WHWB “In The Beginning”
Sometimes the smallest things can mean a lot to a family that has suffered the loss of a child. Sometimes deciding what outfit a premature baby will wear that day is the only thing a mother can do for her child in an incubator too tiny to thrive in the outside world. And sometimes these painful experiences lead to something extraordinary, like an organization that can help meet these needs.
In 1996, after giving birth to a tiny 8 inch, 4-ounce baby, Victoria Swain found that the hospital was not equipped to clothe or provide even a blanket for her tiny stillborn infant. Driven by the knowledge that there was a need to be filled here, she looked for a way to fill that need. After contacting another program that did these sorts of things in another state, she began recruiting Colorado volunteers and collecting materials to make donations to hospitals that had the need for these tiny specialty items.
After spending a couple of years under the tutelage of another group, Newborns in Need – Missouri, the board members at that time voted to arrange for a standalone 501(c)3 organization to serve Colorado’s tiniest citizens. In July of 2000, Warm Hearts-Warm Babies was officially its own entity. From approximately 60 volunteers and lots of warm hearts, the organization has grown to what it is today, with approximately 600 volunteers, serving over 50 agencies and individuals across Colorado.
“There weren’t really any huge struggles in the beginning. It seemed like God was definitely guiding our every step. Board members stepped up and donated money, postage, and materials. We seemed to meet the people that made the things happen that we needed at the time. From an Arvada volunteer, with a doll clothes business who donated shelves and tons of fabric including 5 giant rolls of pink calico that still shows up in quilts. To Kristi, a volunteer whose husband is a lawyer that did our 501(c)3 paperwork pro bono, not to mention the local propane company that filled a propane tank at the Brighton Baby House as a donation, things always seemed to get done.
Our early baby house in two storage units, then a baby house in a trailer out in the country in Brighton, a basement space in Brighton next to Curves owned by one of our volunteers, where we had to schlep all our stuff up and down the stairs for work meetings and deliveries. Next, in a small studio apartment in Brighton, an empty house in Brighton, one last trailer in Brighton before the current location in Arvada. It seems like every time it was time for a move, God intervened and we found the best place to move to.
The first donation was made to Platte Valley Medical Center. We donated 100 items, and each “layette” had a receiving blanket, a gown, bib, booties, and a hat. In the early days, it was mostly Victoria Swain, Pat Moore, Dolores Bohlmeyer, Effie Moore, and Carol Criswell our first board members who organized our “first” volunteers and started workgroups”
Victoria volunteered with the WHWB Rocky Mountain group in Georgetown for several years. She is now newly married and living in Minnesota.
Every group of “volunteers” needs a leader with a vision. Victoria Swain was our first and she is…One of God’s Mothers.