Amplify Madison Academy – Jennifer Torres Barrera

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Jennifer Torres Barrera (She, Her, Hers/Ella)

I have been in Madison for about 4 years and am still adjusting to Madison as home. In my professional life, I am a Lead Family Support Specialist for the Early Childhood Initiative in Dane County. I am so excited to build on my professional career with Doula, Lactation Counselor, and other crucial skills in birth work.

My own experiences with labor, motherhood, and postpartum mood disorders have compelled me to do more. My family loves to spend time on water and eat all types of delicious foods.

Get to know Jennifer better

What are some of the things you enjoy the most in life? What keeps you inspired, re-charged, and brings you joy?

Spending time with my family, sharing a meal with friends, and listening to live music are needs to keep me filled with positivity and energy.

When you look back over your whole life – What experiences have shaped you as a woman? and how?

My family was so fortunate to have great support from a social worker when I was a child. From an early age, I knew that hard work and grit weren’t enough to get ahead. That’s why I identify so closely to the work I do. Taking care of others and lifting up families is my calling- and with personal growth and so much reflecting, I now know that caring for others isn’t “doing” for others. I continue to learn and to grow into the person I am.

What are some of your practices of resilience? Who did you learn this from? and how are these helpful in times of challenge?

Resilience is a word that I was not aware of until recently. I don’t know that there’s a word that translates in Spanish. I just knew that I didn’t have an option but to keep going. My dad frequently said, “Everything has a solution except death.” To this day, I hold steady to his advice. 

When you think of your life journey unfolding, who do you see yourself becoming?

I don’t know where I am heading. I am finding my way through trial and error. I seek new knowledge and experiences and find ways to include it in my work and in my own life. Sometimes things work, others they don’t. I really just hope that I find my value and my path, growing along.

What is your vision for Madison?

I hope for Madison to become a real community. I have struggled in Madison to find my “people” and build new relationships. I would like to see Madison work together to build families up; evening the field for all players to have opportunities. We do that by taking a step back and holding space for others.

How do you see you can contribute to creating the city you visualize?

We can all contribute by holding and protecting safe spaces for families to nurture their relationships and grow organically. Maybe by prioritizing safety in birth work, we can allow space for the other wonderful pieces that come with “family” and community.

Please share about your Amplify Madison journey – What did you worked on? What did you personally learn and how is it impacting who you are becoming?

My Amplify Madison journey was a whirlwind. I feel like everything happened so quickly and we were working on our plan as we went along. Our original plan for our Amplify Madison project was big and beautiful and involved so much community and personal interaction.

The COVID Pandemic was an overwhelmingly dark cloud over that vision. In response to these limitations, our group pivoted to creatively incorporate the skills and knowledge we gained through our trainings to whatever avenues we had access to. We found ways to practice our doula skills for certification and we weaved new knowledge into our work as home visitors.

I developed a new excitement about what home-visiting, parenting support, birthing and postpartum support and maternal and infant mental health can look like; bonded and woven together into something new. This excitement has driven me to find ways to create something both familiar and new. 

What are you currently offering in the community and how can people connect with you and your work?

Nips and Babes is pausing. The initial creation process felt so chaotic we were reminded about the power of the Pause. We are doing our research and finding ways to partner with community and agencies to nurture our growth and vision. Look out for us in the near future!

Email Jennifer for more information at: