Saturday, October 29, 2011

Drowning in diapers

Diapers.  I am drowning in diapers.  Clean and dirty!  I've got them stored away everywhere.  In every diaper bag, stroller, the car, the changing station and in the bedroom closet.  I don't want to be caught without a clean diaper!  I am aware that despite my best efforts to be prepared and change my babies often, they still get diaper rashes.  My son and daughter go through approximately 10 diapers each day.  The diapers I use are roughly $0.22 each, depending on the number in the box.  At 22 cents each, that is $4.40 a day or $30.80 a week that I spend to keep them comfortable and clean.  That comes to $123.20 a month or $862.40 that I have spent on diapers since Baby A and Baby B arrived in March.  This dollar amount is not something that is ever discussed in my house as a budget concern, and for that I am so grateful.

It wasn't until I had children that I realized how expensive caring for a baby's basic needs could be.  For many families it is a constant worry. In any economy, it is a concern for families that live in communities in perpetual need.  Not having an adequate supply of diapers puts babies at risk of physical harm, due to infection and emotional harm, from being kept in a soiled diaper for a prolonged period of time.

My first thought was, what about mothers that receive public assistance, such as WIC or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP?  But diapers are considered a personal hygiene product and therefore are not allowed by either program.  This is why Huggies started the Every Little Bottom campaign.  Huggies wanted to create awareness to the problem and find ways to help families in need.  Huggies has partnered with organizations such as the United Way, March of Dimes and the Association of Junior Leagues International to reach communities all over the United States to help babies-and families-stay healthy. 

The JLW Esprit Mom's Club is helping our community by collecting diapers and delivering them to our community partners, Doorways for Women and Families and more.  We have already delivered over 1000 diapers this fall.  So, how can you help?  During the month of November, drop off a box of diapers (sizes 4 or 5 are the greatest need) and/or wipes at JLW Headquarters in the President's Office.  Your donation will help a mother in our community provide a basic need for her child, something all mothers long to do.

For more details about Huggies and AJLI, click here:

For more information about diaper deprivation, please click here:

PR & Communications Council Director

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October President's Post

As the nights cool, our thoughts turn to a break from the humidity, changing leaves, and harvests of the summer bounty.  Inside the League, though,  our thoughts are on growth - growth in our membership, our shared history  and our community impact.  Here are just a few examples:

Last month we officially welcomed almost 400 New Members and Transfers; we’ll be energized by their involvement in League activities this year and will benefit from their good ideas and dedicated follow-through for years to come.  I’ve met many of them, and they are women of action! Please reach out and say hello to these newest members of the JLW as you attend events or work side-by-side this year.

The Archives committee is seeking to grow awareness and celebrate our League’s upcoming 100 years of community impact.  There are two opportunities to support their efforts (and learn a lot of  ‘fun tidbits’ of JLW history).  The first is to support the Framing Project - individually or as a group, you can sponsor the framing of items from JLW archives.  The second opportunity is to support the committee’s efforts to record stories from JLW’s past.  Stay tuned for more information this year on these two initiatives.

Our Sustainers welcomed fall with their annual luncheon.  Guest speaker Carol Rasco, President of Reading Is Fundamental, shared more about the importance of reading in childhood development.  Thanks to Lorraine Nordlinger for organizing this year’s luncheon and for bringing in such an impressive leader in the area of literacy.

The Literacy Council, fresh off our 10th very successful National Book Festival event, is focused on growing the League’s impact in the area of literacy.  Our commitment to school libraries continues to grow; this year they will be working more with Ballou High School, one of the largest within DC Public Schools.  As they work more with this school, Literacy

Partnerships will bring more information and potential opportunities for the league to support.  And, Book for Brighter Futures is offering an opportunity for all league members to support directly our literacy efforts by holding an October event at Hooray for Books, in Alexandria.

Ways & Means’ Special Events committee is kicking off a new initiative this year with a Kitchen Tour—it promises to be as appetizing for our design dreams as for our imaginations! 

We’re well into our League year, and I am so honored to be in your company.  Thank you for the commitment, the creativity, and the  ‘heart’ that you bring to improve lives throughout our DC area community.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I never thought I would learn so much from playing Bingo

Recently, I participated in a Community Experience that involved playing Bingo with some patients at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. When I got to the hospital I met with two other members of the Junior League to set up for the night’s activity. We set up the tables, prizes and supplies and waited for the patients to arrive.

Five patients and three family members attended the event. Bingo was a perfect game for the patients to play. Listening to the numbers being called out and associating the letters and numbers being read aloud with those on their Bingo cards helped them improve their cognitive function as many of the patients were on medication that left them feeling a little foggy. The act of putting the markers on their Bingo cards was important too, because it helped them to improve the functioning of their fingers by grasping small items and setting them in their correct spot on the cards.

Most all of the patients used three cards at once which helped them focus on more than one task and encouraged them to use their arms, hands and fingers more than they would normally. Playing Bingo was fun, but the greatest part of the night was talking to the patients and learning more about their conditions, their struggles and their lives.

The patients were in rehabilitation for many different reasons and were at many different stages in their recovery. One patient told us about how he was enjoying using Wii Tennis as a way to improve the functioning in his arms as well as his hand-eye coordination.

Another patient was excited about leaving the facility, as tonight was her last night in the hospital. Her coordination she learned through rehabilitation was excellent, and she was the big winner of the night, taking home two prizes, both of which she had planned to give to her roommate, an 80-year-old lady whom she called “the life of the party.”

Of all of the patients I met that night, none was more inspiring than a 20-something man. His state of the art wheelchair with a touch screen and remote button intrigued us and he showed us how it could increase and decrease speed, raise and lower, and deflate to take pressure off certain parts of his body.
To our amazement, through talking about how we came to the District, we realized we were both from the same hometown in Alabama. This sparked conversation about our favorite BBQ spots, college life and of course, Alabama vs. Auburn football. We also talked about his recovery story and how his condition started.

Hearing his story was humbling. But the JLW volunteers also humbled him:

I know that you have probably been working all day, but you still came to spend your night playing Bingo with us,” he said, “you didn’t have to do this.

He’s right. We didn’t, but now I’m glad we did.

Posted by: Nicole, JLW New Member

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thank You National Book Festival!

What an incredible two days! With the 11th annual National Book Festival behind us we just have a couple of “thank you’s” to make, before we officially start looking forward to next years Festival.

Thank you to all the rain gods for not soaking us. Even if you did toy with us all weekend.

Thank you to David McCullough, who came early and stayed late to ensure all his fans got their book signed. A complete class act.

Thank you Target for supplying everyone with bottled water. Considering DC humidity, it was literally a lifesaver!

Thank you Julianne Moore, for being as beautiful and charming as you always seemed in the movies.

Thank you Terry McMillan for reading an excerpt from the new book you’re working on. And for being hysterical with your one-liners in the book signing line.

Thank you Amy Chua for not being as scary as I thought you’d be. In fact you are a complete delight.

Thank You Miss International for reading a story with me, to a group of adorable, young festival goers to kick off Day-2.

Thank you Hoda Kotb, for bringing your fabulous mother with you. An employee of the Library of Congress, she looked so proud of her daughter. Considering that Hoda has her own daily television show, that says a lot about the Book Festival!

Thank you Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players for rocking out at the Family Storytelling Stage. Nothing cuter then dozens of children dancing like crazy.

Thank you to our partners at the Library of Congress including Jennifer Gavin and the fantastic security team-- Hill, Steve, and Meghan. We cannot wait to work with you again for the 12th annual National Book Festival!

And, above all, thank you to the more than 550 Junior League volunteers who make this event a success… Your hard-work and enthusiasm are what make the JLW "famous" at the Library of Congress and make me, as the President of the Junior League of Washington, extremely proud.

If you did volunteer, please take a moment to fill out the volunteer survey:

Until next time, I will be reading some books from authors I saw at the National Book Festival!