Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week Consistently
Lawrence KS USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 3, May-June 2006, pp. 134-135.
The World Breastfeeding Week Celebration in the USA (WBWC) is one of flexibility and variety!
There is not one right way to celebrate the week: the possibilities are limitless. With such opportunities, some US LLL Groups plan large events that both raise funds and awareness of LLL and the importance of breastfeeding in their communities. Conversely, other LLL Groups hold smaller events to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, yet celebrate they do!
The goals of the celebration in the US are to raise funds for LLL at every level -- Group, Area, Division, and International -- plus raise awareness for our organization and the importance of breastfeeding. Seemingly small annual events to raise awareness of breastfeeding can pay great dividends in the future. By annually holding a celebration of any type and scale, Leaders and members are building a foundation with their consistency of effort. The way to accomplish something meaningful is to start with one little thing done consistently. It is the consistency of effort that will eventually make a difference in your community.
Each year, US Groups demonstrate this consistency of effort. Julie Johnson of LLL of Whittier and LLL of Montebello, California, designed a clever way of collecting pocket change as part of their Group's WBW Celebration event. Using decorated flower pots, she encouraged others to join the celebration and perhaps "change" the world. The second year that Julie's Group did this, participation from the mothers increased and the change from the flower pots added up to over $400! One key to the continued success of the flower pot idea was to involve mothers who may no longer come to the meetings, yet feel a connection to their local LLL Group. Julie delivered a pot to them with the instruction page and an invitation to their August WBWC picnic. The personal touch made a big difference in participation and also in the attendance at the picnic.
Julie shared her idea with others interested in the WBW Celebration and suddenly many Groups began using the spare change flower pot idea for their Celebrations. It was manageable in size and creative in operation. If you'd like to learn more about the WBW Celebration, visit www.lllusa.org.
Alicia Drummond of Jacksonville, Florida used the flower pot idea and found success with it. Alicia shared that the mothers in the Group found this WBW activity much more appealing than one that required their attendance at something. With almost 30 mothers participating in the flower pot effort, the 2005 WBWC for Jacksonville, Florida was its most successful effort ever! Flower pots will be part of their celebration again in 2006.
In Great Bend, Kansas, Robin Rziha gave the maternity unit of her local hospital a flower pot and information on collecting change in the flower pot. She used the breastfeeding awareness bracelet as the decoration around the pot. The maternity unit not only raised funds for WBW, but also raised awareness about the importance of breastfeeding. KeeNan Engstrom of Utah used the flower pots as a supplement to their traditional Walk and found that some members took two pots: one for home and one for their husband's place of employment.
In 2005, some Leaders who run breast pump businesses chose to donate a percentage of their profit for the month of August as part of their contribution to the WBWC in their community. There was no extra work involved, yet, awareness was raised by telling customers that a portion of the profit will go to LLL in honor of World Breastfeeding Week.
Other Groups held annual potluck picnics without any other awareness activity associated with the event. It was a time to invite families to a party celebrating breastfeeding. The consistency of the event each summer has some members referring to the picnic as the World Breastfeeding Week picnic -- a small yet significant tradition for these Groups that started by celebrating WBW with a family picnic.
Some members and Leaders have taken the time to write a letter asking people they know or have helped with breastfeeding to donate to the WBW Celebration. This small activity takes time; however, it can be done whenever it is convenient. People are accustomed to receiving donation solicitation through the mail and a personalized one from someone they know is more likely to be successful than other solicitations they receive. Sample letters can be found on the WBW Web site.
As you can see from the above examples, the celebration for WBW does not need to be taxing to the LLL Leaders or the Group members. Members who want to become more involved can plan and organize the event with minimal Leader participation. By sharing this opportunity with mothers, you encourage them to find ways to celebrate WBW that works for their Group and their community.
Look for additional ideas for ways to celebrate WBW on the LLL in the USA Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week Web site at www.lllusa.org/wbw/. Plan now to be part of the 2006 World Breastfeeding Week Celebration!
Note: web address corrected for online use.