Welcome to our now annual Out with the old, in with the new blog post as we say goodbye to 2019. We asked Delft MaMa Chairwoman Meredith Mull Aggarwal to share an informal review of what we’ve done this year. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy a review of the year behind us before we look ahead in the year to come.
by Meredith Mull Aggarwal and Gabriela Ricci
2019: New beginnings
At the start of 2019, Delft MaMa was thinking of ways to connect to the community more through outreach and was seeking new leadership. By spring, we had a new chairperson and we were preparing for a smooth transition of leadership while taking steps toward two new community partnerships: Mint kids conceptstore and TU Delft’s Coming to Delft program. Our partnership with Mint gives us space for Friday morning playgroups as well as other meetings and events.
Over six months, we filled a few high-level roles that were vacant within the organization:
- Chairperson: Meredith Mull Aggarwal
- Outreach Coordinator: Marie Steenhuizen
- Communications Coordinator: Nazlina Quadir
- Human Resources Coordinators: Elena Mellara and Fehmeena Fatima
In the summer, we had our first general meeting held at Mint kids conceptstore. [All of our meeting notes are found online: 2019, 2018, and 2017. If you have any additional questions, please let us know.]
By summer’s end, we had hosted a fun BBQ in Delftse Hout; honored Delft MaMa Founder Lucie Herraiz Cunningham with a farewell party; and – with the help of a new outreach volunteer – we were planning a special series of events for autumn.
In autumn, we celebrated Delft MaMa’s 12 Year Anniversary celebration season – big attendance at the first indoor playgroups of the season at DOK and Mint, as well as great enthusiasm for the Multilingual Children collaborative event at Mint and many Delft MaMas supporting our table at OPEN Zondag’s young children event.
Autumn remained busy in October with a clothes swap and Halloween Party. We also saw the first-of-its-kind event for SLiDe, as our partnership with TU Delft led to the SLiDe Social event being held on the TU Delft campus.
Still there was one more collaborative event in the season – a Pelvic Floor Health workshop at Ezzy Family Studio.
We ended the year by celebrating Delft MaMa’s volunteers. Delft MaMa’s 50+ active volunteers currently contribute to making us stand out as an organization for internationals in the South Holland region.
We celebrated DelftMaMa’s Blog, which won the Parenting Blogs Award from Amsterdam Diary, signifying the prominence of the blog in the Netherlands, as it was nominated along with 11 other blogs and won with 334 votes – 53 percent.
We also released new infographics about Delft MaMa and the SLiDe Program as part of an online engagement campaign.
Throughout the year we had a running list of things we wanted to improve about the Delft MaMa website. The wheels starting rolling with the help of a collaborator alongside Delft MaMa’s website team.
A new opportunity to support refugees through English classes was initiated and right away gained traction and willing volunteers.
Our volunteers keep Delft MaMa running smoothly!
Throughout all this, the schedule remained in place for our regular, ongoing activities. The physical activities include our two weekly playgroups, a monthly night out and book club. Our online activities include a bimonthly newsletter and (award-winning!) blog, not to mention a dynamic forum on Facebook (one of the most popular access points for Delft MaMa!).
To coordinate all that was just described, Delft MaMa teams worked well together, and we were well-prepared for each meeting, event, project, etc. We are all volunteers, and we all contribute what we can and when we can. We know we have an evolving team as well as community, and we will keep working together to support internationals in Delft!
Looking ahead: 2020
Most importantly, as we look ahead, we want to continue collaborating with local businesses, professionals and like-minded organizations to bring education to the Delft MaMa community. Through our SLiDe Program mentors, we want to continue supporting new internationals in Delft. We also want to build a stronger community by increasing engagement online and offline. We intend to work towards our goals by focusing on different areas of finances, outreach, human resources and communications.
Thanks to our sponsors and community, we earned more than €500 this year, even without a donation campaign like we had done previously. We still welcome new donations, given our annual operational costs and occasional activity costs. We also anticipate possible notarial costs for changing the bylaws.
In 2018, we also initiated the process to have Delft MaMa qualify for the ANBI (public benefit organization) status. We submitted our ANBI application last fall and are still awaiting the application’s status. For this process, we may eventually need to change our bylaws in 2020.
This year we hosted the Multilingual Children event with Ute’s International Lounge and Chameleon Reader as well as a Pelvic Floor Health workshop with Ezzy Family. Both events added to our mission of supporting internationals through education, and contained high-value content for our community. As an organization, we also learned from hosting these events and are applying what we’ve learned with each step forward.
As we look forward to more events like these, we hope to continue expanding our partnerships with intention and attention to our community’s needs. We currently have partnerships with ACCESS, International Centre the Hague, Mint kids conceptstore, TU Delft’s Coming to Delft program and Chameleon Reader. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in a partnership with Delft MaMa.
Now that we have an HR team in place, we can focus on supporting our programs and outreach with new volunteers and continue recruiting for roles across the organization.
We are now looking for volunteers to join us for several key positions and activities in 2020. Please see our collaborate page for position descriptions.
Longer term positions:
- Blog Coordinator and proofreaders
- Playgroup Coordinator and Hosts
- Facebook moderators
- Web team members
- SLiDe Mentors
For 2020, we would also like to have coordination of our key yearly events accounted for early in the year. If you’d like to volunteer to coordinate these events, please send an email:
- The Charity Walk in the spring (tentative date Saturday, 16 May)
- The Annual BBQ/potluck in the summer (tentative date Saturday, 11 July)
- The Halloween Party in autumn (tentative date Sunday, 25 October)
- Monthly Night Out (sign up here)
Delft MaMa is always available to our community via several different communication channels, and there are lots of them: our webpage, Facebook page and group, newsletter, blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You will see a new delftmama.nl in the new year, as we are working with a collaborator to enhance the user experience of our site.
Next year, we’ll be back on Instagram and are developing a plan to continue providing interesting content via this channel. We hope the blog, revamped in March of 2018 and award-winning as of July 2019, will continue to document and inform the Delft MaMa community. We are grateful for the momentum the blog gained over the past couple years and are actively searching for a new coordinator (or two!).
All of these channels are maintained by dedicated volunteers so Delft MaMa can maintain as much transparency and accessibility for everyone. You can find the yearly communications report here. Any ideas and/or suggestions regarding communications are always welcome. Our goal is to integrate and be present for the international community in Delft surroundings.
For any questions about communications, please contact us via e-mail.
We want to send a big thank you to all reading this for being part of this community. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!