shoot she talks to them about their pregnancy and how they're feeling. Sometimes, the women open up, and tell her their fears about living in poverty, without a job, with a baby on the way.

A month after the shoot the women receive prints of the photos and a framed 4 x 6 photo wrapped up as a present.

Vaca really wants the women to feel special from start to finish. She says oftentimes she doesn't see their reaction to the photos, but she's told many of the women cry, saying they didn't realize how good they looked.

This Mother's Day, HPP has a campaign called Make Your Mama Proud featuring Vaca's photos. You can make a gift to the non-profit in any amount. They will then send a postcard featuring Vaca's work to your mom. See a sample of the card and learn how to order here.