What makes the Real Diaper Association special?

What makes the Real Diaper Association special?

Did you know that the Real Diaper Association celebrates 10 years of supporting cloth diaper advocacy this year? We would like to celebrate this milestone by sharing more about how and why the RDA does what it does. I encourage you to visit RealDiaperEvents.org frequently over the remainder of 2014 to learn about our Real Diaper Circle Leader training, our founders and volunteers, ongoing projects, community outreach, how being part of the RDA has helped volunteers in other aspects of their lives, cloth diaper education, other related non-profits, donors, ongoing projects, RDA fundraising and how that money has been spent to advocate for the use of cloth diapers!

I find the Real Diaper Association to be a special and unique organization. The RDA was founded by Lori Taylor and was built with the understanding that in order to have volunteers that functioned well together and could be trusted to hear the needs of those interested in using cloth diapers without alienating them or stomping on their feelings, a powerful communication tool would be needed.

Prior to launching the RDA, Lori had been asked to hold communication training by the administrators of a mothering forum board where communication had gotten out of control. We often see this happen (especially on the internet) when sensitive parenting topics come up in discussions. Parenting is a touchy subject and no one likes to think they are doing it wrong! Discussing parenting topics requires compassion, clarity, the ability to be firm without apology and without labels, so that the parent expressing a need doesn’t feel attacked or judged but, instead, understands that advocates are available to listen to their needs and find the tools parents require to meet their parenting needs.

The founding board members of the RDA knew that if they were going to send advocates out into local communities as RDA representatives, they would need to prepare them with tools to:

  • make observations (not judgments) without stomping on the feelings of others
  • hear a person’s feelings and understand their own feelings
  • hear a person’s needs and be able to voice their own needs
  • hear a person’s request – even when that request isn’t clearly stated
  • clarify needs and requests when needed
  • make requests so that mutual goals and personal needs can be met
  • and, finally, to be compassionate in their advocacy work

Janice trying on her giraffe ears (listening from the heart) at NVC training

While there are several tools available to accomplish these goals, the RDA choose to use the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD, in their training.  Did Lori and the other founding board members have any idea that using a tool like compassionate communication would help the RDA function as well as it does? Did they know that many of their volunteers would continue to be a part of the RDA long past the time their own children were in diapers because of the friendly and professional atmosphere created by such strong communication tools? They didn’t realize how compassionate communication would reach into every interaction, making the Real Diaper Association a truly special grassroots organization – at least, that’s how I feel about it!


Janice Roodsari

Janice Roodsari, is a Real Diaper Circle Leader teaching free cloth diapering classes to her community monthly. She is an RDA Board Member, wife, stay at home mother to twins, registered nurse and is currently in training to become a certified birth educator.

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