Take this advice from Florida Kiwanians who host The World’s Greatest Baby Shower in Miami-Dade and bring the party to your town.
What do you do when a pandemic forces you to change plans — and then literal showers rain on your outdoor baby shower? That was the challenge for the Kiwanis Club of Northeast Miami-Dade, Florida, and The World’s Greatest Drive Thru Baby Shower 2020.
The solution? They kept working.
The baby shower, which went “drive thru” for safety due to COVID-19, is just one part of the Northeast Miami-Dade Club’s expanded signature project: The World’s Greatest Babies, which was created by the club’s Early Childhood Committee, co-chaired by Diana Ragbeer Murray and 1990-91 Kiwanis International President Wil Blechman.
“Even though it rained for much of the afternoon — a shower in its truest sense — the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of our volunteers or parents,” says Ragbeer Murray. “Besides the long line of cars, we even had a mom pull up with a baby stroller and a dad in an electric wheelchair, giving new meaning to a drive-thru event.”
The event is modeled on a smaller baby shower event in Titusville, Florida, that had lasted about 20 years. The Titusville Club shared its information with Blechman, allowing his club to replicate.
“The program started as The World’s Greatest Baby Shower 2019, and it was attended by more than 500 people,” says Ragbeer Murray. “This single event has since evolved into a full-fledged year-round program that’s still growing, thanks in part to support from partners and club members, including Past President Ed Margolis.”
After the success of the Northeast Miami-Dade Kiwanis Club, Blechman says, clubs in countries where baby showers are a tradition could stage similar events with similar planning.
“The more parents know about caring for Mom during pregnancy and what is actually happening in that little body and brain after birth, the more likely the child will develop optimally,” Blechman says. “Our program gives Mom and Dad knowledge to help them do the best for their baby.”
What happens at the World’s Greatest Baby Shower?
The event offers information for new and expecting parents in a fun-filled environment, Ragbeer Murray says. Here are just a few of the things you’ll find:
- Appearances by local officials and celebrities.
- Health, parenting, early childhood and prenatal experts.
- Resources from participating organizations such as Healthy Start, United Way and The Early Learning Coalition.
- Workshops on parenting skills, nutrition for pregnant moms, breastfeeding, prenatal health and more.
- Raffles for prizes such as car seats, strollers and high chairs.
- Projects for kids, such as puppet making, storytelling and yoga.
What happens the rest of year?
The baby shower is just one piece of a larger project. Here are a few others:
The World’s Greatest Babies newsletters are produced biweekly and contain articles on topics such as prenatal care, healthy pregnancies, breastfeeding, early childhood development, keeping babies healthy and safe, parenting and fatherhood involvement. The newsletter is sent to all parents who registered for the 2019 and 2020 showers, those in partner networks and parents who subscribe on the website.
The World’s Greatest Babies radio/video shows are for new and expecting moms and dads — as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers. The shows provide important information on healthy pregnancies, childbirth, breastfeeding, babies’ brain and socio-emotional development, early education and care, father involvement and more.
With approximately 20,000 listeners, the shows feature expert obstetricians, pediatricians and early childhood specialists participating via Zoom or phone call.
The Kiwanis club credits the project’s success to partners and sponsors who act as members of the planning committee. In addition, Key Club members help out, and volunteer Maya Baker, from a local academy school, assists with website and social media postings, as well as newsletter formatting.
This story originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Kiwanis magazine.