Friday, July 1, 2011

Zoe is a Cry Baby!

No baby deserves to die or be disabled for life because he or she cries!  Understanding the devastation that results when an adult violently shakes a baby, and knowing it is 100% avoidable... compels me to take action!  Once in awhile there is an opportunity for learning and sharing that eases a bit of the angst I carry against such injustice and abuse.  I can only do a little, but I can do something!

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is one of the most severe forms of child abuse, caused by the violent shaking of an infant (or toddler) with or without impact against an object. Shaken Baby Syndrome usually results from a parent or caregiver shaking a baby because the baby would not stop crying. Approximately ¼ (some reports state 1/3) of the victims die as a result of direct brain injuries. Thousands of victims who survive suffer permanent neurological damage such as blindness, developmental delays, mental retardation, seizures, physical disabilities, paralysis, and/or brain damage.

Since crying is the primary reason that infants are shaken, it is important to inform parents how to deal with the frustrations of a crying baby as well as to equip them with effective parenting and coping strategies. Educated parents are equipped to be advocates for their child’s safety.  They are encouraged to share the information with others who may care for their child such as relatives, friends, and childcare providers. One report indicates that
1/3 of the perpetrators of SBS are unrelated; a boyfriend of the child’s mother.

In 2009 I was invited to participate in a statewide work-group through the Ohio Department of Health to develop a Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention plan for Ohio based on a best practice model from Mark S. Dias, MD (Pediatrics, April, 2005).  It was such an honor for me to participate. (I certainly learned more than I contributed).  Since that time I have hoped to find a way to contribute to the prevention of SBS.  Thanks to some wonderful Friends of CHLOE we have an awesome tool to do so.  We will quite literally be able impact parents and caregivers that will in turn SAVE THE LIVES OF BABIES!   This month we purchased a doll, “Zoe,” that produces an electronic simulation of brain damage that results from the violent shaking of infants or toddlers!

Starting in August we plan to provide SBS prevention demonstrations in our Chloe’s Moms Connection parenting classes and throughout our community.  If your school or social service agency would like for us to bring Zoe and a presentation about Shaken Baby Syndrome... please contact me to schedule.  I’m also seeking volunteers to be trained then facilitate the SBS presentations for CHLOE.  (

PS.  Our baby doll was named Zoe because Zoe means Life!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

FAQ... addressed

CHLOE, Inc. is a 501 C (3) tax exempt charitable organization, founded in 1999 by Connie Nafziger, RN.  Having a professional focus on Maternal & Child Health and Community nursing, she set out to establish an organization committed to making health and life skill education accessible to diverse communities.  Since 2009 the focus has been to empower young, single moms to become self-sufficient, resilient and adaptable; averting and breaking cycles of poverty.

CHLOE was born of a heart committed to serving others in a way that honors God, above all.  This work is grounded in nurturing others in a holistic and grace filled manner.  We educate, train and journey along side young women mindful of the core longings of all persons; to be loved, to have purpose, to be understood, to be secure, and to belong.

Each person served is treated with respect and neither coerced nor required to accept the tenants of faith that constitute the infra-structure of this work.   They are instead offered a safe place to experience grace and be in relationship with  women who model virtue and are passionate about helping others reach their best potential.

Have a question about  CHLOE?  Feel free to contact us. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dust Off Your Sneakers!

Join Team CHLOE!
5K Run and 1Mile Fun Walk 
at the Columbus Zoo!
May 21, 2011

There will be a lot of  charities there,  making for a fun and festive day!

If you live in the Columbus, OH area be a runner or walker with Team CHLOE.
If you live a distance, sponsor a runner or walker!

Here is what to do:

  1. Click here to open the Walk 4 Faith website; under Main Menu click on ‘register to walk/run’   ($20.)... follow the link
  2. Select CHLOE, Inc as the ministry you will be supporting; complete the other required fields
  3. Set up a Pledge Page according to directions (see Main Menu)
  4. Invite your friends, sorority, business associates, grandma, heart throb, and stylist to walk/run with you... get them registered!
  5. Invite your friends, family and fan club to sponsor you. 
  6. Prepare for a fun and rewarding event!   
Free Parking, Free Zoo pass (for participant), T shirt, & goodies bag

Keep me posted on your recruiting results... I’d love to hear how it is coming along 
We have established priorities for the use of funds raised through this event to enhance our Chloe’s Moms Connection program: 

~ Health Education Teaching models i.e.: Shaken Baby simulation doll ... is an effective,though expensive, tool in demonstrating the devastating physiological impact of shaking a baby or young child. This single piece of equipment when used in training or community event settings will quite literally save lives!
~ Books and Educational toys for the tots in our program 
~ Cold Weather Bundles...Coats, mittens, & boots for the families we serve, as needed for next winter’s blast.
~ Class supplies...interactive  supplies and equipment

As we are just getting our feet wet in the fund raising pool we are thankful for such an opportunity as this!  We are grateful as well for your interest and support as we break cycles of poverty by equipping young single moms!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Such a Time as This

This being Valentines Day and all, I was planning to write a sweet and clever post, perhaps wax a bit sentimental. Then on Saturday while reading the Columbus Dispatch I was drawn to an article : ‘Teens must be aware there are risks to dating’ by Cheryl Pentella, Co-President of the National Council of Jewish Women, Columbus Section. I was reminded; February is National Teen Dating and Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. The notion to be clever or sentimental seemed less appealing, at such a time as this.
“• 1 in 5 teens in a relationship they termed serious reported being hit, slapped or pushed
• 1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they’ve been concerned about being physically hurt by a partner.
• 1 in 3 high-school or college students will become a victim of an abusive dating relationship by the time they graduate.
• Nearly 1 in 4 teen girls reported pressure to go further sexually than she wanted as a result of peer pressure.”

I have accepted a calling on my life to serve young women caught in the throws of parenting, before they are adequately equipped to do so. As a community health nurse, I observed the brokenness in lives, of scores who had been victimized by others and/ or their own naive beliefs about love and intimacy. I am a trainer for advocates for victims of abuse. I have studied these issues earnestly. The outlook is not encouraging! Our young people are being duped in to believing power, control, and sex rule! Now is the time to move forward with compassion, courage, and truth.
I found quite a few websites that offer facts, insights and informed opinions for both adults and teens. I’m providing links to a few of them. Click on the titles to learn more:

Dispatch Article (referenced above)
Women’s Policy, Inc.
Family Education
Stay Teen

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sink or Swim

I am young; almost a woman... dangling my feet in a shallow stream. My hormones are surging. Boys are intriguing. My media idols make love and romance seem worth doing whatever it takes to find this elusive thing called ‘love’. I’m casting a line... I’ll reel in true love, right?

I’m a young woman...wading in the lake. The ‘boyfriend’ makes me feel special; loved. My friends are fickle... but he will never be. The time we spend together is the best part of my week. Our affection has turned physical; we are caught up in stealing private time. Everybody’s doing it...right?

I’m young woman in over my head... The physical relationship has become the end all... the time for friends and family has become less important... No one can possibly understand the love we share. He will love me forever...right?

Pregnant? Me? What a scary, awesome, puky, overwhelming river I’ve found myself in. Cool, right? We’ll do this together, right? My perfect little family. We’ll live happily ever after ....right?

There is whitewater in sight. I didn’t know life could change so much, so quickly! Up a creek, without a paddle, that’s me! I didn’t expect to face these currents of emotion and physical changes alone. I mean, I’m not really alone...’alone’... but this is my body, my future, my heart trawling...just trying to snag a chance at happiness. No matter how scared I get, I’ll never let em see me sweat! I won’t drown, right?

The water is swirling around me! I thought I could swim, but this current is taking me under! No sleep, flabby body, crying baby, condescending family, poopy diapers, mood swings, fatigue; I’m really scared. I thought my baby would love me more than anything... I’m not so sure that’s how it is. I thought my boyfriend was the real and forever thing. Some sweet thing in skinny jeans has caught his eye. I think he is gone for good. This is a bad dream, right?

The current has pulled me under. I come up for air, gasping, flailing; there is no help in sight. Even if I can dog paddle to that island just in sight... can I survive there; alone, broke, weary, hopeless, a single mom? It isn’t supposed to be like this, right?

He threw me a life preserver...he promised love and care...what a man! What a sham! My worst days of wading, swimming, even flailing were better than this! I’m no longer my own. He says I owe him my life. What kind of life is this? There is no hope. There is no joy. There is only turbulence. I live in fear, violence is on my doorstep. I will surely drown.

The water is cold and murky, the seaweed has tangled around me...I’m bound without hope or help. Life has choked me into submission. I’m too weak to fight and to frail to beat the evil that pummels me. I’m drowning, for sure. Life will be different for my kids, right?

Most young women survive the turbulence of adolescence and reach maturity unscathed. Some find the love they are seeking; an unplanned pregnancy is embraced and life goes on. Many, too many, are less fortunate. An astounding number succumb to the tyranny of urgent longings and un-tethered lust. They are looking for love in all the wrong places. For those who have plunged in and find themselves in over their head we extend a hand... an offer to come along side... to help them gain their bearings as we stand with them. Young single moms need a community to embrace them. They need mature women to come alongside them, live life with them, model healthy choices and teach them life skills. Young single moms love their babies; they long to be good parents; they simply need coaching, skill and confidence.

We won’t reach every floundering young single mom, but those we engage will have opportunity to become healthy, advocates for themselves and their children as they work toward self-sufficiency. They will learn that they are valuable, capable, and worthy women.
Go to our website to find ways to engage in this work...or give me a call.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moving Forward

When I left my position as a Community Health Nurse, having served a multitude of young mothers and their infants/children, I knew the course was set for the rest of my career. I determined to establish a not-for-profit organization able to equip others with health and life skill education. CHLOE, Inc (community health & life skills opportunities & education) was born.
Ten years and many projects later, the focus of CHLOE, Inc has narrowed to equipping young single moms with the education and life skills they need to break cycles of poverty . Our ultimate goal is to establish a self-sufficiency home for young moms needing a safe place to live for a couple of years while they are working on educational, relational, and career milestones. Such a huge vision takes a firm foundation; we work daily to make sure it is indeed sound and enduring as we long to have our ‘place’ and program operational . In the meantime our outreach program is ready to launch! Chloe’s Moms Connection is designed to engage 12 young single moms for 12 months. Parenting and Life Skill classes will be held on Saturday afternoons, the second and fourth week of each month. We are delighted with the Partners in Parenting Education curriculum and excited about sharing life enriching skills that will be both fun and esteem building. Children and infants involved will have access to ongoing developmental screening. Our Mentors and capable childcare workers will make the experience even better for the moms we serve. There are no participant fees for the program .
After hearing of our plan a church offered us classroom and child care space! We are especially grateful as the Sharon Woods Blvd. neighborhood of Columbus, OH is exactly where we hope to have our self-sufficiency home and the 43229 zip code area serve as the hub for our work! Thank you Pastor Dreisbach and Sharon Woods Baptist Church family!
This is a season of joyful anticipation as we begin to offer guidance and resources to young single moms and their children.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I've Been Thinking....

Since early in the process of bringing into focus the vision for Chloe’s Place (a self-sufficiency home for young single moms and their children) I’ve had a snap shot in my mind of just how it might look. It has a warm, comfy, living area with space for each little family to l live in community with the other little families; all living and working together toward common goals. The living space, the one I see when I ponder it all, does not look like a house from the 50’s (Think Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best). It does not look like the house I live in; eclectic furnishings, with lingering ‘country/traditional’ themes. I picture a modern space, open, with lots of space for children to play. It has wood floors and big furniture and an awesome kitchen for the moms to gather round as they learn to cook (Think classy loft).

There is another unique twist in my vision of Chloe’s Place. The living space, sits a floor above a bustling business... (Think coffee shop/cafe). The ‘business’ is a part of the whole package. It is managed and operated by people committed to the self-sufficiency vision. It serves several important functions:
≠ Provides the primary funding stream for CHLOE, Inc. residential and outreach programs, promoting organizational self-sufficiency.
≠ Provides hands on job skills training for residents of Chloe’s Place equipping them toward self-sufficiency.
≠ Provides the community with an excellent product and service. (Think food, drink, meeting space)
≠ Provides an opportunity to equip coffee growers in a Third World Country with resources toward their self-sufficiency.

I’ve pondered the whole ‘micro-enterprise’ potential, long before I knew it was becoming a trend for not for profit organizations in the U.S. It makes complete sense to me! We know that a residential program with educational and job skills programming is not an inexpensive venture. While individual and corporate donations will always play a vital role in the work, it seems reasonable to work toward having a substantial amount of the budget earned from within; self-sufficiency modeled from the core of the organization. Grant funds have long been the 'brass ring' for non profits. Over the past 10 years I have watched that funding stream get increasingly difficult to access. For example, in September we submitted a proposal for $ 8,000.00 to fund a CHLOE Outreach program that is ready to launch. A total amount of $200,000.00 available to be divided between 20 organizations... each receiving up to $10,000.00. I received word from the funding organization that they received 1,000 proposals requesting a total of $8 million! We are waiting to hear if our proposal will be awarded funds.

I recently met Tom Thompson, founder/director of The Refuge, a ministry to men in Vinton County, OH. Their operation is 80% funded by the catering business they established! Tom shared that the money is only a portion of the benefit that developing the catering business has afforded. Today I was reading about Q’s Cafe in Seattle and Ebenezer’s Coffee House in D.C.; I love their vision and successful implementation!

I no longer pine for the ‘miracle’ of instant embodiment of the vision. I’m most grateful for what I am learning, how I am growing spiritually and professionally in this venture. I am at peace with the pace of development and the realization that what CHLOE, Inc and Chloe’s Place is to do requires a firm, broad foundation that is laid brick by brick, day by day. I believe that if I accomplish what is reasonable and responsible each day, that before you know it you will be receiving an invitation to join in the grand opening celebration...and perhaps even have a cup o’ Joe with us, at our place!