You Can’t Spoil A Baby was created in November 2011 by women’s health social worker turned stay-at-home parent, Pamela Delisle. During her time as a social worker, Pamela met diverse, inspiring and resilient families, who, for various reasons, struggled within the current social safety net to provide for their growing family’s needs. The families needed more resources and they also needed empathy during this vulnerable transition into parenthood. Despite them living in poverty and having less privilege, they wanted to know that their children would grow up in a world where they mattered. You Can’t Spoil A Baby shows families that they are valued by their community by providing them with no-strings-attached resources to help them with their baby’s first year.
You Can’t Spoil A Baby was born when Pamela needed to decide what to do with the baby clothes and items her children had outgrown. We began with two empty storage bins in an unfinished spare room, and a hopeful request sent to local parenting groups asking for their once-loved baby clothes. The bins filled, the spare room overflowed, and our volunteer-run project blossomed. Here are some highlights and milestones:
Nov. 2011 – As the requests for gifts and the volume of donations grew, we recruited a small team of volunteers from friends, family, and local parenting groups to act as drop-off locations for baby items. Welcomed a Technology Analyst to our volunteer team to assist with our technology needs.
Nov. 2011 – Defined a “Donation Coordinator” volunteer role. These volunteers accept and prepare donations at their home, and then make and deliver beautiful custom baby gifts compete with greeting card and big sibling gift.
Dec. 2011 – Launched our website, youcantspoilababy.org
April 2012 – Launched our Facebook page to connect with our fans, to reach out to potential donors, and to recruit new volunteers to our project. http://facebook.com/youcantspoilababy
Feb. 2014 – Created a low-commitment “Make One Gift” volunteer position. Once matched to a family in need, these volunteers assemble and deliver gifts from items they have personally collected or from our pool of donated items. This second gift-making strategy allows us to help more families, and provides an opportunity for volunteers from schools, businesses, and families to help our project on a one-time basis.
May 2015– Launched a private Facebook page for volunteer coordination. This tool helps us to streamline our team communication, collaborate, and helps our team to bond.
May 2015 – Added an interactive online map to our website, identifying our Manitoba-wide individual and business drop-spot locations. This helps donors to find the most convenient location to deliver their donations.
May 2016 – Welcomed a part-time volunteer Facebook Administrator and a Match Coordinator to our team of approx. 50 core volunteers.
May 2016 – Introduced a request-management system to our gift fulfillment process. This tool streamlines the process of matching gift applicants to donors, and provides us with data to measure our project’s performance.
Oct. 2016 – Issued youcantspoilababy.org email addresses to our volunteers, and single-sign-on across our technology tools.
Jan. 2017 – Raised funds to begin the process of registering as a charity with Revenue Canada.
Our team is extremely proud of our progress and growth over our 5+ years. We acknowledge that our work could not have been done if it weren’t for the bravery and strength of the gift applicants who made themselves vulnerable by asking for help. Our vibrant team is motivated 365 days a year to find ways to keep up with our growing waiting list. We believe that every baby deserves an equal start and that all parents deserve to ask for help without judgement. Thank you for your interest in our work!
MEANING BEHIND OUR NAME
The name of the project was inspired by a social work client of Founder, Pamela Delisle’s. This new mother shared a story of how every time she heard her baby cry from his crib, the baby’s grandmother would say to her, “Don’t go in there every time he cries. If you do, you will spoil him.” Her mothering instincts told her to go to her child every time, pick him up and soothe him. Yet the grandmother sounded so confident in her advice to leave the baby cry, the mother didn’t know what to do.
Our name was chosen to remind parents that responding to their baby’s emotional needs immediately, consistently, and in a loving, compassionate way will help their baby grow into a secure child and adult. Our name also hopes to encourage our supporters to give generously so we can provide all babies on our waiting list with an equal start.
You Can’t Spoil A Baby hopes parents will:
- Be kind and patient with themselves while getting used to life with their new baby;
- Make time to get to know their baby;
- Allow their baby to depend on them day and night;
- Hold and soothe their baby as much as they can; and
- Trust their baby and their parenting instincts because… You Can’t Spoil A Baby!