Family Fun Day
Susan Vicknair Theall
Jefferson LA USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2008, p. 22
La Leche League of Jefferson, Louisiana, USA celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by hosting a Family Fun Day on Saturday, August 4th, at East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, Louisiana. It was a wonderful day with free activities for the entire family. We were joined by nine exhibitors including lactation consultants from area hospitals and those in private practice, childbirth educators, the local Couple to Couple League representative and the government's department of health. Each had a table to display breastfeeding information. The attendance was great -- 82 adults and 75 children.
For the first time, we offered vendor tables to area businesses. The table fee was $50 (US), but only for mothers with home businesses. Six businesses joined us, including a baby/child specialty, a toy business, two diaper businesses, and a stuffed animal business.
We had a silent auction where parents could write in their bids, a live auction, door prizes, and a raffle. Our prizes included breast pumps, nursing clothes, new mother baskets, baby slings, children's toys and clothes, museum tickets, baseball game tickets, and gift certificates to restaurants.
Our children had fun things to do, too. The teenage volunteers organized face painting, balloon animals, color sheets, and several different arts and craft activities. One sponsor provided an area with bubbles, musical instruments, and puppets.
A natural food store set up a display and provided us with healthy drinks, snacks, and coloring books for the children. A bakery donated a beautiful cake. Boudreaux, the mascot of the New Orleans Zephyr baseball team, showed up for an hour to visit with the children and pose for pictures.
Three tables of La Leche League information were available. Each table had two display boards with posters as well as tear-off sheets of breastfeeding information for mothers to take home. We hung breastfeeding posters all over the walls and tied La Leche League logo balloons and blue mylar balloons onto the tables. I added three new wall displays this year. For the first, I took some pictures of Leaders nursing at the 2007 LLLI International Conference in Chicago, enlarged them to 8 x10 size, and put each one on a piece of blue scrapbooking paper with a sign saying "LLL Leaders Nursing." For the second display, I printed the words "Breastfeeding Mothers" with each letter on one piece of paper. I hung these over a 25-foot area. Then, I printed the names of famous female actors, each on a piece of paper, and hung them all over the wall under the main sign. I was able to buy some movie party decorations at the local party store for three dollars that said "Lights, Camera and Action." It took up a giant wall and really caught people's attention. My last display included the names of famous athletes who had nursed or who were nursed. I labeled the latter group "Powered by Breastmilk."
This year we asked some of our exhibitors to give a short talk. These talks were held every 15 minutes and included breastfeeding, childbirth, and parenting topics. They were very popular with the parents who attended.
In the past, our events have been held in a shopping mall, which assured us of hundreds of participants. This year, a hospital offered us space for free, but there would not be people walking through the conference rooms on a Saturday morning. We had to do a lot of publicity to get parents to drive to our event. We printed posters, which we displayed in stores, libraries, and churches. We mailed posters and flyers to the 20 pediatrician offices. All of the hospitals displayed the posters and handed out flyers. My co-Leader, Rachelle Noullet, was interviewed on the local morning news show. They let her talk about what La Leche League does and about our event. We feel that our event was a success as it met all our goals: to educate the public about LLL and breastfeeding; to raise funds for our Group; and to build a network of breastfeeding and childbirth experts in our community.
We have celebrated every World Breastfeeding Week with some type of event. For the last 10 years, we have had a similar celebration. It is much easier to continue to add to an annual event than to have a different type of event each year. The donors know who you are and expect to participate each year. We can use the same planning list, the same floor plans, the same to-do lists, and the same flyers and letters with just some updating each year. We add new things each year to improve our events. After each event, we try to discuss what worked and what didn't work. We keep these notes and use them in planning the next event. We like to start early in the year to work on our event. If the letters are in the mail in April and May, then there is less rush as we get close to August.
We have three Leaders in our Group. Rachelle Noullet was in charge of collecting donations. She mailed and emailed out the sponsor letters and drove to pick up donated items. Jennifer Sanchez has a one-month-old, so she manned the registration table welcoming parents to our event and directing them to all the activities. I organized the location, contacted the medical professionals and the vendors, and organized the children's activities. It really was a team effort with all three Leaders and our families working to make our event a great success.
Editor's Note: What have you planned in your community to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week? How was the turn out, and how might you improve upon the event in the future? Send your stories and photos to EditorLV at llli dot org.
World Breastfeeding Week Celebration (WBWC) Donors
We thank the following donors to WBWC in the USA:
Judith & Dean Gilbert, Glassboro, NJ
McCarthy Square Pharmacy, LLC, New Bern, NC