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Flatbush Doulas

Where Families Grow Strong

Flatbush Doulas Hosts “No Child Wet Behind Diaper Drive” 5K Walkathon & 1K Family Fun Run Today @1:00 PM

For more information and to sign up and participate to help end diaper need in NYC, visit

https://www.signmeup.com/site/reg/register.aspx?fid=HP2VBH7

Children 12 & under race free, when you enter the coupon code ‘DIAPERS‘ at checkout!

Use the code ‘SAVE5‘ to save $5 on adult registrations for the 5K Walkathon.

Come support a great cause, have fun with friends and family, and bring your children out to enjoy games, activities, face painting, & more.

Want to learn more about No Child Wet Behind? Visit http://www.nochildwetbehind.com today!

To donate diapers, please visit the Flatbush Doulas Registry:

https://www.amazon.com/baby-reg/flatbush-doulas-may-2017-brooklyn/2E6ATTG6TFDZ1

or

https://www-secure.target.com/gift-registry/gift/flatbushdoulas

Diaper donations will benefit Prospect Family Support Center, a professional, comprehensive provider of services for New York City families in crisis.

Interested in volunteering? Email flatbushdoulas@gmail.com for more information.

Featured post

Give the Gift of Peace of Mind

We get it. Life is hectic. Friends and family live farther away from each other than before. And now your bestie/cousin/daughter/(insert loved one here) is pregnant.

Of course you would love to be there to help change diapers, run a load of laundry, whip up a yummy meal, or just sit and talk about this most exciting miracle of new life.  But sadly, the true needs of the postpartum period aren’t often understood or accepted in our modern lives. We think that folks will “get through it” the same way we got through other transitions in our lives.

Bubble Bath Fun

But what if there was a way, to set up the special preggo in your life for success? There is! Flatbush Doulas is offering gift cards that can be used for ALL of our services.

Professional doula and lactation support can make such a difference in the way families cope, during those first grueling days of parenthood, and beyond.

Its easy to order and deliver. Just click here to purchase an electronic gift card for your loved one. They will be so glad you did!

Bail Money & Black Maternal Mortality

What does bail money have to do with the black maternal mortality rate in the U.S.?

Check out Yael B. Yisrael, the owner of Flatbush Doulas, as she talks about these topics & more in this YouTube video

Startup Stock Photos

Please feel free to continue the conversation by commenting on this page and on the video YouTube. We want to hear from you!

Amber Williams: Puppeteer

Amber Williams is a puppeteer. Yes, you read that correctly. She heard about a job opening, through her sister, and the rest is history.

Did you know that puppeteers must not only be able to maneuver their hands intricately but also convey emotion with those movements? Or that there is a test, that involves an egg, to see if one is going to be able to learn to operate marionettes?

This energetic, articulate, 25 year-old mother of four children  is a puppeteer, at the Puppetworks theater in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York.

While chaperoning my daughter’s class trip to see “Puss in Boots” at Puppetworks, I was impressed with Amber’s rapport with the children. It also occurred to me, that I had never before seen a black woman who had the skill of professionally operating a marionette puppet, much less did it for a living! When the show was over, I left my card and hoped that Amber would call. Just a few days later, she did!

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Photo credit: Yael B. Yisrael

Amber agreed to meet with me, so that I could write a blog highlighting her work with Puppetworks. Little did I know that Amber would inspire and move me to tears, during our meeting, with her dignity and wisdom which were gained through overcoming life’s trials.
Amber was placed in foster care, specifically a group home, after the death of her mother when she was only 16 years-old. She described how trying it was to see her mother slip away from life and into death, on that fateful day. Her story was punctuated by tales of the perseverance and determination that she mastered at a young age.
The mother who had provided for her, loved her, and allowed her to pursue her love of art, dance, and anything creative, had been in poor health. She died while being treated in an area hospital. The death of Amber’s mother cemented her desire to learn more about natural healing and remedies, as well as using spices and herbs as preventive medicine.
Amber attributes her flawless hair to the natural potion of oils and emollients, which she formulated and tested on her own hair, and that of her children. Wait. So she’s a chemist too?

Amber is a mother of four children, two boys and two girls, which includes a set of fraternal twins. Her first child was a big part of Amber’s motivation to work hard and save her earnings, when she was still living in a group home.

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Photo credit: Yael B. Yisrael

Imagine being a teenager in a group home, grieving the loss of your mother. Then, add the disappointment of your father’s unwillingness to provide adequate care in your mother’s absence. Next, envision getting so frustrated that you choose to become an emancipated minor, and sign yourself into foster care. Finally, think of how difficult it would have been to work super hard outside of the group home, and also take five-dollar cleaning jobs in the group home, all while being a teenage mother.

What a work ethic Amber had at that age! But it gets even more amazing. Amber realized that the New York City foster care system was obligated to move her belongings, once she obtained an apartment. So, while saving for a down payment, she also purchased items for her new apartment. The apartment that she had only seen in her mind.

When her room began to be overcome by boxes and bags, staff and other residents would comment and laugh at her. But Amber had a plan, and she pulled it off. She did by using her logic and drive to succeed, which are skills she employs today in her work as a puppeteer.

A major part of Amber’s identity is that of being an artist. She explained that being a dancer has also had a big impact on her work as a puppeteer. Puppeteering is a dying art. The creating and repair of marionettes is an even more endangered art. Most 25 year-old New Yorkers are only using their hands to swipe touch screens. Amber is using her hands to bring marionettes to life, as well as to help repair them when they are injured!

IMG_1905Photo Credit: Donovan Hall

“Some of the puppets are falling apart,” said Amber, as she explained that almost all of Puppetworks’ marionettes are vintage. The tree fiber used in the joints of the puppets, which allows them to move, is not even made anymore. She talked about the time that she spends learning to repair the puppets, and also how to give them lifelike qualities when operating them. The Chief Puppeteer, Michael Leach, has been a mentor to Amber, as has Donovan Hall who is also a Puppeteer with the company. Nicolas Coppola and James Wojtal, Jr., the Puppet Builders, are part of the small, tight knit crew at Puppetworks, who have taught Amber so much in this newest form  of her artistic expression.

Amber also shared that having a set of twins who spent time in the NICU after being born two years ago, was a challenge that she overcame through faith and perseverance. She even helped save one of the twins’ lives, once they were home, by using the CPR training she had received before they left the NICU, when an Acute Life Threatening Event (ALTE) occurred. Amber is a phenomenal woman, yet so easy to talk to.

Throughout the entire interview, Amber reflected on the joy that she uses to approach life, despite obstacles. One such obstacle, is her battle with the chronic disease sickle-cell anemia, which means that she must take extra special self-care. The NY winters and having a job where she’s using her hands so much, mean that heating pads and heat treatments are a go-to for Amber to relieve pain.

I’m so thankful that Puppetworks hired Amber, and that I chose to be a chaperone on that trip, because meeting her reminds me that there are no obstacles too great for art to conquer.

We are very fortunate to have access to so many artistic and cultural outlets here in Brooklyn! With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and the hard working grind, it’s easy to forget to take some time out for recreation and art. However, please make some time to take advantage of all that our borough and city have to offer.

Puppetworks is one such resource, with a rich history. Please visit their website, and show your support, via attending shows and giving them donations. Your children will thank you, and you will be quite entertained!

 

A New York Gift That Lasts Forever

20161228_155726*****Spoiler Alert*********

If you plan to see Circus Der Sinne perform Mother Africa at The New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street before the last show on Jan 1, 2017, you may want to wait to read this blog. If you are a parent or expecting parent, interested in learning more about one of NYC’s cultural performances,

KEEP READING!

New York City is such a wonderful place to raise children who appreciate and value cultural theatre, art, music, and dance performances.  

I recently had the pleasure of attending such a performance at the New Victory Theatre.  I found out about Mother Africa one morning while watching Good Day New York.  I immediately called my mother and asked her to tune in to the segment featuring two of Circus Der Sinne’s spectacular performers.  Her response to that clip was, “Let’s take the children to see it!” The 2pm performance on Wednesday, December 28 was a perfect Chanukah gift for my children during their vacation from school.

Simply put, Mother Africa is an African circus, a showcase of talent, entertainment, and skill.  Every performer, the set, and the band, work seamlessly together. The band has the spectacular South African township music sound, and even plays some Calypso and also Bob Marley.

The jamming is broken up by segments of live drumming that had me ready to run up on stage and bust a few moves. Instead, I let out a loud “lou-lou-lou-lou-lou-lou-lou!”, the call I learned many years ago while attending many African dance classes and performances. If my fellow theatregoers were unaware of the African tradition of shared energy and call-and-response, I did them a favor by demonstrating it! 

For real. There is absolutely no way to have a bad time at Mother Africa. Mother Africa left me entertained, amazed, and inspired!

The New Victory Theatre is a family focused venue. It is both lovely enough to have an authentic Broadway feel, and cozy enough for every seat in the house to have a great view of the stage.  All this adds to the drama when seeing the Mother Africa acrobats, doing precise ballet like contortions at ridiculous heights on unheard of surfaces; a wooden plank on top of a hollow tube, and several layers of this configuration, like a triple decker sandwich.  And speaking of sandwich, their child friendly concession stand is top notch! I purchased two bags of sea salt popcorn, one bag of BBQ bean chips, two natural juice pouches, and a 16 oz bottle of water for 8 bucks! In a venue in NYC theatre district. That’s cheaper than some Brooklyn bodegas would have charged me!

The show is set in a township in South Africa, and depicts everyday life, just with a circus twist.  So one minute, a beautiful woman is serving drinks to some men at a restaurant, the next minute she is doing a stunt. First she lays down on a chair, with her feet parallel to the chair’s back. Then, one of the men throws a square table which she catches with her feet, and begins spinning it and flipping it! All with her feet. Simply breathtaking!

All of these stunts are done with great skill, technique, and precision.  The ever present feeling of danger is assuaged by the deep trust that the audience gains by watching these talented performers successfully do the unthinkable.  In this circus, there are no nets. One wrong move could mean disaster!

When I was a child, my mother made it a priority to buy tickets for our family to attend many performances on and off of Broadway.  One of the plays that had a huge impact on me was Sarafina.  

Seeing Mother Africa reminded me of the pride, freedom, and joy I felt while watching Sarafina. 

I am so grateful that now that she is a grandmother, my mother is still giving the gift of culture.  I’m also thankful that the New Victory Theatre believes that children can appreciate and should be included in theatre shows.  These are the gifts that last for a lifetime.

Diaper Drive Countdown

The Flatbush Doulas Fall Diaper Drive has been extended until November 26, 2016!

You can donate diapers & wipes online, by visiting the

Flatbush Doulas Diaper Registry.

Our goal is to raise 100,000 new, unopened disposable diapers for families in NYC who are experiencing diaper need.We are also accepting donations of new, unopened packages of baby wipes.

The following shelters and organizations will be the recipients of diapers and wipes donated to the drive:

 

1. Women In Need East Flatbush Family Shelter

2. Women In Need East New York Family Shelter

3. Dean Street Residence

4. Met Council on Jewish Poverty

5. The Mother’s Union of The Church of St. Mark’s

6. Beth Shalom Hebrew Congregation

Over 23,000 children are homeless in NYC, and many more are living in poverty. 1 in 3 families struggle to buy enough diapers to be able to change them when needed. Diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps. 

We CAN prevent child abuse and neglect, by providing clean diapers to families who are in need of them.

For further information or to schedule a diaper donation pick up, please call Yael B. Yisrael, Owner of Flatbush Doulas, at (347) 688-9235. 

Thank you for your support!

Share The Vision ProDoula Conference 2016

Starting in October 2015, ProDoulas have been converging upon Kansas City, Misssouri to attend a one-of-a-kind business conference.  This is the second year of the annual event, which is an exciting mix of fun, personal & professional development, marketing education, and the nitty gritty business essentials that doulas have come to associate with the ProDoula brand. Plus, it’s like a family reunion!

The conference runs from October 13-15 this year, and the theme is “Share the Vision”. That vision is to be professional & compassionate, and focused on building strong relationships with clients, providers, and the local communities that each doula serves.

This year, Flatbush Doulas owner Yael B. Yisrael is attending the ProDoula Conference.  The keynote speaker this year is Rosie Pope, the trendsetting pregnancy and motherhood guru. The expert presenters include ProDoula owners Randy Patterson & Debbie Aglietti, Yellow Jacket Social owner Erica Patterson, Jerry Patterson of Peekskill Web Design, Byrke Sestok of Rightirement Wealth Partners, Dr. Meedlen Charles OB/GYN, Dr. George Mussali OB/GYN, and several other experts whom are listed on the ProDoula Conference schedule.

Doula work is a very rewarding and also demanding career.  Caring for mothers and families is a special honor.  The ProDoula annual conference is where professional doulas can celebrate and be acknowledged, as well as learn cutting edge information from medical professionals, business leaders, and one another.  We are so happy to be here, and the banquet was a blast!

Flatbush Doulas Fall 2016 Diaper Drive

As the NYC summer rolls by, with lots of humid sticky days and balmy nights, most families are just trying to keep cool. Between the fun times in the pool, or at local beaches, or the lazy moments lounging near cool fans and air conditioners, it’s easy to forget those who are struggling in our city.image

Did you know that over 23,000 children are homeless in NYC? Many of those children are infants and toddlers, whose families struggle to pay for diapers. Diapers, though essential, are very expensive, and not covered by food stamps.

When families cannot afford to buy enough diapers to keep up with their children’s needs, children suffer. A parent who is choosing between clean diapers and other basic needs, may decide to let their child wear a soiled diaper for a longer period of time. This is a way to conserve diapers, and more families do this than you may realize.

Leaving children in soiled diapers, usually leads to diaper rash. But more serious concerns also may occur, such as urinary tract infections due to prolonged exposure to bacteria. The overall happiness of a child whose diaper needs are not being met, will likely be diminished. The crankiness of that child, may lead to depression, frustration, and exasperation in their parents. In extreme cases, when parents cannot cope, they may end up doing unthinkable acts, just to get their child to stop crying.

How can you help?

Flatbush Doulas, Inc. is sponsoring a Fall Diaper Drive, to provide clean diapers for children in our area who are in need. Our goal is to raise 100,000 disposable diapers by November 5, 2016. We have partnered with several local organizations which will distribute the diapers directly, to the families which they serve.

The following organizations will receive diapers from our drive:

1. Women In Need East Flatbush Family Shelter
2. Women In Need East New York Family Shelter
3. Dean Street Residence
4. Met Council on Jewish Poverty
5. Jewish Community Council of the Rockaways
6. The Mother’s Union of The Church of St. Mark’s
7. Beth Shalom Hebrew Congregation

Flatbush Doulas will also keep some of the donated diapers on hand, to distribute throughout the year, to families that we encounter in our local Brooklyn community.

The diapers we are requesting at this time are all sizes, from newborn and up, but especially sizes 4-6. Any cloth diapers that are donated will be distributed by Flatbush Doulas during cloth diapering workshops which will be given throughout the year.

Do you own a local business?

If you are a local business owner, and would like to allow Flatbush Doulas to set up a box at your location, to collect diaper donations, please contact us now! Just send an email to info@flatbushdoulasinc.com

We will facilitate weekly pick-ups by volunteers, so that as soon as the boxes are full, the diapers can be picked up. The boxes will be placed during the second week of September 2016 and removed during the last week of October 2016.

Do you want to be a volunteer?

Contact us now. Your time, donation, and enthusiasm can make a difference in raising awareness about diaper need in our city. Your generosity can stop diaper need from leading to child abuse.

The Flatbush Doulas Fall Diaper Drive will start in September. We will send press releases to our local news outlets, highlighting the diaper drive, the recipients and the businesses that are partnering as drop off sites.

 

Together we can impact the lives of families in NYC.

Please share with anyone who may want to help!

Thank you,

 

Yael B. Yisrael, Owner

Flatbush Doulas, Inc.

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