“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.”
– Mandy Hale, “The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass”
The Beaumont Parenting Program volunteer I would like to introduce you to is one of those “someones.” Bonnie Backing is a current group leader and speaker. Her first experience with the program was as a new mom when she joined a parent group with her firstborn, Maggie. Bonnie is now the proud mom of three girls: Maggie (now 4), Paige (2) and Anna (1). She and her husband Daniel are raising their trio in Troy, where Bonnie is a stay-at-home mom.
Before Bonnie was making life beautiful for her girls and the families in her groups, she was doing so for the students she taught. Shortly after her college graduation, Bonnie spent three years teaching in the Philippines. When she came home, Bonnie undertook the challenging role of special education teacher, a position she held until she decided to make little Maggie her sole student. Now Bonnie is back to teaching a larger audience as she shares her knowledge and expertise as a group speaker on the topics of Play, Learning and Reading, and Development and Temperament. She has also led two groups full of families who benefitted from her care and concern in each meeting. The BPP is not the sole recipient of Bonnie’s volunteer efforts; she is also a volunteer at her church where she acts as a buddy for a student with autism.
When Bonnie is not volunteering, and isn’t busy with her three kids (that’s probably about 90 seconds per day), she enjoys making Shutterfly books, camping, being active within her church, and reading. Her favorite book is “The Blue Sword” by Robin McKinley, and while her list of favorite children’s books is too long to share, some of them are:” The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson, “Dandelion” by Don Freeman, “Alice the Fairy” by David Shannon, “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss, and “Bubble Trouble” by Margaret Mahy. Bonnie clearly practices what she preaches when she speaks on Play Learning and Reading for parent groups! She even organized a book exchange for the last meeting. Bonnie is passing her love of books down to the next generation; her daughter Paige’s favorite thing about her mom is when they read together. Maggie’s favorite thing is also spending time with her mom but she prefers TV time together.
Like many who enjoy their time in their Beaumont Parent Group as new parents, the experience is what led Bonnie to become a volunteer for the program. Her favorite thing about being a BPP volunteer is meeting the new parents and their babies. Her advice to new parents? “You’re not alone. Find other parents who have gone through what you’re going through and can tell you how normal your struggles are.” Bonnie is able to be that parent in her dual roles as a Beaumont Parenting Program volunteer: making life beautiful for the families she sees, and for the staff as well!
– Nicole Capozello, Beaumont Parenting Program Staff