WE ARE RDA: A Celebration of School of Cloth Volunteers

WE ARE RDA: A Celebration of School of Cloth Volunteers

It's been so active lately at RDA that I needed to take a break this evening while my husband was at hockey and the kids are in bed to tell you about all the amazing work being done behind-the-scenes by Real Diaper Association volunteers.  Because RDA is not some faceless entity. It's a goal to which many people are contributing. And they should be recognized for the part they're playing.  And maybe you can be inspired to add your strengths to the effort. Here's Part 1 about the School of Cloth.

When I heard about "Real Nappy Week" in England, I was, frankly, jealous. I couldn't believe they were able to pull together an entire industry - an entire MOVEMENT - to spend a whole week educating the people of the country about cloth diapers.  WOW!  As it turns out, I wasn't the only one who was so inspired.  Over the past few years, tens of thousands of people in the US - - and even around the world - - have shown their commitment to our shared goal of increasing the practice of cloth diapering in their communities through their organization of and participation in local Great Cloth Diaper Change events.  Many of those people expressed their desire for more opportunities to educate about cloth diapers.  The School of Cloth, a month full of cloth diaper education events, came from those desires, and, appropriately, it's happening with the energy of some amazing volunteers and sponsors.

I want to mention sponsors only briefly here. Many readers (like myself) might skip right over a thank you of sponsors, thinking  that it's just an obligatory mention.  However, I recognize that our donors give with their hearts to this shared mission, and the fact that they have the courage and generosity to match that gift with their wallets makes me sincerely grateful.  Their enthusiasm for and commitment to the School of Cloth really set it up for success. The volunteers below are carrying it through... 

Janice Roodsari - Janice, a Real Diaper Circle Leader from Ventura, CA, volunteered to "help" with social media for the School of Cloth - - and wound up running a major social media campaign. We've co-written some things about cloth diapering and she's so engaged in all of our conversations that she has developed into a trusted writer for an organization that is very careful with our words.  Janice is posting or organizing us in all our Facebook posts this month. Notice how active we've been? Janice knows what the Real Diaper Association has to offer the world and she's making it visible to the people who need it.

Cheri Chapman and Lisa Dunne - Lisa is a new volunteer who offered her marketing skillset toward our mission. We started talking about social media just before School of Cloth started and really solidified the vision for a social media calendar. Cheri has also been more recently engaged and her enthusiasm for a highly engaged social media presence made that vision even more grandiose - - but still do-able.  Of course, Cheri offered her assistance in executing the vision she helped to grow and Lisa will be analyzing our work afterwards to help us develop a solid, usable longer term social media plan.  Janice is thanking them both - ha!

Calley Pate and Kelly's Closet - Calley's record for ALWAYS helping when asked -- and in a big way -- remains unbroken with this project. The vision of online education to match the in-person education happening from our School of Cloth hosts seemed best coordinated through a blog ring where we could bring together all the brightest voices on the topic to really reach cloth diapering deeply into our communities.  Calley put the blog ring all together, spread the word, and continues to lead it on new topics each week.  And Kelly's Closet?  When one person (who shall remain unnamed - ahem, gulp) neglected to consider the actual costs of shipping all the cloth diaper donations out to winners and charities, Calley asked and long-time RDA supporter Bobbi-Jean Palmer immediately sent us PayPal funds.

Bloggers Participating in the School of Cloth Blog Ring -  Each of them take hours of their week to offer their best advice and wisdom to help more families find and use reusable cloth diapers.  AND to "linky" them into the ring.  The last of which I am quite certain I would not be able to do.

Amber Lawrence-Whitted and Julie Ham - Amber and Julie, co-leaders of the Real Diaper Circle of Wayne County, NC, have received the thousands of dollars of donations from our sponsors (can you imagine how much space $5000 worth of cloth diapering supplies might take up?), photographed it all, and thanked the sponsors.  But their job isn't done - - now they'll have to repackage it for winners and for the cloth diaper charities that the winners chose, package it up, and ship it all back out again.  And not lose anything.  With kids around.  This would not happen in my house.

Priscilla Román and Amy Bloss-Rodgers - Amy's the leader of the Low Country Real Diaper Circle and Priscilla is training to join her. Priscilla is taking all the host information from EventBrite (where they register to participate) and putting it into map markers so that it appears on the School of Cloth page for families to find -- then making all the required changes requested by hosts.  Amy is adding those hosts to a Facebook group and supporting them with anything they need to run new and exciting classes in their communities this month.  She adds such value in this role, sharing her experience with the wide variety of classes that she and local volunteers run in their Circle every month.

Cindi Effenberger - Another leader in training, Cindi is handling the daily intake of participant submissions to the drawing, including making sure we have safe backups.  This role is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the overall event, so Cindi's prompt attention to detail is incredibly valued.

Forty-one School of Cloth Hosts - All these volunteers across the US and Canada are planning and running classes in their community -- teaching in the School of Cloth on the ground. I can't wait to see the pictures from these events (coming soon, says Janice and Cheri!)! This is what some of us are doing together this week on one project to facilitate more cloth diapering.  Watch this space to find out what others are doing.  Join your talents here.

Grateful and energized to work with you all,

Heather McNamara
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

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