Our HistoryFor over 20 years, World Peace Parents Foundation has been strengthening the natural family through parenting programs that support parents from pregnancy to thirteen. What once began as a Rotary Club initiative has turned into a nation-wide digital program serving families across the globe!
The Foundations Decade affiliated with Rotary Clubs
In the Spring of 2003, the Rotary Club of Garrettsville-Hiram Ohio organized and sponsored a successful community service project to strengthen community families. Known as Family Week, the project was well received in the community, and it nearly doubled club membership.
The Chairman of the Family Week project, Vibert Kesler, felt that other Rotary clubs and their respective communities could also benefit from the Family Week project. He and his wife organized World Peace Parents Foundation as a nonprofit corporation in September 2003. They applied for and received a 501(c)(3) public charity IRS determination letter for the Foundation in June 2004.
After altering and simplifying the initial Family Week project, the Foundation sponsored project booths at Rotary International Conventions in Chicago (2005), Copenhagen (2006), and Salt Lake City (2007). Several hundred Rotary Club Presidents visited the booths, and some followed through asking for additional information. A handful of clubs sponsored family week projects in their local communities. But after the Salt Lake City Convention, it was obvious that the Family
Week project idea was not catching on with Rotary clubs even though the original project in Ohio was celebrated for more than ten years.
A few weeks after the 2007 Salt Lake City Convention, Mr. Kesler read a newspaper article reporting on family research conducted by Princeton and Columbia Universities that caught his attention. Known as “The Fragile Family and Child Well-being Project, the researchers found that parents engaged in hospital birthing centers and given positive parenting information during the “magic moment following birth” had a positive long-term impact on parents of newborns.
After discussing this finding with a lead Fragile Family researcher at Princeton, 1 Mr. Kesler altered the Family Week program to focus on providing parenting materials to parents of newborns in hospital birthing centers. This iteration of the Foundation’s mission to strengthen families is identified as “Begin with the Children (BWC).” BWC was designed as a parenting program that Rotary clubs could sponsor in their respective communities through local hospital birthing centers. The BWC parenting program was made available to Rotary clubs at the 2008 Rotary International Convention in Los Angeles.
Twenty-five clubs signed up as potential sponsors of BWC. Five clubs, two in Arizona, two in Ohio, and one in North Carolina followed through as sponsors of BWC in their local communities starting in 2009. One by one, these five clubs discontinued their sponsorship with the last being Morganton, North Carolina in 2012. A major reason for the failure of BWC with Rotary clubs was the Rotary International policy of changing leadership from top to bottom annually on July 1st . While this policy invigorates Rotary leadership throughout the organization, at the local club level consistency can be challenge because an incoming club president may
want to pursue a different project than his predecessor.
Rotary International and Its thousands of Clubs throughout world provide remarkable and needed service. Its program to eliminate polio world-wide has been a huge success. Unfortunately, our BWC parenting program was not a good fit with annual change of Rotary club leadership.
Begin with the Children Parenting Program Management
Starting in 2012, the Foundation assumed management of its BWC parenting program. From the five Rotary Club pilot programs, the Foundation learned these two important things:
1. Parents liked that idea of receiving age-appropriate parenting information each month.
2. That using hospital personnel to engage parents of newborns was sporadic at best.
The Foundation’s revised parent engagement plan used grandmother volunteers to meet with parents of newborns in hospital’s birthing centers to enroll them in its BWC parenting plan. It took two years of negotiations to gain permission to pilot test BWC in a hospital birthing center.
After making refinements compatible with hospital protocols, the plan worked. This opened the door to additional hospitals and by 2020 the Foundation had enrolled more than 9,000 families in its BWC parenting program.
The Impact of the 20202-2023 COVID Pandemic
Overnight, Covid Pandemic hospital policies limited the presence of all visitors in birthing centers except for attending medical personnel and fathers. This nullified the Foundation’s BWC in hospital parent engagement business plan.
After considering options, the Board of Directors decided to develop a new business plan for its BWC parenting program using social media. The Foundation’s “Post-Covid Business Plan” required the development of an app and converting all BWC parenting materials to smartphone and tablet use. This was a major time-consuming task that took nearly three years. The Foundation launched BWC’s social media presence on Instagram and Facebook in January 2023. Its future activities call for aggressively expanding its social media presence to additional disciplines.