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La Leche League International
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LLLI 50th Anniversary Picnic

From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 6, November-December 2006, p. 274

The idea of La Leche League was conceived at a picnic in Wilder Park (Elmhurst, Illinois, USA) in 1956 when Marian Tompson and Mary White first talked about the need that mothers had for information and support. Later that year in October, Marian and Mary met with five other women, Mary Ann Cahill, Edwina Froehlich, Mary Ann Kerwin, Viola Lennon, and Betty Wagner (now Spandikow), at the first LLL meeting. The birth of this idea for a neighborhood resource took off and grew into an organization that helps women around the world.

In August 2006, the seven LLLI Founders gathered with their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren at another picnic in Wilder Park: the LLLI 50th Anniversary Picnic. The event was multi-generational with both longtime and new friends and supporters of our organization.

The Honorable Paul Froehlich, Illinois State Representative (and also Edwina's son!), Mayor Thomas Marcucci of Elmhurst, Karen LeBan, Executive Director of the Child Survival Collaborations and Resources Group (CORE), and Brenda Snyder, Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Human Services, joined over 300 mothers, fathers, babies, children, friends, LLL Leaders, and others to celebrate. The festivities were held to launch a year-long 50th Anniversary celebration of La Leche League International.

Attendees participated in fun that included sing-a-longs, games for both children and adults, photo opportunities with the Founders, as well as other activities. A similar picnic was held in Wilder Park in 1981 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of LLLI. At that time, trees and benches were donated by various groups and dedicated to LLLI. This year, five additional trees were donated by: LLL of Illinois, current and past LLLI staff, the children of Marian Tompson, Lou Boyes, and Mothering Magazine.

To those who attended the Picnic and those who are on the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee, thank you for making this event a memorable gathering that celebrated and honored the seven women who recognized the importance of mother-to-mother support and decided to make a difference.

If you couldn't join us for the Picnic in Wilder Park, consider celebrating the 50th Anniversary of LLLI in other ways: attend the International Conference in July 2007, plan a fundraising party for friends in honor of the Anniversary and donate proceeds to LLLI, renew your LLLI membership, or surprise a friend with a gift subscription to New Beginnings. More information is available at

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