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Girl Scouts Volunteer at the LLLI Office to Help New Moms "Be Prepared"

Amy Barker
LLLI Development Associate
From: Leaven, Vol. 44, No. 4, 2008, p. 22

Part of the Girl Scout promise is to "help people at all times," and a recent service activity at the La Leche League International office in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA is a perfect example of this pledge in action. In mid-November 2008, 12 girls from Girl Scout Cadette Troops 225 and 1259 spent nearly a dozen hours over three days assembling 5,000 new mother packets at the LLLI office. And quite a time they had!

Thanks to a generous donation by the Isdell Family Foundation of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, La Leche League International is able to supply US "Baby-Friendly" hospitals with new mother packets. There are 67 hospitals in the United States that have made this commitment to support breastfeeding and become "Baby-Friendly." LLLI hopes to partner with these hospitals and become the prime breastfeeding resource recommended to mothers once they leave the hospital.

Partnerships with baby-friendly hospitals also help ensure that health care professionals, such as lactation consultants, receive the most current information on breastfeeding and tips for solving common problems like latch-on and positioning. These health care professionals are often the first contact for new mothers and, therefore, getting the most up-to-date information in their hands is the best way for mothers to receive the support they need.

These New Mother packets contain current breastfeeding resources and information including a congratulatory card that lists LLLI breastfeeding resources available on our Web site; Breastfeeding Guide: Tips & Products (a booklet that contains answers to frequently asked breastfeeding questions along with a listing of products related to breastfeeding and nursing wear); an information sheet, Is My Breastfed Baby Getting Enough Milk?; and a copy of New Beginnings magazine.

Troop Leader and LLL Leader Loretta McCallister attests to the enthusiasm the girls demonstrated toward serving their community. When this opportunity was proposed to them, they responded with a unanimous "yes!" This eagerness never waned during the entire process. Troops 225 and 1259 remained goal-oriented and motivated, keeping a running count of filled boxes. "Only 50 more to go," they shouted at the halfway point.

Some girls, like Claudia of Troop 1259, received leadership hours for their leadership roles in this process. "This experience was fun and I learned [valuable] skills," said Claudia. Chatting with friends, eating pizza, and listening to music made the work fun and time go by quickly. Their goal of 5,000 packets was easily achieved and the assembly line system the girls set up also demonstrated their great teamwork skills.

La Leche League International is thankful to Troops 1259 and 225 and their troop leaders, Loretta McCallister and Stephanie Lauk. Their dedication to help others in need is truly inspiring. When asked for her thoughts on helping mothers and babies, Madison of Troop 1259 said, "I hope the next generation of Girl Scouts will do this for me!" Knowing the abundance of wonderful volunteers in the world -- both in La Leche League International and Girl Scouts -- it is a certainty that future volunteers will be there to assist.

La Leche League International and mothers and babies will surely benefit from the volunteer efforts of Troops 1259 and 225. And with such a fun, positive, and informative experience for them, perhaps this generation of young women is sure to benefit from their encounter with La Leche League well into the future.

Thank you to the volunteers who helped with this project!

Troop 1259: Loretta McCallister (Leader), Madison, Cate, Claudia, Ashley, Colleen, Kristin, and Jackie

Troop 225: Stephanie Lauk (Leader), Catherine, Marina, Lauren B., Lauren C., and Liz

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