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How I Found My Co-Leader on the Internet

Jennifer Morris
Babson Park FL USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 4, October-November-December 2006, p. 79

Her location jumped out at me as if it were a neon sign instead of pixels of light on a monitor. Anna's roll call entry read "mitchsmom, dh (dear husband), ds#1 (dear son), ds#2, amongst the orange groves of Central Florida." The roll call (listing our usernames or real names, children's names, and locations) helped us get to know all the participants on an Internet "bulletin board" for parents of children born in June of 1999.

I also lived amongst Central Florida's orange groves and wondered whether we lived near each other. I emailed Anna, and discovered that we were less than an hour apart.

Anna and I met in person in September of 1999 after corresponding via email. Our breastfed and cloth-diapered sons were born about a week apart.

We hit it off. Anna was interested to hear about the La Leche League Group that I was attending in Lakeland, Florida, about 45 minutes from my home. She asked if I'd find out how one went about becoming a Leader and starting a new Group -- she really wanted to help others breastfeed. For Anna, the Lakeland Group was a three-hour drive (round trip), but it was the closest to her home. One of the Leaders gave me some preliminary information about becoming a Leader, as well as the phone number of Carol Sarisky, then Florida's Coordinator of Leader Accreditation. When I shared the information with Anna, she asked if I'd be interested in pursuing LLL leadership and starting a new Group with her. We contacted Carol, and after some dialogue she began working with us as isolated Applicants.

I'm not certain that I would have taken the plunge to pursue leadership if it had not been for Anna. I'm a bit shy and normally cautious. While I doubt many people would consider becoming a Leader and starting a new Group to be the definition of reckless living, for me it was a tremendous leap.

And what a leap it has been! Becoming a La Leche League Leader has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I have learned so much and grown so much that there is no way I could ever repay my debt to LLL.

The Group is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Meetings are generally small (about three or four mothers), and we usually sell about two or three memberships a year. Anna and I have done some outreach (we donated THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK to a number of pediatric practices), and we hope that there is a small but growing ripple effect happening in our communities. We have lots of dreams for the Group. Anna just graduated from nursing school, and I'm currently serving a term as Area Coordinator of Leaders for LLL of Florida and the English Speaking Caribbean Islands. There are many outreach projects we hope to undertake, as time allows. We know that there are other breastfeeding mothers in our community, and we hope that they will benefit from our outreach even if we never meet them at a meeting.

At our fifth anniversary meeting a mother gave us each a gift -- a lovely figurine of a mother holding a toddler. She also wrote us a very special thank you note, acknowledging the work we do. If ever we need reminding that we do make a difference, all we need to do is to look at that note.

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