Poverty, Pitfalls, and the Price of Diapers
By HappyBottoms with Jill Gaikowski & Ashley Allison
Poverty, Pitfalls, and the Price of DiapersAug 29, 2022
Diaper Bowl II with Kristal and Decemeber
Kristal Ronnebaum lives in Leawood with her husband Joe, black lab Bentley, son Connor 9 years, daughter Jordyn 7 years old. She’s served the veterinary pharmaceutical sales community in her career for over 15 years and dedicates countless hours to her work with HoneyDewsKC, a company dedicated to providing families with education and local resources that strengthen our relationships. Events are designed to encourage a safe space for growing grace, resilience and compassion for ourselves and one another in this great city we call HOME.
HappyBottoms holds a special place in her heart as the mission works to improve the lives of babies who are in need of diapers. Motherhood is Kristal’s greatest gift and a job she is eternally grateful to hold. Bringing greater awareness and education to the lack of resources available for mothers and babies drives her passion for the mission. It is with great hope, commitment and gratitude to get to serve as a Co-Chair to Diaper Bowl II once again. Now is the time when these babies need our love more than ever.
Decemeber Brammer is not a Kansas City native, but has lived in the city for the last 14 years. And definitely where she calls home now with her husband Scott and two boys Decker and Stricklen. Spending time with her family, designing and decorating their new home, and enjoying a glass of wine or coffee are a few of her favorite things. Being busy is her game! Working as a Project Manager for Sun Life occupies her during the day. But what she loves the most, is bridging her passion and business of event and wedding planning, Soirée Event Designs, by serving and lending her expertise in the community.
The Best People! With the HappyBottoms Team
Pam, Susan, Elizabeth, Stacy, Andrea, Brittany, and Brandon join us today on the podcast. These folks, along with Ashley and I, keep the wheels of HappyBottoms turning day in and day out. Don't miss Stacy's mic-drop moment! If you know one of these folks, be sure to give them a huge hug for their passion and work!
Ladies.....VOTE! With Wendy Doyle
Wendy Doyle fearlessly advocates for women’s economic and civic advancement by amplifying women’s voices and producing results. Wendy is at the forefront of all economic policies that impact women and their families. She regularly educates and informs decision-makers and community leaders about policy solutions for women at local, county, and state levels. Translating information into action, she testifies frequently to state legislatures, publishes op-eds in state newspapers, serves as a dynamic and informative presenter, and champions systemic policy change for governments and corporations through her thought leadership.
During her nine-year tenure at United WE, Wendy has led the organization to invest in research, advocacy, and policy solutions to remove economic barriers for women, including conducting 21 meaningful research studies, advocating for issues resulting in 47 policy actions, and supporting more than 175 women in securing civic appointments. Wendy is committed to impacting hundreds of thousands of women and families through transformative research, scaling United WE’s fast-growing Appointments Project®, advocating for reforms that honor the legacies of women, and contributing to policy solutions that advance equal pay, paid family leave, affordable childcare and occupational licensing, among others.
Since 2013, Wendy has expanded United WE’s focus from serving Kansas City to all of Kansas and Missouri, and her success in the Heartland is spreading nationwide to cities including St. Louis, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and South San Francisco. Wendy’s previous experience as an executive and strategic consultant for large nonprofits provides a unique systems approach to accelerating the pace of change through partnerships.
Wendy earned a B.A. from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and was recognized in 2021 as an Idealist of the Year by City Year. Wendy was inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame in October 2021. Her personal interests include running, traveling, modern art and design, and restoring old cars.
To join the upcoming townhall we discuss in this episode, click here: https://united-we.org/townhalls
D.R., Home school, Policy, oh my! - with Phillip Vander Klay from the National Diaper Bank Network
Thrilled to have the former Director of Policy and Government Relations from the National Diaper Bank Network on our podcast today. The National Diaper Bank Network brings diaper banks together across the country through an annual conference and resources, like Phillip Vander Klay. Phillip even went to Jefferson City with HappyBottoms earlier this year to advocate for removing the luxury diaper tax on diapers. He knows his government, and thank goodness for that! Please enjoy, Phillip!
That Time We Hired Our First Operations Director - with Elizabeth Mayer
After 25+ years with the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired, we could not be more thrilled to have Elizabeth join the team as our Operations Director. She brings calmness, understanding, a long line of experience and wealth of knowledge crucial to this stage of the nonprofit evolution. We hope you enjoy meeting Elizabeth!
The Best Story Teller - with Jorge Medina
Jorge was born and raised in Laredo, Texas and joined the Texas Diaper Bank in 2001. His first professional career was 10 years of banking and financial services with a local bank. He worked with the City of Laredo, Economic Development Department as Grant Writer and Laredo Community College, as Program Director of the Rio Grande Environmental Study Center, and Executive Director of Mi Laredo, Goals for the 90’s. In 2001, Jorge moved to San Antonio, Texas 2 weeks before 9-11.
The Texas Diaper Bank was originally the Hispanic Religious Partnership for Community Health. The organization was a consortium of ten United Methodist Churches providing outreach ministries in the poorest churches of San Antonio. In 2011, Jorge secured funding to establish a Diaper distribution program. In 2013, the Board agreed to change the organizations name to Texas Diaper Bank and in 2017, Hurricane Harvey happened and it changed everything. We hope you enjoy....Jorge Medina!
She's a Pediatric Rock Star! - with Dr. Natasha Burgert
Dr. Natasha is a pediatrician who practices is in Overland Park, KS. Although her passion remains direct patient care, she also uses various digital and traditional media outlets to promote child health and wellness. Check her out on social platforms @KCKidsDoc.
Dr. Natasha has been able work in science communication through her role as National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Counsel of Communications and Media for the AAP. She has writing experience as a regular contributor to NBC Learn’s Parent Tool Kit, and US News and World Report, and Forbes Health. She promotes vaccinations for children and serves on Missouri’s Advisory Committee for Childhood Immunizations. Dr. Natasha is also a nationally recognized speaker in health innovation, health care social media, vaccine advocacy, and media use with children.
Dr. Natasha is fueled by her husband, Dr. Kevin, and their two dynamic kids. As a family, they love to travel and share new adventures. Kevin and Natasha also like to golf and are in a couples league in the spring and summer. In her second life, she would be a race car driver. She loves to watch Formula 1 racing and has taken sport driving classes across the Country. And Jill if very sad we didn't get to this topic in today's episode. Please enjoy, Dr. Natasha!
Super Volunteer Jerri Ussery
Jerri Ussery loves to volunteer at HappyBottoms Diaper Bank and a few other organizations in the community. She worked in the healthcare industry for the past 25 years and the childcare field prior to that. Jerri blessed to have strong faith and a support network of amazing friends and her greatest joy in life definitely comes from being a mom!!! We hope you enjoy Jerri!
The One With Julie Carmicheal
Julie Carmichael has her MPA in Public Finance from Syracuse University. For 7 years she served as Director of Programs for Amethyst Place, located in Kansas City’s urban core, a facility that provides supportive housing for women who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction, and their children. Prior to joining Amethyst Place Julie was owner of Public Finance Consultants for 22 years, working as a financial management consultant for over 30 area municipalities and nonprofits. Julie is currently working as a consultant to several nonprofits and in partnership with the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC, continuing her advocacy work to influence public policies and support programs that improve the lives of low-income children and families. We hope you enjoy, Julie Carmichael!
The FBI is listening now, with Carrie Stewart
Carrie grew up in Kansas City, and graduated from Oak Park High school. After received her Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration degree at Truman State University, she began a 20 year career (and counting!) at Commerce Bank. She was a senior advisor and relationship manager in the Commerce Trust Company, providing fiduciary and trust administrative services to foundations and endowments. In 2014, Carrie joined the Charitable Trusts & Foundations group, where she serves as the assistant director and a program officer. In this role, she builds relationships with local nonprofits to assist with discretionary grant making for several private foundations and charitable trusts.
In the community, Carrie proudly served on the board of HappyBottoms for 8 years, and is on the finance committee of Crossroads Charter Schools. She is also past president of Mid-America Charitable Gift planners, and immediate past chair of the Park Hill Christian Church Endowment Trustees. Outside of work and community service, you will find Carrie at the track or football field cheering on her 13 year old son Ethan.
Please enjoy this look back at some of our favorite clips and guests so far! Enjoy!
Find the Joy, with Michelle Goth
Michelle Goth is a Kansas City based food blogger and cookbook author who has been sharing recipes on her blog, Blackberry Babe for the past 8 years. Her debut cookbook A Crowded Table was released in 2021.
Michelle's work has appeared in publications like Men's Health, Country Living and Better Homes and Gardens, and she has developed recipes for more than 100 major food brands and grocers.
You can find Michelle on Instagram at @blackberrycooks, or on her web-site, www.blackberrybabe.com.
The Email That Inspired HappyBottoms, with Lisa Truong
Lisa Truong is a social entrepreneur with 20 years experience in non-profit and communications sector. She has been working across sectors to build public and private partnerships to address diaper need since 2009. Under Lisa’s leadership, Help a Mother Out has grown from a grassroots, volunteer-run kitchen table idea to a nationally-recognized, policy-influencing organization with an annual operating budget of $2.5 million. During her tenure, HAMO established (2015) and operates the nation’s first publicly funded diaper program, the San Francisco Diaper Bank. Lisa is a 1.5 generation immigrant and grew up in the Bay Area. She is a graduate of the University of California, at Berkeley and is one of Jill's diaper banking idol's. Please enjoy....Lisa!
The article referenced in the podcast can be found here: https://www.helpamotherout.org/blog/2015/11/4/if-the-government-can-make-cheese-why-cant-they-make-diapers
Family: The Best Type of Riches, with Hakima Payne
Hakima Tafunzi Payne, known to her community as Mama Hakima, is the founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Uzazi Village, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating health outcome disparities in maternal and infant health in African-American communities. She holds a Bachelors in Nursing and a Masters in Nursing Education and is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing Education from Walden University. Ms. Payne is the creator of the Sister Doula Program (a community-based home visiting community health worker program for pregnant individuals), Chocolate Milk Café, (a breastfeeding support group for Black families), and the Village Circle, an Afro-centric group prenatal care model. She sits on her local Fetal Infant Mortality Review Board (FIMR) to address Black infant mortality. Ms. Payne is the owner of a national consulting firm, Global Village Doula. Ms. Payne works tirelessly to make birth safer, the village healthier, and to promote anti-racist care models for Black and African-American families. She is the subject of an upcoming documentary, “Sister Doulas” Ms. Payne resides in Kansas City, Missouri.
Income Equality, it's a thing - with Jim MacDonald
Jim MacDonald is the Senior Vice-President for Community Investment and Agency Relations at United Way of Greater Kansas City. In his role with United Way, Jim is responsible for managing a portfolio of $15 million worth of annual investments in health and human service programs throughout Greater Kansas City. Jim also oversees a range of projects and initiatives aimed at combating poverty and building financial stability among low-income families. Jim has worked for United Way in various capacities for 29 years, having served with the United Ways in Kansas City and Jacksonville, Florida. Jim and his husband Andy are actively involved in efforts to promote LGBT equality in Kansas City, particularly on behalf of LGBT youth and families, and live with their daughter in the Volker area. Jim is a long-standing member of the City of Kansas City’s Public Improvements Advisory Committee and a 25-year resident of midtown Kansas City. Please enjoy, Jim MaDonald!
Jill vs. Jill, with Jill Bright
Join us as we talk to Jill Bright, founder of The Diaper Bank of the Ozarks. We talk cloth diapers, the stress of starting a diaper bank, and you'll want to listen to Jill's accent all day long! The Diaper Bank of the Ozarks has been doing great work since 2012. We hope you enjoy, Jill!
The Best Kind of People, with Sharon and Rod Hennig
Rod & Sharon have been married for 8 years, are retired and live in Leawood, KS. They have 5 children between them ranging in ages from 27 – 31. They are members of Church of the Resurrection where they are active in small groups and all kinds of volunteering including serving on international mission trips. In 2012, they founded Offering Hope Foundation which has a mission of “Serving God and our neighbors, near and far, by helping children meet their most basic needs”. Through the foundation, they volunteer and grant funds to like-minded organizations. Their hobbies include reading, golfing, traveling, cooking and of course spending time with their 2 grandsons.
The One With Jill & Ashley
It's time for introductions! Listen up as Jill and Ashley talk about where they come from, when they learned about poverty, and discuss all that's to come for HappyBottoms in 2022. Stick around to the end for the new "Man on the Street" segment (it's a working title). We hope you enjoy, Jill and Ashley!
The Skin Barrier Breaks Down, the one with Dr. Lisa Avery
Today we talk to pediatrician and HappyBottoms board member, Dr. Lisa Avery. Dr. Avery talks about the affects of leaving your kiddo in diapers for too long (the skin barrier breaks down), wanting to be a doctor since she was in elementary school and how she's had to learn to speak up during COVID. In her own words, a bit more about Lisa:
I grew up in Kansas City and graduated from Oak Park High school. I attended Saint Louis University for my undergraduate education but returned to Kansas City for medical school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. I completed pediatric residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital. I continued to work at Children’s Mercy until 2014, and then I transitioned to outpatient pediatric medicine.
I have been with Priority Care Pediatrics for six years. I alternate my time as a newborn hospitalist at three Northland hospitals and seeing patients in the office. With my job, I have the opportunity to meet many families for the first time at birth and guide them through the first hours and days of parenthood. It is an honor to use my education and experience to help kids and families navigate through illness, to ensuring that well children stay healthy, my goal is comprehensive, complete medical care.
In addition to the book knowledge and clinical experience that my training has provided me, my two children Emma and Grant have made me an infinitely better pediatrician with the joy, frustrations, and worries that embody parenthood. My husband Jon is an amazing father who has made me a better doctor as well through his love, support, and his own parenting techniques.
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, wrangling our two dogs on walks, and snuggling with our two cats. I also have the honor of serving on the Board of HappyBottoms. HappyBottoms has had a tremendously positive impact on both my personal life and my professional life, helping many of the families I see on a daily basis.
We hope you enjoy, Dr. Lisa Avery!
9 Kids, 1 Bathroom, with Mark Ungashick
Mark is an extraordinary man with more knowledge than we can capture in 1 small podcast. He will definitely be a repeat guest, listen and enjoy!
The Matrescence (rhymes with adolescence)
Join us as we talk to two moms on a mission to change the landscape of maternal mental health and to identify its role and importance to overall wellness. Lauren and Megan created the The Matrescence out of a desire to help other women navigate through their personal experience with maternal mental health and wellness. They provide a platform of evidence-based resources and more importantly, a community to support, uplift, and empower one another through connection.
If you're a mamma, you're going to want to listen to this one. Connect with them on instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/thematrescence/
Please enjoy Megan and Lauren.
Love, Love, Lovely Love, with Autumn Bryant
Autumn Bryant loves her Kansas City and has an unwavering love and appreciation for her local community. She is passionate about community access and opportunity and believes that everyone has the ability to be successful if only given the chance to be. Autumn is not only a HappyBottoms client, but she is on our Young Professional Board, and diversity, equity and inclusion committee at HappyBottoms. Plus she's a single mom with an adorable 5 year old and works full time for the Kauffman Scholars Program, a program she herself was a part of. This one has already accomplished a lot and has a big future ahead. Please enjoy, Autumn!
Riding the Rails, with Pam Sutherlin
In this episode our fearless Finance Director Pam Sutherlin talks about her first experience noticing poverty, and how fundraising has always been a part of her life. Pam has been involved with HappyBottoms since it's early days and is responsible for much of the infrastructure. She's a superstar to the entire team and after giving YEARS of volunteer time as a Board member and staff, we're happy to officially have Pam onboard as part of our leadership team. You won't see her much, but her wisdom and knowledge is always behind the scenes! Plus, she has the best GIF game around! In 2021 she was recognized as one of KC Business Journals CFO of the Year Honorees. Ashley and Jill talk about Ashley's son turning 11....sometimes there are pitfalls of parenting too. Enjoy!
The Repo Man, with Richard Dixson
Entrepreneur, author, father, husband, grandfather, friend, HappyBottoms board member and diaper recipient client, Richard Dixson blows Jill and Allison away! Richard is fun-loving and lives life to the fullest. He loves raising his four grandchildren who keep him young and exhausted. He has been blessed to be married to a wonderful best friend for 36 years creating adventurous memories along the way. Richard has worn many hats over the years in corporate management and nonprofit organizations. His day job is involved with the Community Action Agency of Greater KC helping to improve the health and safety of poor homeowners throughout the Kansas City area. His passionate life project is dedicated to helping traumatized families create peaceful homes through a 9-step online parenting course he created called Drama-Free Parenting Academy. When he is not working or serving others, his time is spent writing stories for his children book series, Sophie the Unicorn. He loves traveling with his wife and grandchildren making memories they will cherish forever. Richard gets real and honest about life, and the hard choices we have to make. Enjoy!
Cloth Diapers Are A Luxury, with Tess Koppelman
On this episode we talk with former FOX4 News Reporter Tess Koppelman. Tess served on the HappyBottoms board for many years and understands diaper need very well with two small children at home. We get into disposable vs. cloth diapering, bonding with others, and how the death of Tess's brother shaped her life. We still call on Tess from time to time for advice, contacts, or anything media related. She's a lifer for sure! Enjoy!
Introducing Poverty, Pitfalls, and the Price of Diapers
Hello and welcome to Poverty, Pitfalls, and the Price of Diapers. I’m Jill Gaikowksi, a mom, sister, daughter, friend, leader, former runner and performer, sometime’s yogi, lover of sunsets and all things travel, and the Executive Director and Founder of HappyBottoms, Kansas City's diaper bank.
My co-host, and Marketing Manager at HappyBottoms, Ashley Allison is a mom, daughter, friend, music lover, runner, KC sports nut, and transplant from rural Virginia.
Ashley and I will be interviewing everyone from clients to donors, politicians to local leaders, and everyone in between. As we make these connections I hope you will learn, grow, connect and be inspired right beside us. We'll ask the same set of questions about life and leadership for each episode and see where the conversation takes us. We may have differences now but we all started somewhere....and diapers were likely a part of it.