We’ve all heard clichés about the far-reaching effects of small things: Drop a pebble in the middle of a pond and watch the ripples reach out to the shore. When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, it can cause a storm across the globe.
But there is no doubt that this “butterfly effect” is very real, and can be seen every day in the Beaumont Parenting Program. A seemingly small decision in one family ends up touching countless lives. Such is the case with BPP volunteer Wendy MacKenzie.
Almost 11 years ago, Wendy was offered the opportunity to be part of a parenting group through the BPP when her first child was born. She decided to join, and that experience “was so invaluable to [her] that [she] knew [she] wanted to assist in creating that sense of community for other first-time parents.” So Wendy became a BPP volunteer.
Throughout her 10 years of volunteering with the program, she held the roles of Group Leader, Tour Guide, Parenting Partner, and currently, Office Volunteer. And in that time, Wendy’s efforts to create that sense of community she felt with her daughter’s group created the butterfly effect of a warm touch to innumerable families. As the ripples in the pond hit the shore and rebound back to the pebble, so does the feeling of community Wendy spreads comes back to her. She told me a story of a family she had guided on a hospital tour stopping her at Target and thanking her for her assistance. She said that contact “gave her a high for the rest of the day.” I am absolutely certain that Wendy spread that high to every person she came into contact with that day, with a kind word or an engaging smile – thereby strengthening that sense of community even more.
Wendy is the mother of four children: Caitlin (10), James (8), Charles (3) and Margaret (1). She lives in Beverly Hills with her husband, Greg, and their kids. Wendy enjoys scrapbooking, photography and reading. Her favorite book is “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger and her favorite children’s book is “The Girl with the Silver Eyes” by Willo Davis Roberts. She describes herself as a “crazed” fantasy football fan with an impressive winning record. She also enjoys game night with her kids, especially “Exploding Kittens” (which I really have to go find because with a name like that, it has to be fun!).
I like to ask volunteers to find out what their kids’ favorite thing about them as a parent is. Out of the mouths of babes, Wendy’s kids answered: “I like when you talk to me,” (Charlie, 3). “You have nice, dark brown hair,” (James, 8) and “You are almost always there for us. I mean, sometimes you’re not home.” (Caitlin, 10). Well, Caitlin, it’s clear that when your Mom’s not home, she’s being there for the BPP and its families. So thanks for sharing your Mom’s butterfly wings!
– Nicole Capozello, Parenting Program Volunteer