The International Cesarean Awareness Network is powered by the selfless efforts of our numerous volunteers. We cannot thank our dedicated volunteers enough for their cooperation and service in assisting ICAN with accomplishing its mission.
In an effort to acknowledge some of our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to offer support, education, and advocacy for the mothers in their area, the International Cesarean Awareness Network is pleased to announce Elise Schultz as the April 2016 Volunteer of the Month.
Elise Schultz, this month’s honoree, is a dedicated volunteer out of ICAN of Huntsville in Alabama. She’s done great things for her community!
Get to know our Volunteer of the Month:
How long have you been an ICAN member?
I joined ICAN in September 2013, a month after I attended my first meeting. Due to other commitments I first said no to becoming more involved in our local chapter. However, less than a year later I saw how much ICAN had helped others and was helping me on my emotional recovery and was convinced to join the chapter leadership team as a co-leader and Treasurer in July 2014.
How did you first find ICAN?
I first heard of ICAN right after my cesarean with my first child when a friend mentioned it as a resource for my recovery. I emailed the contact for the local chapter listed on the main website but got no response and realized the chapter was no longer active. So I followed the main ICAN FB page. When my son was 10 months old, several moms started chatting about their cesareans in a local FB group. They took the plunge and formed a local chapter. I remember going to the first meeting and being so thankful that I had found other women who had similar emotions with their cesarean. I have been forever grateful for the support ICAN has provided me through my miscarriages and my recent VBAC.
What motivates you as a volunteer?
I want women to feel empowered with knowledge to make the best decision they can for their situation. I remember what it felt like to be overwhelmed by emotions during my first pregnancy and afterwards. I want to give back for the support I received on my journey towards healing. I joke I’m not a words person which makes finding the right thing to say to a mom challenging for me. Instead, I’m a numbers person. This has helped provide a wonderful balance when birth statistics or chapter finances are involved.
Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?
I have always had a passion for the weather. I work as a research meteorologist at a local university in addition to being the Chief Technology Officer of a weather analytics startup. There are many parallels between the weather and birth/medical world which has allowed me to bring different perspectives to serve each area better.
What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?
One of my proudest moments as an ICAN volunteer has been seeing our chapters hard work towards establishing the ICAN of Huntsville Doula Grant for Expectant Mothers pay off through the stories of empowerment our grant winners have shared. The hardest moments are knowing there are limited or no options when women ask if there are care providers locally that support VBACs.
We appreciate you so much, Elise! Thank you for all that you do to support birthing women!