Monday, November 11, 2013

Community Engagement for New Parents: Baby Talks

When you have a baby, it seems like you don't have time to do anything except care for that little person. Taking them out can seem daunting & it seems so awkward to bring them to the kind of places & events you used to go. Even with my first child, I tried to go out & do things, but it was often really stressful because there were no change tables or people were looking at me funny for arriving with an infant strapped to my chest. I started to fall into the role of spectator--I felt like I was watching the world go by but not really able to jump in & do that much.

My attitude is that babies are people & members of the community too--why should they & their parents have to be shut up at home for years? I believe that babies & children should be out & about, learning right from the beginning how to fit into the world. I think the idea that babies & small children are somehow an inconvenience to everyone else (if you don't know what I'm talking about, try taking the bus with a stroller or bringing a toddler to a restaurant & just wait for the haters to pop out of the woodwork) & they should stay out of the public until they have table manners is ridiculous. Not only for the children themselves, but for the poor parents. I don't think I'm alone in trying to avoid paying for babysitting--we just can't afford to go out if it means paying someone $50 to take care of our kids.

So when I heard about Baby Talks, I was thrilled. I used to spend hours talking politics & since I was in my early teens I've volunteered in my community. The desire to do these things didn't stop when I reproduced. If anything, it made me want to do even more to try to improve the world my children live in. Baby Talks is a chance for parents & caregivers of babies to talk about the issues affecting our city. Getting together in baby groups to talk about nutrition, sleep or childhood development isn't unusual, but what is unique about these sessions is that the topics are focused on the civic issues that impact our families. Each session includes a short presentation by an expert speaker or panel, followed by small group discussions. Those attending should come prepared to share their thoughts & ideas with fellow participants. There is no child-minding or childcare, you just participate while caring for your baby.

The upcoming Baby Talks session tackles affordable housing. Here's the info:

Can cities create affordable family housing? Your babies may not know much about housing, but their caregivers do. Join us for Baby Talks, a unique free policy talk aimed at people caring for young children.

The topic of this session is housing and Think City asks the question: Is it possible to create affordable housing for middle and lower-income earners in Vancouver and other cities?

Think City Baby Talks is a chance for people caring for babies to talk about the issues affecting our city. Parents and caregiver should be prepared to participate by sharing their thoughts and ideas while caring for their pre-walking babies.

Event Information and Registration
Speakers: City of Vancouver assistant director of housing policy Abigail Bond & former University of British Columbia associate vice president campus & community planning Nancy Knight
Where: Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at SFU Woodwards, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver
When: Friday, November 15, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Registration: Free, but reserve online at or call 604-312-5307

Think City Baby Talks looks at the big issues for people caring for little people. Presented by the Think City Society in partnership with SFU's VanCity Office of Community Engagement & Public Policy Program.

I'm looking forward to this event. What about you? Will I see you there?

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