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Since 1997, Open Arms Perinatal Services has been providing strong community-based support for women through pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

At Open Arms, we believe in the inherent dignity and worth of every mother and baby. We believe in the possibility of every child that is born. And we believe that every mother and every family always have the opportunity to live out that possibility.

 

Save the Date!

Open Arms’ Birthday Dinner and Auction will be held November 12, 2015, 6 – 9 PM, at Herban Feast Sodo Park. Join us as we celebrate 18 years of providing support to moms and families. Invite your friends for an evening of delicious food, great company, exciting prizes, and family-themed auction items. Reservation and details coming soon. Sponsorship opportunities available (Contact Lisa Foss at lisa@openarmsps.org or 206.723.6868).

 

New Executive Director for Open Arms!

DilaThe Board of Open Arms is pleased and excited to let you know that Dila Perera has accepted the position as our new Executive Director!  She will be starting on July 27th.

We conducted a lengthy and careful search process which yielded candidates from around the community and the country. Prior to beginning this search, we identified the most important characteristics and skill sets we were looking for in a new leader to move Open Arms forward. Dila exemplifies all that we were looking for in our next leader for the organization. We are confident that she will be a great new partner for the Board, a creative and supportive leader for the staff and an engaging representative of Open Arms with all our community partners and donors.

Dila has worked in public health and advocacy locally and internationally, including time spent as a doula for Open Arms. She earned both a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work at the University of Washington, after starting her career as a health educator at 19. She went on to spend  twelve years helping to build and manage innovative and complex programs designed to improve the health of vulnerable populations, including mothers, children, families, and people living with or affected by HIV. Most recently she led the Washington State Training Program at the Northwest AIDS Education and Training Center.

Dila has managed several large-scale federally funded interventions, but believes that small organizations, even when working with minimal resources, are still the most effective at creating lasting and transformational change. She has been a program manager, a grant maker, a board member and a trainer. However, Dila considers working with pregnant woman before birth, during birth, and supporting new mothers and infants to be the most rewarding work she has ever done.


 I first witnessed the birth of a child as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world.  When I returned to Seattle, I received a scholarship to work with women in need of culturally sensitive labor support.  I had the honor of welcoming other babies here in well-equipped hospitals in Seattle, including my own.

The settings were literally worlds apart, but the power of that moment – when a woman becomes a mother and a new being full of hope and possibility is born – remains universal.  As a longtime supporter of Open Arms, I can think of no other local organization that has been able to leverage public, private, and community will specifically to provide pregnant women with culturally appropriate support.

The mission of Open Arms resonates with me very deeply.  It will be an honor to lead Open Arms in our next phase of development, as we continue to lift up women and children right at that moment when there is so much opportunity to help a child start on a loving and healthy path into the world.

-Dila Perera


We plan to introduce Dila to the Open Arms community over the late summer and into the fall, and she will be reaching out to many of you directly as well.  We hope that you will take the opportunity to get to know her better and also that you will help her become familiar with all the partners and friends who make up our essential network of support for families in our community.

In the meantime, Michelle Sarju will continue as our Acting Executive Director until she returns to her role as Program Director at the beginning of August. The Board wishes to express our deep appreciation to all our staff for their dedicated work on behalf of Open Arms throughout this period of transition. We know Dila is fortunate to have partners like them to grow the impact of this organization.

 

More Exciting News at Open Arms!

Katie Silvett, will re-join Open Arms on July 16th as our Program Manager. Katie will be taking over for Yvette McKee who will be going to MultiCare Health System as a care coodinator. Katie completed her practicum at Open Arms and graduated this June with a Master in Social Work from the University of Washington. Katie is a full-spectrum doula and has five years of experience working with survivors of violence, most recently at the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse. Katie knows Open Arms and our clients very well as she has worked closely with Yvette on our birth doula services team.

We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Yvette for more than 10 years of dedication to Open Arms and our clients. With Yvette’s leadership and hard work, Open Arms’ programs have experienced tremendous growth and many mothers have been able to access important prenatal, birth, and postpartum services. Yvette’s last day at Open Arms will be June 25th and Annie Moffat will be managing birth doula services until Katie joins us on July 16th.

Please join us in wishing Yvette the best on her new venture and in congratulating Katie on her new role at Open Arms!

 

Congratulations Margarita Celis!

Margarita, our Community-based Outreach Doula for the Spanish-speaking community in South King County, was recently selected by Health Connect One to be one of two organizational representatives to the U. S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC). The USBC is a multisectoral national breastfeeding committee comprised of representatives from government departments, non-governmental organizations, and health professional associations. Its mission is to drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States.
Read more here.

Margarita will travel to Washington, D.C. this August and in January 2016 to represent Community Health Workers/Providers, connect with other advocates in the field, and share her insights. One of the requirements is that Margarita has to blog–so stay tuned!

 


 

Open Arms Perinatal Services is a registered 501( C)3 organization, EIN 91-1868021.
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