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Volunteer Babywearing Educator of the Year

Babywearing International chapter are the heart of our organization and our Volunteer Babywearing Educators are the heart and soul of each chapter.  This year we are introducing an award for VBE of the Year to celebrate excellence in volunteer education.

The VBE of the Year 2012 goes to Heather Magrow from BWI of Chicagoland.

Heather is an outstanding advocate and educator for BWI of Chicagoland.  She is active helping folks on their Facebook page as well as at meetings.  She is an integral part of their chapter leadership and works to help with training new VBEs as well as helping the parents who come to BWI of Chicagoland for help.  We asked Heather to tell us a little about herself and her babywearing advocacy, and here's what she had to say.

I am a stay-at-home mom to two little boys who are 4 and 6 years old, in a northern Chicago suburb.  My husband and I were college sweethearts, who've been married over a decade.  I have a B.S. from the University of Illinois.  My background is in science (Biology), not education.  Pre-kids, I worked for a large medical diagnostics company. 

With our first son, I used a baby bjorn and linen ring sling.  Our babywearing journey really took off after our second was born. I found the local babywearing group from our local La Leche League group.   Learning about the other carrier options and meeting some great local ladies really saved my life and sanity.  I learned a lot about toddler wearing and babywearing together, during the transition between having one child and two.  Babywearing also made it much easier to chase around an energetic toddler.  

I love sharing what I've learned, and want and help others see how this great tool can help make parenting so much easier.  I wish I'd have found our group earlier in our lives as parents.  I don't think it's important for an educator to know everything; I think it's more important for an educator to know what resources to look for to help with a difficult situation.  I also think it's important to listen to parents, and figure out what they're REALLY asking, so we can meet their needs.  I love the look on a caregivers face when they find something they like, or their baby quiets down and falls asleep, or is content to look around.  

And I think it's so much more important to encourage than criticize, and set a positive example by helping to keep our group supportive, not dramatic.  Our whole leadership team is great, and I think we all strive to keep a positive atmosphere that is welcoming.  I look at some of my early babywearing days and realize sometimes the carries looked awful (while still safe).   Sometimes I pull them out to show a hesitant or unconfident member, to show them that they'll feel more comfortable and confident as they practice.  

It's easy to forget that it's NOT about the special fancy carrier, it's about using some fabric to help them and their babies.  The parents are the real carriers, the fabric just helps them do that effectively.  That's really the heart of our organization.  Thanks for letting me be a part of it.

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