A year ago, the Real Diaper Association accredited Stacy Mojica as a Circle Leader and she formed the Low Country Real Diaper Circle in and near Hinesville and Savannah, GA. From the beginning, Stacy has involved many volunteers in making the Circle a reality. Their first project was the Great Cloth Diaper Change, for which they created a huge event (eventually contributing 62 people to the world record!). The Circle has grown from there, with many, many activities to increase the use of reusable cloth diapers in their area. On their first anniversary as a Circle, the group held a Trivia Night and Awards Dinner. This is Stacy's speech from that night.
As many of you know, our Circle did not get off to a very smooth start. But from those rocky beginnings, we have grown into something truly great. Our Circle no longer resembles what it was in the beginning. And that is the beauty of the metamorphosis our hard work has achieved.
I believe it is important to take moments to reflect upon all that we have accomplished in the last year. I am so proud to report that from nothing, we began teaching 101 classes. We taught Cloth Diapering 101 at four locations in four different cities in the Low Country. At one point Brandie and Angela were teaching at the Pregnancy Care Center of Richmond Hill, Amy and Luann were teaching at farmers natural foods in Hinesville, Nati and Brandie were teaching at Ranicki Chiropractic in Pooler, and Nati and Shari were teaching at Savannah Baby Co.
But we did much more than simply teach about cloth diapers. We built a community. Suddenly from believing that no one else in my town had ever even heard of cloth diapers, I found dozens of friends just as passionate about cloth as I was. We are now a 330 person group of enthusiastic cloth diaperers, at least 300 of whom are local. I love going to our Facebook group and seeing how active it is! Cute babies in fluff, questions from new cloth users, laundry problems, and the fantastic help that those people receive.
People asked for something like our for sale or trade events. So we begin hosting them. They have been a huge success! People asked for help with co-oping, so we began teaching Co-op 101 classes. Others asked for help with wool, so Jenna and Lori began teaching Wool 101 classes. They also have been a great success.
And now we find ourselves a year later from when we started. Gearing up for the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013. More and more activists have come out of the woodwork to volunteer and participate in the organization of this historic project. I just love how GCDC can inspire people to participate at a more active level in our Circle. I am really looking forward to working with all of our new volunteers. All of the volunteers who have been invaluable in 2012 got their start at volunteering for the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012.
I am very pleased to announce here to the general public for the first time that the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013 will be held at the American Legion Post 135 ballroom in savannah near Forsyth Park. This will nix last years big criticism that we weren't close enough to Earth Day Savannah. Now parents who attend Earth Day will be able to walk down the street to the American Legion and participate in the change, or at least walk around and visit our vendors. We are pitching it as a Green Baby Expo and expect at least as many families as last year which will be around 75, perhaps more.
And even more exciting news for our Low Country Real Diaper Circle sponsored table at Earth Day: we will be borrowing 2290 disposable diapers from Operation Homefront to construct a display so that Earth Day attendees will visually see how many diapers a baby goes through in just one year of their life. Juxtaposed next to this will be a small pile of reusable diapers with a sign explaining that they only cost $200, including water electric and detergent! Then a big neon sign directing them down the street to GCDC. This display will be set at Earth Day Savannah, Earth Day Fort Stewart, and Earth Day Hinesville. We could not have done this without the amazing networking and support we have built up with our local Operation Homefront chapter.
In other Circle news, we have added to our repertoire not only continued Cloth Diaper, Wool and Co-op 101 classes, but now Twitter 101 and Cloth Diaper sewing parties as well. And I am most excited to announce our consideration of separate Hinesville and Savannah support group meetings. In the past I was very afraid to separate our group until we had built the cohesion that it now boasts. Now I am not afraid to make this split. We will still meet in Richmond Hill for activist meetings and big events like this.
Now you know a little of what we have achieved in the past, what we are working on currently, and where we see our Circle heading in the future. So now I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation for some of our most invaluable volunteers.
The first volunteer I would like to thank has done so much for our club it will not even be possible for me to recount all of it to you in a single paragraph. We would be here all night! She is a cloth diapering 101 teacher, and has taught our public classes as well as many private ones. She was also one of the founding members of the Laundry Squad and has helped many mothers troubleshoot their laundry routines at home. Probably most notably she has been one of our key managers in the Cloth for Every Bum cloth diaper lending program. Although this program is separate from the Low Country Real Diaper Circle, I cannot neglect to mention her volunteer work for this project. She has single-handedly taken care of all of our collection boxes at Carter's, the Sentient Bean, and the birth center. She even put one at Dr. Ramos' office. She raised $325 for Cloth for Everybum at the last Facebook auction in November. I think you all know who I'm talking about. Congratulations to our Most Valuable Volunteer of 2012. Please accept this certificate of our appreciation for all that you have done, Natiorka Lynch.
The next volunteer who we are so grateful to have as part of our Circle, has given more in the way of financial security to our Circle than I could ever have hoped for from a fundraiser! We may thank her for the gift certificate prizes and designer cupcakes at tonight's event. As well as an upcoming advertising opportunity for our Circle, details to be announced. I am so happy to give this next certificate of appreciation to our Most Generous Donor, Marie Penix.
The next all-star advocate I would like to thank will soon be teaching Coop 101 classes with Nati. She is one of our newer volunteers but nonetheless very active and invaluable to our Circle. She has been getting us fantastic coop deals for the Cloth for Everybum program. She is also a cloth diaper 101 teacher in Savannah, at our public classes as well as giving many one-on-one classes to her friends and neighbors. I am pleased to present this certificate of appreciation to our Coop Queen, Shari Stonehouse.
Our next volunteer has been with us throughout the entire 2012 year. Beginning Her cloth diapering journey at the great cloth diaper change 2012, I am so grateful, and inspired, to have this volunteer in our Circle. She has helped me table at several info booths. And more recently has orchestrated two critical fundraisers that have brought a lot of money into our Circle's PayPal account! Please join me in thanking our Fundraiser of the Year, Dawnann Netherton.
I have one more volunteer to thank tonight. This woman wanted to work with us even at our rocky beginning. She began her journey to become an accredited cloth diaper leader through the RDA. She donated so much of her time and energy despite having a newborn baby and busy 2-year-old. She runs activist meetings, teaches 101 classes in Hinesville, and has helped tremendously to keep our Facebook group active. Her efforts behind the scenes I feel sometimes go unnoticed. But she is like the gears that make everything tick. Honestly I don't know how we could possibly have accomplished as much as we have this year without Our Most Committed Co-leader, Amy Bloss-Rodgers.
The Low Country Real Diaper Circle leaders are generous with sharing tips from their successes and insights following their struggles in support of other Real Diaper Circle Leaders. If you are interested in starting a Real Diaper Circle in your community, please read more here.