What is your group/volunteer experience like?
Our group reaches caregivers throughout a large metro area and has grown so much since it's inception. We work very hard to ensure that our meeting attendees feel welcome and supported. I am so proud of how far we have come. I love seeing the joy on a caregivers face when a carry "clicks" or they master a new skill.
What advice would you give to a brand new volunteer?
Remember what it was like when you were a new parent, and keep that in mind as you work with caregivers. You were probably tired, overwhelmed, and wondering if you were "doing this parenting thing right". Be gentle, focus on safety, and don't feel as if you need to teach everything about every carrier all at once. Try to help new parents find one solution that will work for them right now or for the long term.
What advice would you give to a brand new mom?
Be gentle with yourself, you are doing the most important and sometimes most difficult job there is. Take time to nurture yourself. Try your best not to compare your parenting journey or your baby with others.
What is your biggest triumph or accomplishment as a volunteer?
Seeing how my local group has grown in the last few years has been immensely gratifying. I also so very proud of the volunteer educators that we have trained in our group. Every one of them is a truly excellent, empathetic, and skilled educator, and an asset to our community.
How do you make volunteering "fit" into your life?
Babywearing and subsequently, volunteering as an educator, has been a part of my life since the beginning of my parenting journey. As such, my children are at home at our meetings and have met many of their closest friends there, as have I. I have met many of my closest friends through volunteering the babywearing community. Now that my older children are at school, I teach at meetings during the school day and bring my youngest, who is forming his own babywearing friendships. I try to fit in work for the BWI Board of Directors wherever I can, often after my children have gone to bed.