It gives us great pleasure to announce that our Director, Krystyna Bowman, was selected by the American Association of Birth Centers to receive the 2021 AABC Community Award in recognition of her work at Willow Wish to remove financial barriers to high-quality pregnancy and birthing options.
Krystyna gratefully accepted this award in the name of the founders, the volunteers, donors and sponsors that have been an integral part of the Willow Wish journey.
Hello, my name is Krystyna Bowman, and I am so pleased and honored to accept and thank the American Association of Birth Centers for awarding myself and by extension, the team who volunteers at the nonprofit, Willow Wish, with the 2021 AABC Community Award in recognition of our work to remove financial barriers to high-quality pregnancy and birthing options.
Willow Wish is a grant program seeking to make the birth center experience accessible to families in Arizona. Our mission is to uphold the human and civil rights of birthing people to choose a birth place supported by best evidence, regardless of their ability to pay.
It is our belief that peaceful, evidence-based care should not be a privilege only for those who can afford it. We believe that the kind of care that focuses on the individual person and honors them as a knowing participant in their pregnancy, labor and birth journey is the right of all birthing people.
We are working to make it possible for anyone who is wishing to birth at an accredited free-standing birth center in Arizona to do so. If someone cannot afford to pay the facility fee at the place of their choice, then they can apply to the Willow Wish Grant Program to help make their birth center dream come true. To date, we have had the honor of awarding 43 grants, written to three different accredited free-standing birth centers.
To that end, I would like to thank Belinda Hodder and Diane Ortega for trusting me to nurture and grow their dream of having a birth center grant program in Arizona.
I also want to thank the birth centers that provide care to Arizona families who want the opportunity to be seen, heard and respected in their birth journeys when they have the benefit of the midwifery care that is available at free standing birth centers.
I am so grateful to our incredible 100% volunteer team. The fundraising event team at Willow Wish is made possible thanks to an incredible group of mothers who have found time to volunteer over the last four years in their season of giving. Thanks to them, we have been able to run several fundraising events every year since 2018. They rose to the challenge of the pandemic, proved their resilience by pivoting to host on-line events in 2020, and grew our grant program in spite of this interesting time.
I also want to express my profound gratitude to the sponsors and donors that attend those events and trust us to be good stewards of their generous donations. They have made so many incredible stories come true: from first time parents to those wishing for redemption births, each appeal letter and each testimonial is an inspiration to continue doing this work for the families who know in their heart of hearts that birth matters: it is important, it is sacred, and it is transformative in one way or another each time.
I would also like to acknowledge the dedicated members of the Willow Wish Board of Directors who have walked every step of this journey with me since our founding in 2016. With their eye to the future, I am confident that Willow Wish will continue to make a difference for Arizona families and beyond.
Thank you again for the distinction of receiving this award. I hold each and every one of you in the highest regard and esteem for your willingness to live the on-call life in the service of others. Your work is the work that only you can do. The families who call you “my midwife” are so grateful for all that you are and all that you do to advocate and protect their right to be unfettered in the way their body opens and their baby emerges as they work together to bring a new soul earthside. May your head, your hands and your heart continue to be blessed as you sit in watchful waiting and honor the birth journeys that are woven into the fabric of your life.