By Deborah Youngblood, PhD
As the new Executive Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, I am excited to chart a strong course for an already valuable and solid organization. Providing safe, pasteurized donor human milk to fragile babies is critically important to help infants and their families thrive and it is a mission I take seriously.
And yet, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is so much more than a provider of human milk: we are a connector of families—families who have milk to give and families who need it. We are a partner to healthcare providers. We are a much-needed voice in the complex political landscapes that influence access, support, and accurate information in the arenas of breastfeeding and donor milk use. We are a community education organization, raising awareness and sharing knowledge about lactation, infant nutrition, and wellness. With your help, we can continue to be all these things and more.
Fill out our brief survey
All of you who support the milk bank—our milk donors, our milk recipients, our financial supporters, our advocates and partners—are the people I want to learn from as I develop our milestones for this new course. I want to hear your stories, your priorities, your ideas, and your vision for how we can successfully “Share the Health” for those babies who need us the most. I humbly ask you to give me a bit of your time, filling out our brief survey so I can gather your input, and if you can, joining me in one of the two Milk Bank Matters discussions we have scheduled on Zoom so I can learn even more from you (scroll to bottom of post to sign up).
A little bit about me. I have a resume filled with leadership of nonprofits and government, specifically in the areas of health and families. But what matters more is how I got to there.
Babies are, hands down, my favorite people. When I was eight years old a family friend invited me to become a mother’s helper for her and I was hooked. Her son Ethan was “my” first baby, and the rest is a love story that continues today with babies—from the ones I held the closest, my own three boys, to the ones I never met directly but worked hard for every day to help every baby flourish.
I’ve been a childcare professional, a day care teacher, a parent-child specialist for families experiencing homelessness, a mother, an aunt, an advocate, a lay medical assistant in women’s health, a milk donor, a professor, an author, a nonprofit leader designing and implementing anti-poverty programs for families, and a public health leader partnering across sectors to provide for the health and well-being of our community. My career journey has provided me with lots of opportunities, platforms, and titles. However, there is one thing that has always been a constant—my commitment to listening to parents and championing for children and families.
Hearing from you
I have a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology. It’s a field that trains you to ask questions and seek answers in the stories people tell. So, in keeping with my career roots, I begin my time at Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast asking all of you if you will share yours. I want to hear what role the milk bank has played in your life. What have we provided for you? What do you care most about? What could be better? What could we do more or less of? I want to hear from everyone who connects to milk banking in all different ways—milk donors, milk recipients, health care professionals, advocates, family members, and more.
I’m here to keep the channels of milk flowing, from generous and compassionate milk donors to babies with need. And I’m also here to think big. To ask, is there more that’s needed that we are the right people to provide? I hope you will be part of generating the answer.
Join Deb at Milk Bank Matters
Please consider joining me for a Milk Bank Matters hour. It will be a chance for you to get to know me better, the leader of an organization that I hope you value. And much more importantly, for me to listen and learn what is important to you and how I can work every day to make sure that Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is responsive and proactive to your needs and the needs of those people you care about.
Milk Bank Matters
A Conversation with Deborah Youngblood
Meet the new Executive Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. Share with her your priorities and stories about why the milk bank matters to you.
Choose a Zoom session:
Thursday, March 3 at 7:00 pm
Tuesday, March 8 at 12:00 noon