Where in the World to Have a World Breastfeeding Week Celebration?
Candace Moore Hill
Evanston IL USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 2, April-May-June 2006, p. 45.
Historically, World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations were fundraising walks. In the early 1990s, walks were very popular and were thought to be a good opportunity for Leaders, members, and their families to gather together, enjoy a leisurely walk, and picnic in a family friendly place. This is still a popular idea; however, it is not the only option for a fun event.
Groups hold picnics in town squares, private homes, on farms, as well as at parks and beaches. Raffles and auctions may be added as fundraisers. A park or beach with tables, playgrounds, cooking grills, and public toilet facilities provides a welcoming and comfortable meeting place for families of all sizes. Hang a big banner and see how many former members stop by for a visit.
Coffee shops are often looking for events to fill the tables and steam up the espresso machines. Last year several managers of a well-known coffee house chain offered Groups special fundraising arrangements. Don't forget independent coffee houses that might be very interested in a family night with music or storytelling. Some Groups worked with a local restaurant where the restaurant donated a percentage of the day's receipts to LLL.
Some bookstores may be open to the idea of events held on their premises. Two national bookstore chains, Barnes & Noble and Borders, have programs where coupons can be distributed to friends and a percentage of sales will be donated to the Group. Summer is a slow time for bookstores, and they know that families with children like to buy books. If this idea sounds appealing, make an appointment to speak with a store representative as soon as possible to reserve a spot on their schedule. Be sure to mention this upcoming event in all Group outreach materials.
A local hospital might be very interested in a public World Breastfeeding Week event. A friendly contact in a hospital's lactation department might grow into a creative celebration in the hospital lobby or cafeteria. Why not plan a Lactation Luncheon for breastfeeding advocates in the community?
If it is too hot for an outside event, look to inside opportunities, such as a shopping mall that encourages gatherings and events. If there is an on-site indoor playground, all the better for encouraging attendance.
Some Leaders use the week as an opportunity for breastfeeding awareness efforts that reach beyond those who attend LLL meetings. One relatively easy way to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week is to ask your town's mayor or your state governor to proclaim the first week of August as World Breastfeeding Week. Sample proclamations can be found on the Community Network as well as on the LLL in the USA Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week Web site www.lllusa.org/lllusa/kit.html. The sample proclamations have been used in other communities with great success and are easily adapted.
If you have an activity that uses balloons, consider attaching breastfeeding facts on colorful cardstock paper to each balloon. It adds a festive touch while educating at the same time. A list of breastfeeding facts and quotes can be found at the WBW Celebration Web site.
Consider sending a press release, or letter to the editor, to your local newspaper as well as other community publications about World Breastfeeding Week. A variety of press releases can be found on the Web site as well. That same press release could be used to suggest that a local bookstore or library feature breastfeeding and child care books in a display.
However you choose to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, do celebrate! This is a special year to celebrate breastfeeding as it is the 50th anniversary of La Leche League International and the 25th anniversary of the WHO Code. For more information and suggestions see www.lllusa.org/lllusa/wbw.html.
Success Requires Teamwork
Thanks to the Internet, you can find all the details about how to plan, host, and create a WBW Celebration in the USA. On the WBW Web site, there are long lists of ideas, hand-outs, proclamations, quotes, references, links, and contacts. There are also links to register USA events and download forms for accounting and evaluations.
It takes a team to create these useful and important tools in addition to keeping track of Groups that register and the Area WBWC Coordinators who support them.
The WBW Team is a nationwide crew of email experts sharing ideas, creating forms, editing articles, and dreaming big. The members include big picture people and small detail organizers. Ideas flow and grammar is corrected.
The WBW Team uses Yahoo Groups and the Community Network to gather facts and creative input. Your ideas are always welcome. Any Leader may join the WBW Chat on the LLLI Community Network. Please also take a moment to browse online at www.lllusa.org/lllusa/wbw.html. Feel free to make a suggestion or share a creative idea that worked for you by writing to Linda Parry at LPARRYLLL at aol.com.
Any Leader or member who plans to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week in the USA is a part of the team.