As we move from spring to summer, transition is in the air – plants blossom after a winter’s sleep, clothing is switched from heavy down jackets to light and airy dresses, and schedules shift focus, from work to rest and enjoyment. I grew up in Southern California, USA, where the weather is perpetually summer. While this seems like a dream in the middle of the rainy and cold Dutch winter, I love living in a place with proper seasons. The seasons allow you to focus on certain things for a limited time. Winter might bring more of a focus on career, while summer allows for rest and reconnection with those we love. And when you know that this is only for a season, it makes you much more likely to take advantage of every sunny day, because you know it will be very dark in a few months’ time.
Much as the season is shifting, so are things in Delft MaMa.
Transitions of the past And Present
Delft MaMa was created in 2007 by Lucie Cunningham. You can read more about her journey HERE.
When Lucie moved away in 2019, Delft MaMa continued to be run by the Board of Directors. There have been a few chairpersons since Lucie left. Renée Tentori was the most recent. Renée led Delft MaMa in the transition out of Covid times. Along with the Board of Directors and a team of volunteers, she restarted in-person events, including the playgroup. The team continued the newsletter and blog, ran a fun Halloween event in October 2022 to celebrate 15 years of Delft MaMa, and hosted a High Tea in December 2022 to thank the current volunteers. In addition to the events, the team continued the daily administration work that kept Delft MaMa running as a Dutch Stichting (non-profit).
Renée is stepping down as of 1 July. We are so grateful to her for her leadership in this post-Covid transition and wish her the best as she builds her business and enjoys the fleeting time she has with her teenage children.
Also stepping down from the board is Hellen Boortman. Hellen joined the board in December 2017 as the secretary and worked on the Newsletter team. She was one of the board members through Covid times that kept things running virtually.
Two current board members, Becky Hazlett and Diana Oord, will continue to volunteer in communications and as the treasurer, respectively. The Chair position will be taken over by Vania Suazo, our Blog Team Coordinator, who will continue coordinating the blog and step into overseeing the website.
Starting 1 September, I will be taking over the leadership of Delft MaMa. My title will be Vice Chairperson.
Our Vision for the Future
There are three parts to the new Board’s vision for Delft MaMa in the next year.
We want to see our event calendar full again! This means consistent weekly playgroups and hopefully expanding to more days. This means Parent’s Night Out once a month where we can chat, be creative, and possibly explore new hobbies together. Furthermore, we want to do more community-wide social events where we can connect as whole families and have fun together, such as hikes and visits to the zoo together. Also, informational workshops which will help you feel supported as a parent. The possibilities for events are endless!
We want to make volunteering with Delft MaMa easy and something that is rewarding for you. We will be creating a new system for onboarding volunteers. There are so many talented people in our community and we want to facilitate ways in which they can share their expertise. We will continue the tradition of holding an end-of-the-year “Thank You” event for volunteers as well. Delft MaMa has always been run by volunteers and will continue to need your help as we continue our work of connecting international families in Delft.
As you may have seen from our Demographic Survey we sent out a few weeks ago, we are trying to gain funding through grants and other partnership opportunities. This will be a big task, but we are excited to see how outside funding will support our work. We believe that having an outside source of funding will allow us to create a more sustainable operating structure, which will allow us to do more events and better support volunteers. In the end, all of these things will help us achieve our mission: to nurture a community of international families in Delft through advice, support, and friendship.
Delft MaMa is in a season of change. Much in the same way that we cannot have summer without spring, we would not be where we are today without those who came before. My hope is that we are in a season of growth and expansion. I dream about the day when Delft MaMa will welcome EVERY family moving to Delft, no matter if they are an international family or Dutch, no matter if they are new parents or seasoned experts, and no matter what their family structure may be. I dream about continuing this wide network of friendships, so no matter where you go in the world, you could have a friend you met through Delft MaMa. I dream about Delft MaMa being home for anyone who feels like they need one. So much of this is already in the make-up of Delft MaMa. My hope is that this is the season where it will burst forth again and blossom.
Want to come along for the adventure?
Robyn’s favorite thing is raising her 3 kids with her partner Danny. Originally from California, her then family of 3 moved to Switzerland in 2018. Her second baby was born there. In August 2022, they made a permanent move to Delft only 8 weeks after the birth of their third baby. She studied elementary education and social justice at University. Before she had kids she taught 13-14 year olds math and science. In the Fall of 2023, she is looking forward to leading Delft MaMa and continuing the tradition of support and friendship this community provides international families living in Delft. In her free time, she loves to garden, read, run, and cook.