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From the Executive Director: The Joys of the Community Network

Hedy Nuriel
Executive Director
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 3, June-July 2005, p. 50.

There are many things that bring us joy in La Leche League: the closeness to our family, being able to meet and be with so many wonderful women, and being able to help women to breastfeed their babies. Now we have a new joy that has been added: the LLL Community Network (CN).

For those of us who have tried it, we've found that it's a great way to talk to others who have similar interests.

Some of the discussions are closed; you can only read and write to them if you are invited, but most are open to all of us and provide a safe place to talk among ourselves. Only Leaders, employees of LLL (including Affiliate employees), Alumnae, and a few developers are able to access the Community Network. We are working to replicate the LLL CN user interface in five additional languages (Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Dutch) so that Leaders around the world can participate.

The wide variety of topics to select from can be helpful in your work as a Leader. There are also areas to discuss family life, interests, and hobbies. We all sign an agreement to be respectful of each other because this should be a safe place where many topics and interests are encouraged. Here's how some Leaders are using the CN:

  • Leaders are discussing membership ideas, which has led to a number of shared resources and inspired a membership contest!
  • Breastfeeding resources and handouts are being created and shared by Leaders who also teach breastfeeding classes.
  • Concern from a Leader about Leader logs and legal issues has led to a breakout discussion and generated sharing of current Leader logs and creating new ones.
  • Based on suggestions from Leaders in New Zealand and California, USA, a discussion was formed to create a team of Leaders to evaluate breastfeeding Web sites for appropriateness and compatibility with LLL philosophy, similar to the Book Evaluation Committee.
  • The World Breastfeeding Week celebration team in the US has used the CN Library to share dozens of useful handouts, files, and other materials.
  • Some Area teams have made extensive use of the CN for their work. LLL of Arizona, USA, is an example of a very active Area administrators' discussion group.
  • Leaders have shared how they started their own Groups and provided each other with resources.
  • For fun, there is a very lively discussion of books in the "Whatcha Reading?" discussion, which has already led to new book groups.
  • On a mundane level, the "What's for Dinner?" discussion has given many Leaders inspiration when faced with an empty larder. It is one of the most popular discussions on the CN.
  • Leaders are enjoying discussions about knitting, pets, recipes, and anything else you can think of. If your area of interest isn't there, just start the discussion yourself!

There is a lot on the CN that does not directly address helping mothers or leading meetings; however, getting to know each other helps us form strong bonds and leads to a more respectful community. By addressing all aspects of Leaders' lives, the CN acknowledges that we are all individuals with interests and activities outside LLL.

If you haven't joined the CN yet contact us selecting "Community Network" to find out how to sign on. {Edited November 22, 2006}

Join us as we get to know each other in this important and incredible work of helping mothers and babies!

What Leaders are saying about The Community Network

The CN has made my world feel a lot smaller. Seeing the words and faces of Leaders from around the world has helped me renew my energy for volunteer work. Thank you! Laura

The Community Network is going to make it easy for Leaders to connect with others who have similar interests, concerns, and situations. Living a great distance from the nearest Leader makes me appreciate all the LLL contacts I can get. Sandee

Leaders can update their own addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers, which helps streamline administrative duties for individuals and for the organization as a whole. I particularly like that there are "library" resources for each discussion, so that when one of us posts a useful file, then others who'd like to use it can all download it from one place. What a thrilling prospect to not be faced with "reinventing the wheel" every time we'd like a meeting flyer or specific type of outreach letter! Bethanie

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