This week we interviewed Sam Drier, Board Chair and Director of Finance at Baby Go Round, about the organization, how it got started and how she got involved.
What did your career look like before Baby Go Round?
“I have a financial background. I started off my career as an investment banker in natural resources and now I am a corporate development executive for a mining company.”
How did you come into your role at Baby Go Round?
“A friend of mine was on the board and recommended me. She knew that I was looking for a way to get involved with a charity, and I had contributed to Baby Go Round's blanket drive. The board is small, so it needed some financial direction and expertise. When our founder, Jennifer Randall Nelson stepped down from her position as Board Chair, I took on the role. I’ve been with organization for almost four years now.”
Can you explain in your own words the mission of Baby Go Round?
“The mission is to help families in need to safely care for their babies and toddlers by providing them with essential baby gear, such as cribs and strollers, that they might otherwise not be able to access.
Becoming a mother is not easy, even if you have access to all the resources you need. We are trying to eliminate some of the stresses these families have so that they can channel all their energy into caring for their kids. We don’t want them to have to choose between paying for rent or paying for diapers.”
How did Baby Go Round get started?
“Our founder, Jennifer, had had her third and last baby premature and was in the NICU. While this was happening Jennifer realized that there was a wealth of baby gear that ends up getting used very little, since kids outgrow it so quickly. She was looking for a place to donate the gently used gear for other mothers to reuse them, but couldn’t find any such place, so she created a place herself – a place where Jennifer and a host of other families could pass on gently used items that could really benefit families in our community and give back to those who may need it the most. Our facility opened its doors 2012.”
What does the process look like for clients wanting to access the Baby Go Round services?
“We work with a network of referral agencies – social workers, hospitals, immigration services, and any other organizations that come in contact with expecting parents in the lower mainland. The agency meets with the expecting parents and puts together a shopping list of baby gear items that they need. The agency sends the list to us, we locate an assortment of items, and then the parents come in to our facility – which is set up as a store-like boutique – and can choose from a variety of baby gear. There are a lot of families in-need who don’t feel that they have a lot of choice, that they must take whatever they can get, and we want to treat them with dignity and give them a choice.”
Can you describe your role within the organization?
“My role is more outside the actual facility, but I support our Operations Manager, Stephanie, on some of the day-to-day matters. We have a Slack channel where we post messages and information, so I will check that every morning and see if there is anything that needs attention. I look at the financials and perform bookkeeping on a monthly basis, lead and structure our monthly board meetings as well as the long-term strategy of the organization, do outreach to donors, in conjunction with our Director of Fundraising, and look out for our community partners and manage some of the partnerships we currently have. I will have phone calls with Stephanie a few times a week, and will volunteer at our facility every few months. We are a fairly grass-roots organization and we are a working board. All directors pitch in and assist with a variety of operational and strategic matters.”
What is your favourite or the most rewarding part about being involved with Baby Go Round?
“Being able to help quell some of the stresses and fears of families when they come in to our facility is rewarding, and just their gratitude and how thankful they are. Also being able to tell my neighbours and friends, who have donated their baby gear, the real difference they are making for local families.”
What have you learned from your time at Baby Go Round?
“Baby Go Round has taught me that so many people out there don’t have access to the basic resources they need to safely care for their children. I realized how fortunate I was when I had my own kids to have so much choice and variety and so grateful not to have to choose between buying diapers and paying rent.”
What is one thing you want all new parent to know?
“I read this quote once ‘Entry into parenthood is having to swim and learning to swim at the same time’, which is very true. A lot of it is learning as you go. It might be stressful at times (a lot of the time!) but it is by far the most rewarding role in life!”
Thank you so much for talking with us Sam!
To learn more about Baby Go Round, how to donate or how to access it’s services, you can visit their website https://www.babygoround.ca