Over the summer, my husband and I were invited to attend a fundraiser at Gorman Heritage Farms for Bluegrass for Babies.
The setting was gorgeous, the local food from some of the city’s best local chefs was incredible and the heart behind Anne and Matt, who started this non profit, helped me understand why they are so passionate about their organization, Bluegrass for Babies.
I asked Anne a few questions to tell us more about Bluegrass for Babies.
What is the story behind Bluegrass for Babies?
My husband Matt and I started Bluegrass for Babies as a way to give back to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Our son Nicholas required life-saving surgery at the hospital when he was less than two days old and after receiving world-class emergency care; we wanted to be able to show our gratitude. We married our passion for the roots of American music – bluegrass music, to the roots of planting a healthy start for children.
When did you start Bluegrass for Babies?
In September 2009, we repurposed our annual backyard neighborhood barbecue into a benefit for Children’s and Bluegrass for Babies was born.
What was an obstacle/challenge you had to overcome in achieving your goals?
Bluegrass for Babies has evolved into an organization that provides tools, resources, and year-round special events centered on helping parents create an environment to raise healthy children, right from the start. There is a huge need for these resources currently because of the prevalence of health issues with our children and so many unknowns surrounding our present environment. We have an incredible amount of opportunity, and the greatest challenge we have is to pace ourselves so that we grow effectively.
How do you balance running a non profit with your other responsibilities?
I have to be very conscious of managing my time. My kids were really babies when Bluegrass for Babies began and now my youngest is starting Pre K. Next fall they will both be in school full time. I have had to be very efficient with my kid free time. I try not to do anything during this time that I can easily do with kids. So, that means that I am not cleaning the house while the kids are at school. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to arrange “ babysitting swaps” with friends for some budget friendly childcare. For instance, I will watch my friend’s girls one afternoon a week and she will watch my boys one afternoon a week. That way the kids get to play together, and we both manage to get some time to ourselves. It is definitely full of its challenges, but the end results are worth it.
What are some of your favorite experiences with Bluegrass for Babies so far?
I have really enjoyed the sense of community I have discovered in Cincinnati and nationally with so many people who have the same goals – to give back to our children and to our future. It gives me hope that collectively we can make a difference. Additionally, it has been such an honor to work with the leaders of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. We are truly very fortunate to have such talent in our backyards, and I am humbled to be able to partner with Cincinnati Children’s to change the outcome.
Do you have any favorite reactions or responses from Bluegrass for Babies recipients?
My favorite response is seeing the educational lessons we provide taking place in the community. It is motivating to have individuals and organizations contact us about how they can implement more nutritious food options, minimize toxins and reduce waste in their homes, events and companies.
What would you like to see Bluegrass for Babies doing in the future?
I would like to see Bluegrass for Babies continue to grow as a resource to help advance perinatal environmental research and to continue to educate the community on ways to improve our environment to directly improve children’s health.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start something in their community as a way to give back?
I would advise them to start small, engage your friends, reach out to like-minded influencers and just do it. I also think you always need to be flexible and adapt.
How can someone get involved with Bluegrass for Babies?
There are many ways to get involved with Bluegrass for Babies. We are always looking for volunteers for a variety of positions. Additionally, we are constantly seeking business partners and sponsors who have similar goals. We also have many community and family sponsor opportunities or you can attend one of our events. www.bluegrassforbabies.com
Thanks to Anne for sharing her story.
Bluegrass for Babies has an upcoming fundraiser concert coming up that you can support.