Posts Tagged 'volunteer profile'

The face of Beaumont Parenting: Kimberly Aneiros

mom, dad and young daughter

Kim with her husband and daughter

This blog series has featured many great Beaumont Parenting Program volunteers. Every one of them are members of our local community and chose to give their time and talents to support new Beaumont parents in myriad ways. Today’s volunteer is also talented, giving and supportive. She is assisting new parents with the sometimes-difficult transition into parenthood by serving as an Individual Family Support volunteer. In that role, she communicates with new moms through calls, emails and texts — providing the encouragement and listening ear that new parents so often need. The difference for today’s special volunteer is that she is doing it from out-of-state.

Kimberly Aneiros is a 32-year-old mother of two-and-a-half-year-old Isabelle. Shortly after Isabelle was born, Kimberly and her husband Jeff moved to Chicago from Michigan. That move placed the new family away from the support of their family and friends. Add to that a baby with colic and Kimberly’s suffering from postpartum depression, she truly needed a helping hand. She got that help from the BPP in the form of individual family support.

It was the assistance that Kimberly received that led her to become a volunteer for the BPP herself. Now she reaches out across Lake Michigan to pay back the community that helped her adjust to motherhood across the miles.

Before Isabelle was born, Kimberly worked in human resources. Now she is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading, movies and cooking. Kimberly is such a fan of reading that she could not name one favorite book, but rather recommended “Night” by Elie Wiesel, “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri, and “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi for adults. For kids, some of Kimberly’s favorites are “The Crown on Your Head,” “Jamberry,” “Love You Forever,” “Llama Llama Red Pajama,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Despite all those books, Isabelle’s favorite thing about her mom is not story time, but rather when her mom smothers her in kisses!

Kimberly says that she enjoys volunteering for the BPP because she loves connecting with other moms. She loves reassuring them that they are doing a good job, that “they’ve got this!” She finds it helpful just to listen to the families she supports and let them know that they are not alone.

Because Jeff works out-of-state, Kimberly and Isabelle only see him on the weekends, so they like to make the most of those. Kimberly watches Isabelle squeal with delight every time her dad gets home, and then they share time at the zoo, the park, at church and walking to get donuts. Every weekend Jeff also watches Finding Dory with Isabelle — which I imagine reminds Kimberly of advice she gives and received through the BPP — just keep swimming! (Just maybe not in that lake as winter approaches!)

– Nicole Capozello is Parenting Program staff.

The Face of Beaumont Parenting: Chris Purtell

grandmother with 2 granddaughters

Chris with her granddaughters Lily (12) and Amelia (10)

What does a Beaumont Health nurse do when she retires but still wants to continue serving the families she cared for on the Mother Baby Care unit in Royal Oak? She becomes a volunteer for the Beaumont Parenting Program, of course. Today I’d like you to meet Chris Purtell, a volunteer group speaker for the BPP.

Chris is a 70-year-old widow and mother of two. Her daughters Melissa and Laura are 43 and 41 respectively. Chris lives in Royal Oak where she enjoys gardening, crossword puzzles, travelling, and spending time at the pool with her family. While she enjoys that family time, she confided that she is “quite happy” to go places on her own. In addition, Chris enjoys reading so much so that when asked her favorite book, she responded, “almost all of them.” Her favorite children’s book was easier to narrow down; she loves the story about sharing called “Rainbow Fish,” which is beautifully written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister. Chris volunteers as a zoo ambassador, as well as gives time to her church and local school. She also works as a part-time medical skills instructor.

Chris is very close to her daughters and says that they are her role models. When asked what their favorite thing about their mom is, her girls said that she loves them unconditionally and always has their backs. Clearly, that is a street of mutual admiration that travels both ways.

Ten years ago, Chris chose to volunteer for the BPP because she was introduced to them through her work as a Beaumont nurse. She says that the program does “wonderful, glorious things for families.” Chris encourages new parents by exhorting them to relax, reminding them of the phrase, “The days may seem long, but the years are short.” As it is for many of the BPP volunteers, her favorite thing about being a BPP volunteer is “the babies, of course.”

Through her volunteer work with the BPP and its families, Chris learned that she was able to continue her life’s work beyond her retirement. And in so doing, she does wonderful and glorious things for families. Thanks for all you do, Chris!

– Nicole Capozello, Parenting Program volunteer

The Face of Beaumont Parenting: Nichole Rozier and Tonya Davis

close-ups of two women

Nichole Rozier (L) and Tonya Davis make a great team when it comes to leading groups.

I would like introduce you to our dynamic duo. These two amazing Beaumont Parenting Program volunteers who have teamed up to co-lead a number of single moms groups for the BPP.

Tonya Davis and Nichole Rozier first met when they were members of a Single Moms group back when they had their first children. Both women felt the pull that many group members experience to give back to the program and to encourage and educate other new moms. When asked what they enjoyed most about being group leaders, both Tonya and Nichole emphasized that they loved being able to listen to the moms in their groups, oftentimes when those moms felt that no one else in their lives were doing that.

two portraits of young boys

Tonya’s boys are Sebastian (left) and Mason.

Tonya, 26, has two boys: 3-and-a-half-year-old Sebastian and 8-month-old Mason. In addition to volunteering for the BPP, Tonya attends college, works for Ford Motor Co., and volunteers for the social justice department at her school. She loves the book “Goodnight Moon” for her children, but has little time to read for herself beyond her textbooks. A self-identified tomboy, Tonya enjoys taking her kids to the park and the zoo with her partner, Brian. With all that this busy mom has on her plate, it’s little wonder that she identifies her hobby as getting a good night’s sleep! Tonya’s advice to other parents is to trust themselves. Remember that no one knows your child better than you do, so don’t let anyone else make decisions for your child, even the most well-intentioned grandmothers! She also likes to pass on the advice she received as a new mom: Enjoy your children because they grow up so fast!

mom and young son

Nichole with son Anthony

Nichole is a 31-year-old mom to 3-year-old Anthony who shared that he loves when his mom buys him new trains. Nichole also has a baby girl on the way due next year. (Congratulations!) This dedicated volunteer has a very long history of community service; she started volunteering with her family when she was 14! Before leading a parent group, she helped the BPP as an Individual Family Support caller and also lends a hand at the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit. Nichole is a student like Tonya and worked for the State of Michigan before having her son. Nichole and her partner enjoy taking Anthony to the zoo and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Describing her work for the BPP, Nichole eloquently said that “becoming a volunteer with the BPP was one of the easiest decisions [she’s] ever made. As a participant in the Single Moms group, [she] learned a vast amount of information about parenthood, formed amazing bonds with other moms, and realized that [she] was not alone when facing the challenges of being a new mom. [She] knew from that point on that [she] wanted to provide that same experience and support to other mothers.”

It is easiest to sum up the positivity and empowerment that Nichole and Tonya bring to the families they support by reading their favorite quotes. Nichole expresses drive and hope when she encourages other moms to “never say never!” Tonya reminds families of their blessings and encourages a positive outlook by reminding moms that “there is no such thing as a better life than yours.” With their listening ears, combined talents, and supportive spirits, Nichole and Tonya provide both invaluable service to their families, and powerful link between the volunteers who guided them through the beginning of motherhood, and the many families who they are guiding in turn.

– Nicole Capozello, Parenting Program volunteer

The Face of Beaumont Parenting: Aimee Cisler

woman with mountain backdrop

There is one thing that all of the volunteers for the Beaumont Parenting Program have in common. You might immediately think that would be that they are parents, but that’s not it. It’s passion. The men and women who give their time to benefit the BPP and its families are all passionate. For some, their passion is service; for others, it’s children. And for others, it’s the program itself. The next volunteer I’d like you to meet is passionate about helping others suffering with postpartum depression and mood disorders. Her name is Aimee Cisler.

Aimee, 27, resides in the city of Detroit with her husband Andy. In her day job, she is a social worker for a mother-infant program at American Indian Health and Family Services. In her volunteer work with the BPP, she previously served in the role of hospital tour leader, but she currently aids families as an Individual Family Support caller.

She goes above and beyond in that role by offering to meet with her IFS families in person; Aimee finds she can make an even better connection to her families face to face. She goes on to say that “it feels really rewarding to be able to answer moms’ questions and affirm their choices as a parent. It’s a scary and exciting time and [she] hopes it helps them to know there’s someone like [her] in their corner!” In addition to volunteering for the BPP, Aimee also “lead[s] the Detroit Perinatal Wellness Coalition on a volunteer basis; it’s a gathering of parents and professionals working to create better supports for parents with postpartum mood disorders.” Clearly, Aimee has found ways, through both work and volunteering, to pursue her passion.

In her free time, Aimee likes to read (her favorite book is “Catcher in the Rye”), spend time with her pets, and run and walk. She is a big believer in the physical and mental health benefits of walking. Among her favorite places to get outside and exercise are Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut in downtown Detroit. In 2014, Aimee once again exhibited her passion for the important things in her life when she quit her job and spent three months backpacking in Europe. This trip was a demonstration of Aimee’s favorite quote: “I go to seek the great perhaps”. These were the last words of poet Francois Rabelais, and it is a sentiment more recently embraced by popular author John Green. Aimee has embraced this philosophy as well, even getting the words as a tattoo.

In closing, I’d like to share Aimee’s advice to new parents. When asked this question, it is unsurprising that her message illustrated her passion for helping those with postpartum mood disorders. Aimee would “love all parents to know that it’s OK to not feel super happy all the time. It’s OK to be tired and frustrated, or even sometimes bored! If you aren’t feeling like yourself, talk to a friend, your partner, or your doctor, and they’ll help you get back to feeling good again.”

We’d like to thank Aimee for being one of those friends to BPP families!

– Nicole Capozello is a Parenting Program volunteer.

The Face of Beaumont Parenting: Danielle Rumple

mom, dad and little girl

Danielle with her husband, Steve, and their daughter, Gabrielle.

Volunteers come to the Beaumont Parenting Program via many different paths, but one common avenue that brings people to the role is having participated in the program as a new parent. It speaks volumes about the BPP that so many families who reap the benefits of community and support from participating in the program, turn around to sow the seeds of love and friendship by giving back to their community as a Beaumont Parenting Program volunteer. One such person is Danielle Rumple.

Danielle, 33, and Steve are raising their 2-year-old daughter Gabrielle in Birmingham. Prior to becoming a mom, Danielle worked as a director at the Detroit Regional Chamber. Though she returned to work briefly after Gabrielle was born, Danielle decided to change her path to become a stay-at-home mom. Danielle enjoys working out, baking, and spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys reading; her favorite books are “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo, and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. For children, she recommends Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff, but spends time every week at the library with her daughter reading books and looking for new favorites.

Danielle currently serves two roles for the BPP: a group leader (leading her third group!) and a speaker on baby sign language. Danielle learned about baby sign language with her daughter when she participated in a daytime moms group with Gabrielle. She continues to sign with her daughter, and decided to take the opportunity to share her knowledge with other participants in the program. As part of her role guiding new parents through their journey, Danielle encourages them to “appreciate each day with their child. The days are slow and sometimes quite exhausting but the years go very fast.” Danielle is grateful that she documents her daughter’s days on film and video because she has changed so much in her two short years.

woman on Wheel of Fortune

In addition to volunteering for the BPP, Danielle volunteers with Girls on the Run, “a YMCA program designed to inspire young girls to be confident and healthy through practices and training for a 5K.” Additionally, she is a group exercise instructor at the Birmingham YMCA. Danielle is also a bit of a celebrity, as she was recently a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. She came in second, but says that she had a blast.

We don’t need to buy a vowel to solve the puzzle of Danielle’s role with the BPP. The garden she is cultivating with those seeds of love and friendship comes in first place with the Beaumont Parenting Family.

– Nicole Capozello is a Parenting Program volunteer.

The Face of Beaumont Parenting: Lillian Stier

mom, dad and twin boys

Lillian Stier with husband, Eric, and twins Zachary and Jackson

Winston Churchill said, “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” So when Lillian Stier became a stay-at-home mom, you can say that she was no longer making a living, but she was most definitely making a life. She is also making the lives of those around her much better by her efforts as a mom and as a Beaumont Parenting Program volunteer.

Lillian is a registered nurse who is currently staying home full time to raise her twin boys, Zachary and Jackson, age 3. She and her family live in Troy, Michigan, where Lillian volunteers as a Parenting Partner in the Beaumont NICU. As a Parenting Partner, she teaches parenting skills to new parents, such as bathing and swaddling, thereby providing help to both the new parents and the nursing staff. Lillian is uniquely qualified for this position because of her experience as a nurse, but also due to her experience as a NICU parent with her boys.

She became a volunteer for the BPP “to be able to offer support to other new parents. Adjusting to parenthood can be very overwhelming and being able to talk to someone who understands can be helpful. [She] remembers being a parent in the NICU when Zachary and Jackson were born and [she was] so grateful for all the support and care that [she] received. [She] wanted to be able to give back in any way that [she] could, even if it was just making a difference to one parent.” Lillian has made a difference to more than one parent, and plans to reach even more new families by becoming a group leader for the BPP. The role of a group leader is to organize a group of new parents and facilitate meetings for them and their babies where expert speakers give helpful information, parents offer invaluable support to one another, and children make their first friends.

In addition to being a mom and a BPP volunteer, Lillian also volunteers for Kensington Community Church. In her spare time (which I’m sure there can’t be much of with all of the hats she is wearing), Lillian enjoys knitting, tennis, swimming with her family, and drinking coffee (which is no doubt a necessity to accomplish everything else she enjoys). Lillian thinks many would be surprised to know that she is fluent in Cantonese, which she is teaching her children, and that she was born in Hong Kong. Her favorite book is “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, and her kids’ favorite things about her are her hugs and kisses.

Lillian found, as so many BPP volunteers have, that she gets back as much as she gives to the program, and told me that she’s grateful for the connection to one parent she was helping who turned around and helped her through a difficult time. She would like to tell new parents, “You are doing the best that you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because being a new parent is hard! Also, make sure you take time for yourself. I can better take care of my kids when I take care of myself; it makes me a better mom. “

After all, making a life is hard work. And everyone in the BPP family thanks Lillian for her efforts at making hers, and theirs, a better one.

– Nicole Capozello is a Parenting Program volunteer.

The Face of Beaumont Parenting: Christie Neely

Selfie of Christie Neely

Boonaa Mohammed said, “A good way to forget your troubles is to help others out of theirs.”. So I thought the Beaumont Parenting Program volunteer I would like you to meet next is Christie Neely.

When Christie’s adult children moved out, they left “a large empty gap” in her life. While dealing with the difficult adjustment of an empty nest, she decided, along with her friend and coworker, to “do something . . . that would allow [them] to make a difference in the lives of people.” Rather than dwelling on the ever-changing emotions involved in her situation, Christie chose to become a volunteer for the BPP, where she has served as a group leader, a hearing screener, and a parenting partner. She recently became a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, which will give her even more tools to be able to help the families of the BPP.

Christie has been a BPP volunteer for almost four years. She is married to her husband, Mike, with whom she has two children: Corissa (27) and Nick (24). In addition to her volunteer service, she works as a sales coordinator at Intraco Corp.. In her spare time, this Rochester Hills resident likes to do anything outdoors, including camping, kayaking and hiking. Something many may not know about Christie is that she is a member of the Detroit Fly House aerial acrobatic family. She finds the other members of the Detroit Fly House supportive and encouraging — which is how the BPP families who  benefited from Christie’s time and efforts would describe her!

I asked Christie if she had any bits of favorite advice to share with new families. She said that she would tell them to “relax and enjoy it. So much pressure is put on parents to be perfect in the eyes of others. Families need to accept that what is good for them may not be good for others and it is OK.” When asked what her favorite part about being a BPP volunteer was, she replied, “Helping the new families navigate the crazy world of being new parents.”

In closing, I would like to share Christie’s favorite quote from Dodinsky: “I do not judge people by the scriptures of their faith, or the scars from their past, I embrace them by the content of their hearts.” As we judge Christie on the content of her heart, we find that the BPP is fortunate to have her as a dedicated volunteer, and the families that she helps are very blessed indeed to have this empty nester help them with the feathering of their own new roosts.

– Nicole Capozello, Parenting Program volunteer


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