With photographs of babies and families, and a speed painting presentation from Even Struck, the Jackson/Hillsdale chapter of Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health, hosted an event on Oct. 22 at Rough Draft for “Celebrate Babies Week.”
The Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health is a non-profit professional organization that promotes optimal infant and early childhood mental health by supporting and helping professionals who work with infants, young children, and their families. “Celebrate Babies Week” promotes what MAIMH does and the lives of the babies and toddlers they work for.
The event was a display of photographs of different babies and families by Kelle Patillo. She coupled them with quotes from the babies’ perspective promoting mental health for babies, like “When my needs are met, my trust grows.”
Along with Patillo’s photographs, 17-year-old speed painter Evan Struck, created a painting in just under eight minutes, which will be auctioned off to raise money for the MAIMH.
Andrea Bricker, who helped plan the Celebrate Babies event, is the president of the Jackson/Hillsdale Chapter of MAIMH and also an ‘87 graduate of Hillsdale College, and has been working in the Hillsdale community for 25 years providing support for families.
“It’s such a critical time, the first three years of life,”Bricker said. “So we really promote that those critical first three years, it’s all about a relationship. We support the parents that are raising the babies.”
Bricker explained that with the MAIMH, clinicians go through endorsement, which means that they are ensured that they have the right training to be able to work with infants and toddlers, since they are such a special age group.
She pointed out that with Patillo’s photographs they were trying to communicate the power and importance of the early years.
“It’s these magical moments captured and matched with profound truths,” Bricker said. “They are just really powerful reminders of what every child in the world needs.”
Patillo is a mother of three young girls and just about a year ago starting doing photography professionally.
“I love photographing families and especially newborns so that’s where I feel like my heart is, with newborns and babies,” Patillo said. “So this is the perfect project to take on.”
And though the event was not large, they hope to grow in the future and keep promoting infant health and the importance of the early years in a child’s life.
“We did start a little bit smaller but we hope to grow,” Jen Houston, one of the event coordinators said.