MOMS Orange County Encourages Dads to Help with Baby #AwareMomsOC

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For the last 24 years Moms Orange County has been helping underserved moms in Orange County have healthy babies.  The Santa Ana-based organization serves 3,500 mothers a year and the proficient staff of 30 make 19,500 in-home visits  a year to expecting women and new moms throughout Orange County.

“We build our programs around what our mothers have told us they need and one thing we heard from them is they wanted the dads to be more involved,” said Pam Pimentel, CEO of MOMS Orange County. Out of this need the Workshop for Fathers was born.

At Moms Orange County they believe that if they can help the father understand and embrace the role of being an active, supportive and loving father, then they are changing the world one family at a time. Five hundred fathers have  graduated from the workshop since it began and they have their eye on expanding its reach. The workshops are offered only in Spanish at this time, but they are looking to add classes in Vietnamese and Farsi.

Focus on the dad
Research has shown that the things we knew instinctively and intuitively are true. One of the best predictors of if a pregnancy has a healthy outcome is whether or not the father is involved. Though the focus is helping moms at MOMS Orange County about fourteen years ago they began offering Workshops for fathers on Saturday mornings or Tuesday nights.

The workshops include expecting dads who are joined by “veteran” dads who help and assist the new dads.

What happens in the Workshop for Fathers

– The dads talk about what to expect during pregnancy and after the baby comes.

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– They learn how to diaper a baby

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– They practice giving baby a bath

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– They learn about the dangers of shaking a baby

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Most importantly expectant and new dads can talk about their feelings, fear and victories that come with being a dad.

Interview with the teacher of the Workshop for Dads, Juan Diego, Director of Health Education at MOMS Orange County.

How did you start teaching the class?

When my wife was pregnant I wanted to learn how to be a good father. I didn’t have a father and I feel like it is very important. I wanted to change that for my kids. I’m a normal father, but just the best father I can be day to day. Every time I come here and teach, as a father, I also learn something. Every time. I can share my experience with these fathers.

Do you think most of the dads that come here didn’t have a good role model?

No, I think probably 90 percent of them didn’t have a dad or maybe not an emotional connection with their father.

Do you think the men come on their own or do their wives make them come at first?

In the Latino culture it is hard to convince dads to be more involved. But we want to change that. Many dads want to change. That is why they come to the workshop. I always tell them, “you know what, the mom, the dad and the baby, you’re a team. If you don’t work as a team it will be harder.”

Do you have trouble sometime getting dads to open up and talk?

Sometimes they are here but they’re not 100 percent sure why they are here. They may look at me at the beginning of the workshop with an angry face. But after the workshop is over many men come into my office to say ‘thank you’ or ask me more questions. Some dads come a second or third times.

It’s easy for me because I create a connection with them. I’m a part of what happens here.

Enter to Win a Shopping Spree!

Because MOMS Orange County values the role of fathers they would like to reward them with this fun giveaway. Enter to win a $300 gift certificate at Fodada.com.

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WIN! $150 to give to an OC nonprofit #iheartOC

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Do you *heart* Orange County?

As a native to this fine county, I sure do! The Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) is holding the first ever countywide GIVING DAY on April 21-22. During a 30-hour period Orange County can give to one of 340 pre-approved nonprofits in hopes that we can collectively raise $2 million. It is kind of, sorta of, like an online telethon.

Leading up to that day, OCCF is giving away $150 to three winners! These winners will be given $150 to grant to the nonprofit of their choice. (Gift cards will be in $25 increments.) For all the rules and more information, go here.

Sounds pretty good, right? You could win a tax-deductible donation to give to, let’s say, The Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Alzheimer’s Association: OC Chapter, Angel Cat Pet Adoptions or Free Wheelchair Mission, just to name a few of the more that 340 participating in Giving Day.

Please take the time to enter! The giveaway ends on April 20 at 8 a.m. so don’t put it off!

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New video plus, how much do you know about Children’s Hospital of Orange County?

I’m putting a lot of work recently into my videos for OC Family and I’m having a blast making them and I’m getting to meet some incredible Orange County people in the process.  In this new one from CHOC Night at the Honda Center I worked with the ever-patient Bryce from Post Fifth Pictures for the new intro & the shooting and editing.   I really feel like the look and the feeling of these segments are coming together.  With every new one, I get more excited about the series.

Take a look…there are some shots from the Ducks locker room where a CHOC Patient and his family gets to meet some of the players.  So great. I tried to make the piece fun and light to capture the feeling of the night. We also tried mixing my FLIP footage with the other camera footage.

And speaking of meeting incredible OC People, Pam De Jong, who is CHOC’s Marketing Manager, is a friend of mine and fellow blogger.  A few days ago Pam took me on a tour of Children’s Hospital of Orange County and I was, to say the very least, astonished at the amount of work CHOC does for our community and our children.

Like most Orange County-ians, I wasn’t crystal clear on why CHOC was having to raise money. In my (small) mind a hospital is supported by its patients and the insurance companies that pay them. CHOC is actually a non-profit.  I feel at little stupid even admitting that, but it’s not a world I think of very often because my children haven’t need anything more than stitches there.

Did you know that CHOC NEVER turns away a child? Ever! Did you know that 60% of the kids they treat don’t have medical insurance? They spent over $190,000,000 last year on treating kids for everything from cancer to broken arms. Did you know that CHOC is Orange County’s ONLY all Children’s hospital–treating kids from birth to age 21? CHOC saw 200,000 kids come through their doors last year and treated each one, again, regardless of whether the family was able to pay.

After my tour I told Pam I felt overwhelmed and a little silly not knowing the impact CHOC had on our community. She said I was like a lot of people, “They don’t really know about CHOC until they need it.”

Well, I’m joining Pam in helping to change that, stay tuned! More to come.  I’m not being overly dramatic (who, me?) when I say I believe CHOC is one of Orange County’s greatest resources.

The Anaheim Ducks organization has figured this out already and have partnered with CHOC in fundraising and building their own wing. I snapped these photos when I was walking through with Pam. Again, hockey players (and their wives) they’re the best…

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Come walk in support The Down Syndrome Association of Orange County

One of my favorite things about  Facebook is reconnecting with people that I knew and liked, say 20 years ago, but had lost touch with.  Scott is a perfect example of a good Facebook re-Friending experience.  He and I worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken together and, for a brief time, we were friends.  (Read about our KFC days here. Warning: includes gross biscuit / bandaid story.)

Mostly what I remember about Scott was him instigating some pretty wicked chicken skin food fights at closing time, his fun spirit, and all of us hanging out at Bob’s Big Boy after work. Here is Scott at Bob’s in Huntington Beach–oh, about two decades ago.

**sigh Bob’s Big Boy**

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Once Scott and I reconnected, we instantly hit-it-off Facebook style: spastically giving each other the thumbs up and commenting on each other’s obscure ’80s references and status updates laden with sarcasm and cheer.  

Scott  has a daughter, named Sadie, who was born with Down Syndrome.  I’ve never met her before, or any of Scott’s family for that matter, but can’t help but LOVE this little girl.  Just look at her…

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My family and I are walking with Scott’s family on Nov. 8th at Angeles Stadium for the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County’s Buddy Walk.  After the actual walk portion of the event, we get to hang out on the field and in the dugouts, eat hot dogs AND, guess who is the musical guest?….you’re never going to guess…go ahead, try…give up?  The English Beat will be performing on the field! The English Beat!

How fitting.

 

If you want to join Sadie’s team and walk with us, please head over to the Team Page for the details and sign up. We promise not to start a food fight. (Right Scott?).  Or, if you just want to sponsor me you can do that by going to my MY WEBPAGE  on the DSA/OC’ web site. 

God Bless Facebook and all its wonderful powers.