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La Leche League International
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Honoring and Celebrating 50 Years of Support

Judy Torgus
LLLI Executive Editor
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 2, April-May-June 2006, p. 37.

In the summer of 1956, two young mothers attended a church picnic in Wilder Park in Elmhurst, Illinois, USA. They sat together, under a shady tree, nursing their babies. Other mothers noticed them, and came up to ask questions about breastfeeding or to share their stories about how breastfeeding had not worked out for them. The two young mothers were Mary White and Marian Tompson, and their experience at that picnic inspired them to gather a group of their friends together and form an organization to help mothers breastfeed.

That was how La Leche League began. And now we are launching our 50th Anniversary celebration by holding an Anniversary Picnic in Wilder Park on August 20, 2006! All seven of the Founders are planning to be there, along with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It will be a very special day, launching a full year of anniversary activities, which will culminate with the 50th Anniversary Conference to be held in Chicago, Illinois, USA in July 2007.

A similar picnic was held in Wilder Park in 1981 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of LLLI. At that time, a bronze plaque commemorating the founding of LLLI was placed in the ground announcing that fact to everyone who visits the park. Also, 15 trees and three benches were donated by various groups of people and dedicated to LLL in honor of the 25th Anniversary. Many of those trees and plaques, and one of the benches, are still there today, after 25 years. Imagine the number of families including thousands of nursing mothers, who have enjoyed these trees and benches over the years!

In 1981, the trees and benches were donated by LLL Areas and Chapters, the LLLI Board of Directors, the office staff, various groups of Leaders, individual families, and also corporations. It is impressive that their good wishes for LLL have made a significant statement that has lasted for so many years.

This year, we want to again offer the opportunity to interested LLL Areas, Chapters, Affiliates, families, or other groups of supporters to sponsor a tree in Wilder Park, in honor of the LLLI 50th Anniversary. We also plan to contact corporations who might want to be a part of this tribute. In addition to being permanently engraved on the bronze plaques, names of sponsors will be listed in the printed program book, which will be given out at the picnic and posted on the LLLI Web site. The names will also be listed in LEAVEN and NEW BEGINNINGS.

The cost to dedicate a deciduous or evergreen tree will be $750. This price includes a plaque engraved with 3 lines of type (30 characters in each line). For an additional charge of $150, you can select an oak tree. Larger plaques that can list more names are also available at an additional charge. Fees and payment plans will be listed on the LLLI Web site and can also be requested by writing or calling the LLLI office.

Sponsoring a commemorative tree in Wilder Park is a fitting way to honor the Founders and celebrate this organization that is so dear to all of us.

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