Donor Spotlight: Suzanne DuRard
by Jamie Aaronson & Suzanne DuRard
Thank you to our featured donor, Suzanne DuRard, who has been a longtime supporter of Open Arms for over 10 years and over 50 gifts. We are so lucky to have you in our monthly circle of giving to expand and sustain this work.
Suzanne found her way to the Open Arms community over a decade ago through a board member introduction and attending our 2009 luncheon. She has lived in the neighborhood for twenty years and has always thought it appropriate that Open Arms is part of the “beloved community” formed by El Centro de la Raza, where Open Arms has had its main office for over 22 years. Open Arms’ ability to provide culturally and language-specific doula support to underserved mothers and families fits right in with the impactful, Latinx-led work El Centro de la Raza has done in the community for years.
As a mom, Suzanne also feels an ongoing personal connection to our mission. She was lucky to have a doula at her side when she birthed her now teenage son. She didn’t have an atypical first birth but to have someone hold her hand and be at her side both in preparation for the birth and then for the twelve hours of labor was life changing and continues to feed her confidence as a mother and parent. Suzanne noted that her doula played a pivotal role as a coach and support for both Suzanne and her husband (a physician who had even delivered many babies as part of his medical training!), and they both relied on her and found her presence to be invaluable throughout her labor and delivery.
“When I first heard about Open Arms, I loved the idea of the organization because having a doula myself was an important and powerful part of my birth experience. I had a pretty straightforward first-time labor in the hospital, but even so it was incredibly helpful having that person be with me, talk to me beforehand, and hold my hand throughout the process. Doulas are such a meaningful support for women at one of the most important, but sometimes difficult, times of their lives. To provide services to those who can’t afford a doula – mine cost me many hundreds of dollars – and to be able to support other women in this profound experience, was something I have felt really good about doing over the years. I am especially moved by Open Arms’ ability to provide support in other languages and by people from within the mother’s community. When the opportunity for giving arises, I always want to contribute because the memory of having my own child is still alive in me today, and every day.” – Suzanne DuRard, Mother, Lawyer, Supporter