Part 7 of a Series
Over the last few months, our blog team has been sharing interviews with the coordinators of the various departments that make up the Delft MaMa organization. These coordinators, all of whom are volunteers, are the people who keep Delft MaMa such an active, vibrant community that helps so many parents in the Delft area.
In this interview, we introduce you to the Founder of Delft MaMa, Lucie Cunningham.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Lucie Cunningham. I am 50 years old and my son Loïc is now 19. I became pregnant with him 3 months after moving to Delft. Now I live in Glasgow, Scotland with my lovely husband. Our son has now returned to our Delft home to study. He hopes to start a career in Cyber Security this year. Loïc was the first Delft MaMa baby ever. His birth made me realize that there were other international pregnant ladies and new mothers who needed some guidance about parenting supports and resources available in the Delft area. I discovered that there were many women who were yearning for an accessible, inclusive and non-judgmental peer community. I established Delft MaMa to provide international families with support and information about the Dutch systems for perinatal and postnatal care, childcare, nursery and schools.
What is your role within the Delft Mama Organization?
I founded Delft MaMa, then was chair of the board for a couple of years. Following that, I became a regular board member and an advisor. Nowadays, I am one of the moderators of the Delft MaMa Facebook group. It is wonderful that Delft MaMa has new leadership thanks to Renée Tentori, as well as terrific board members and volunteers. As international parents, we know that it’s possible to end up moving to other cities, countries and continents, sometimes with hardly any notice. This means that Delft MaMa constantly needs to enroll and train new volunteers who each enrich the organization and community!
How DID you create and establish Delft MaMa?
First, I received a leadership training called Stuurvrouwen funded by the municipality of Delft for highly educated, non-Dutch women who wanted to become board members of Delft associations, non-profits or political parties. Then, a Dutch non-profit incubator called Voor Delft supported me for over 2 years to formally register Delft MaMa as a non-profit and apply for grants. These grants allowed me to launch the events I had conceived, including the Baby Multicultural Festival and Baby Information Fair. I put my heart and soul into developing Delft MaMa, learning Dutch to participate in many Dutch non-profit related programs and events.
How Did DELFT MAMA CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR ADAPTATION TO LIFE IN THE NETHERLANDS?
It changed my life dramatically. My connection with the expat community through Delft MaMa prompted the Delft Municipality to recruit me as a freelance expat advisor for their Expat Project Team. This then led to The Hague Municipality hiring me as a freelance project manager of The World in Your Classroom. If you are wondering if volunteering leads to opportunities, I can definitely say “yes!” Very importantly, creating Delft MaMa gave me a direction, a purpose, and learning opportunities to grow while being the mother of a young child. I made many friends and worked with talented colleagues throughout my years at Delft MaMa.
What’s your favorite place in Delft?
The library DOK. I have visited and used many libraries in different countries (I am now working part-time as a library assistant for Glasgow public libraries) and it is such a welcoming and innovative organization and building. I have very fond memories of events and casual meetings with friends there.
What do you do for fun?
I love to interact with my cat and cat-sit for cats in my neighborhood. Playing word games and streaming films and series online are other favorite activities. I miss going on bike rides; Glasgow is a very car-orientated, hilly city, so I don’t feel safe biking here. I love listening to music and since this summer, I am a trained Bookbug instructor at my main library branch. This involves singing nursery and bouncing rhymes to parents with their babies and toddlers and it is a very joyful thing to do. I even learned a couple of songs in Scots for this.
Share a secret with us!
I almost shook the hand of Queen Maxima at a charitable event in Amsterdam. We made eye contact and smiled but her bodyguard came to let her know it was time to leave, so that handshake never happened. However, Delft MaMa DID receive some funds from the Dutch royal foundation, het Oranje Fonds, which supports community programs across the Netherlands. Additionally, The Delft MaMa multicultural pancake party concept was shared on their 10th anniversary calendar with inspirational ideas for community projects.
Volunteer with Delft MaMa
Delft MaMa is run by a team of talented and dedicated volunteers, eager to participate in projects and give a little bit (or a lot) of our time and expertise – and then go the extra mile too! We organize different activities with a wide range of purposes: give workshops, coordinate playgroups, and other social and business meetings, all with the common goal of connecting international families in Delft and its surrounds. So, if you feel that you have one or two hours to spare here and there, please consider joining our team of volunteers. It will strengthen your connections even more!