I’m often astounded at the power of one mom on a mission, whether it’s to right a wrong, make the world a better place for her children, or do something she’s always wanted to accomplish.
When I heard about Anne Schneider, founder of Bluegrass for Babies, I wanted to learn more about what this one Cincinnati woman is doing to improve children’s health. Her story inspired me, and maybe it will spark you to hatch your own plan for good — or support another mom’s mission.
Q: What is Bluegrass for Babies?
Launched as an annual bluegrass benefit concert, Bluegrass for Babies has evolved into an organization that provides tools, resources, and year-round special events centered on helping parents create an environment to raise healthy children, right from the start. The organization supports the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which provides comprehensive care for infants before, during and after delivery so that all children can have the best start to life.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the organization?
My husband Matt and I started Bluegrass for Babies as a way to give back to Cincinnati Children’s. Our son Nicholas required life-saving surgery at the hospital when he was less than two days old and after receiving world-class emergency care; we wanted to be able to show our gratitude. We married our passion for the roots of American music–bluegrass music–to the roots of planting a healthy start for children. In September 2009, we repurposed our annual backyard neighborhood barbeque into a benefit for Children’s, and Bluegrass for Babies was born.
Q: What are some of the things your organization is doing year-round to benefit parents and their children?
We host a monthly Healthy Kids Lab at the Cincinnati Children’s Museum. The purpose of the program is to enable families to make educated choices on how to best create a home environment to raise healthy children, right from the start. The program is rooted in three main categories: healthy eating, toxin awareness, and waste management. We have also brought our Healthy Kids Labs to preschools and community events such as the recent Greenmarket.
We also hosted our first Midsummer Harvest Farm to Table fundraising event in June featuring 12 of the top sustainable chefs in Cincinnati. We were passionate about hosting the Midsummer Harvest Farm to Table event because it is the perfect embodiment of our recently launched Healthy Kids for a Brighter Future educational program that we host each month at the Cincinnati Children’s Museum.
From the choice of food sourced, to the sustainably focused chefs, to zero waste, all of these lessons were reflected in the Farm to Table event.
This event also allowed Bluegrass for Babies to shine light on the work of Dr. Louis Muglia, the Director of the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In his keynote, he shared the ground breaking work of the Center whose mission is to stop premature births from occurring.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about the Bluegrass for Babies Benefit Concert.
In celebration of its 5th anniversary, Bluegrass for Babies has brought together a concert lineup featuring performances by some of the region’s top bluegrass bands: Wild Carrot, Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, and The 23 String Band.
Wild Carrot will kick things off, performing at 3:00pm in its inaugural appearance with the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars taking to the stage at 5:00pm. Rounding out the evening at 6:45 pm will be newcomer and rising star, The 23 String Band out of Louisville. Special guest Jennifer Ellis will also perform her popular children’s songs at 4:15pm.
Today, Bluegrass for Babies is a year-round non-profit organization focused on improving children’s health and becoming a go-to resource when it comes to helping parents create an environment to raise healthy children, right from the start. This year’s concert-goers can partake in six interactive experiences:
Enjoy local, sustainably raised food from our Green B.E.A.N. Delivery Concession Stands, sample free guacamole from Chipotle, and choose from several locally made desserts. This area will also be the hub of a variety of farm-to-table themed kids’ activities.
Learn simple steps to create a healthier home environment.
Take part in activities promoting healthy habits and disease prevention.
Burn off energy through exercise activities such as soccer, basketball, and more!
Art & Music
Nurture childhood development through numerous art and music activities.
Special Needs Quiet Area
In the event of overstimulation, the Special Needs Quiet Area will provide a quiet refuge for special needs children and their families. This area is sponsored by the Merrill Lynch YHSA Group of Dayton.
All of the participating exhibitors and vendors were handpicked to be a part of the Bluegrass for Babies experience based on their commitment to provide products or services to help create a safe environment to raise healthy children.
The proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the ground-breaking Center for the Prevention of Preterm Birth.
“Premature birth ranks as the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. Preterm birth rates in America exceed most other developed nations. And despite our improving technology, the actual cause goes unexplained in as many as 50 percent of all preterm births,” according to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“The frequency of prematurity and its severe consequences have prompted national calls for action:
- The March of Dimes has targeted prematurity as its new “polio” campaign.
- The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has called for new transdisciplinary research centers to study preterm birth prevention.
- The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has initiated a network of investigators to think about innovative approaches to the problem.
“The Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth is committed to making progress in understanding and preventing prematurity – in our community and across the nation.”
Q: What advice can you offer to other women who are balancing motherhood and running an organization?
I am very conscious of managing my time and being 100% present with my kids for certain periods of the day. I can’t do it all day, nor do I feel that I need to, but there are certain moments where I am all theirs. It is always a challenge, but I don’t find I have to manage “the guilt” by simply setting aside that time each day.
Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
I would advise them to start small, engage your friends, reach out to like-minded influencers and just do it. I also think you always need to be flexible and adapt.