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Who Benefits When a Leader Attends an LLLI Conference?

Mary Hurt
LLLI PR Associate
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 37 No. 2, April-May 2001, p. 48

Who benefits when an LLL Leader attends the LLLI Conference? Everyone does - the Leader, her family, her Group, her Community, and ultimately the world. Whether you are nurturing your children or supporting the mothers in your Group, you spend a lot of time helping others. Because of this, Leaders, like others in the helping professions, are in danger of experiencing stress or burnout. An LLLI Conference is one way a Leader can get the support and encouragement that she so willingly gives others every day of her life. An LLLI Conference brings together parents and professionals from around the globe. It defines our differences in cultures and languages, but even more sharply focuses on what we share in common. Our babies all thrive on human milk and our children, no matter where they go to school or what language they speak, thrive on loving guidance. People's needs are the same whether they dress in Western business attire or in a sari. Realizing the global importance of the work you do as a person, as a parent, and as a Leader is one way the Conference will support and encourage you.

Speakers at the LLLI Conference provide the latest information on a variety of subjects; they inspire, they inform, and they entertain. In the personal development arena, Leaders will be inspired by the Founders' session where all seven will talk about "Seven Voices-One Dream." In the session, "Unique Lives: The Varied and Fascinating Lives of Retired Leaders," you will discover the way some fascinating women have expanded skills developed as Leaders into many other areas. Leaders attending the LLLI Conference will enjoy a "one size and age doesn't fit all" Kaleidoscope of Fashion at the Alumnae Tea, and they will laugh and sing at the Banquet: A Kaleidoscope of Mothering. They will find out the latest on "How to Synchronize Your Life and Livelihood" and they will be able to explore options in various complementary and integrative health sessions.

When a Leader attends an LLLI Conference, her family benefits because she is privy to the latest information on parenting and is motivated by seeing parents from all over the globe meeting the needs of their babies and children. Leaders and other parents will learn "How Love Forms, Guides, and Alters a Child's Mind" and how to create practical strategies for dealing with "Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders." They will become more informed about how their marriage affects their children and about intimacy and sexuality during pregnancy and breastfeeding. They will learn about the Kaleidoscope that is their family as they use "The Family Color Wheel: The True Color System of Understanding Different Personalities" and they will accomplish "Mission Possible" as they create a family mission statement.

Groups benefit from an LLL Leader attending the LLLI Conference in many ways. By being part of the larger experience of the world of LLL, you will come back to your Group renewed and ready to take on new challenges. That LLL member you wanted to approach about becoming a Leader Applicant; that new meeting idea you wanted to try out; and that press release you wanted to send to the local newspaper will all seem easier with your renewed inspiration and enthusiasm. While any session that benefits the Leader benefits the Group, the sessions about breastfeeding benefit the Group in a special way. Whether learning about "Using Women's Way of Knowing to Improve Breastfeeding Teaching and Counseling," "Perspectives on HIV, AIDS, and Breastfeeding," or "Breastfeeding in Cyberspace: Using Technology to Help Mothers Breastfeed," a Leader will return to her Group with the latest information. In addition to attending sessions, Leaders and members often bring back handouts, books, and tapes to share with their Group. Some Groups hold Evaluation Meetings or Chapter Meetings to discuss experiences at the LLLI Conference. Sometimes Leaders attend a session of particular interest to their Group's members and many encourage Leader Applicants and other Group members to attend the Conference themselves.

What helps the Leader and the Group also benefits the community. Each mother who is supported and encouraged to breastfeed her baby acts as a catalyst to other members of the community. Every community helps a nation, and ultimately the world. It is estimated that in the United States if 75 percent of mothers breastfed their babies at birth, and 50 percent were still breastfeeding at six months, there would be a 1.5 billion dollar (US) health care savings. We already know that the emotional and physical benefits of breastfeeding to the world are priceless. Can you imagine a world where babies had less respiratory disease, fewer infections and other life-threatening diseases? A world where children's intelligence was higher and obesity was lower? A world where fewer children developed juvenile diabetes and certain forms of cancer? You help create this world through your work as an LLL Leader. The Conference will help you, your family, your Group, your community, and through a ripple effect help mothers and babies the world over.

Be prepared to have your breath taken away at the sheer beauty and magnificence of the Hilton Chicago. Be prepared to be delighted by the variety and quality of the sessions. Be prepared to spend four inspiring days enveloped in support and encouragement. Be prepared to attend the LLLI Conference, July 7-10, 2001 at the Hilton Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Please Note: Deborah Rowe, popular radio host and award-winning speaker will present the topic "A Kaleidoscope of Mothering" at the gala banquet to be held at La Leche League International's Conference. She is taking the place of Kathleen Parker who is unable to attend.

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