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~ by Cindy Ogrin, Development Director, HealthConnect One
HealthConnect One is celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year. In 1986, a powerful group of women had the idea that breastfeeding promotion could have a real impact on the soaring rates of infant mortality in Chicago. They transformed their commitment into an organization supporting mothers, babies, families and communities nationwide. The organization that started around a kitchen table 25 years ago with one small idea has grown into a powerful movement. Over the course of time, and a LOT of listening, HealthConnect One developed respectful programs to help harness the power of birth in communities just like those in Chicago. Supporting one mother, from pregnancy through early parenting, HC One saw the power of attachment, the power of resilience, the power of support, and the power of change.
How do you honor 25 long years of work? 25 years of developing community-based doula and breastfeeding peer counselor programs? 25 years of holding mothers’ hands during birth? 25 years of training? 25 years of talking with legislators about the power of this model? How do you honor the doulas? The community health workers? The staff members? The check-writers? The listeners? The supporters? How do you ensure the next 25 years?
Our answer was simply this: A Doula Dance Party!
What began as a fundraiser immediately evolved into an amazing celebration of love, life, connection and inspiration! We raised $30,000 in one evening, and gathered 200+ of our closest and newest HC One family members, quickly raising the cocktail party stakes to a celebration event that will help sustain us 25 more years.
Every day, we see or hear of new families that would have benefited from the support of a community-based doula or breastfeeding peer counselor. The demand for our work is growing and every single dollar raised from the event will support that demand.
Yet, I think what will carry us through the next 25 years will be the laughing, the dancing, the hugging, and the fun that we all had during our first (and far from last!) Doula Dance Party.
Were you there? Check out our Facebook Photo Album.
Photos by Flint Chaney, 2012