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Peace In Our Hands™

Healthy Family Living's™
dove logo is formed by three human hands, representing that our programs are about relationships expressing the
Peace In Our Hands™

Executive Summary

A Foundation for Healthy Family Living™ (HFL) enhances the health of children, families and communities through educational programs on respectful communication and nurturing touch. HFL is a not-for-profit based in Sonoma, California. It was founded in 1997, by Kalena Babeshoff, director, and a small Board of Directors. HFL’s approach to infant massage and communication supports the development of healthy loving parent-child relationships. This healthy relationship supports the child’s emotional, mental and physical health in the crucial early years. HFL has evolved this approach to infant massage and communication through extensive experience. As educators, we have an expanded understanding of parent-child interaction enhanced through touch and massage. We recognized infant massage as an opportunity for a parent to attune and respond to their child’s facial expressions, eye contact and other cues. Parents’ attunement to their child is key to healthy relationship attachment, and in turn essential to the child’s optimal brain development. Research substantiates that the emotional and relational patterns learned in the early years last a lifetime. As Instructors certified by HFL teach Infant Massage Communication to families, they are actually teaching the subtle and profound art of relationship.

Nearly 10,000 families have been served by instructors certified by HFL. In 2001—02, HFL presented 15 Infant Massage Communication trainings, leading to certification of instructors. A Foundation for Healthy Family Living™ also presented eight staff trainings for Early Intervention agencies. Early Intervention specialists report that infant massage provides great benefits to their clients, families with children with special needs or at risk for child abuse or neglect.

Some of our on-going clients are:
· Early Head Start
· Easter Seals
· The Blind Babies Foundation
· Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery

These organizations continue to enroll staff members or sponsor trainings at their site. Repeated requests from EI professionals motivated HFL to develop an advanced training “Deepening Interactions with Families and Their Children with Special Needs” launched in July, 2002. This advanced training further prepares EI specialists to adapt infant massage for children with a range of special needs diagnoses. Trainees also learn advanced communication skills and deepen their ability to assist parents with the grief, guilt and fear that often accompany special diagnoses. Our trainings continue to fill to capacity and receive positive evaluations from participants.

Unfortunately, special needs diagnoses continue to rise. Compassionate, skilled Early Intervention specialists trained in Infant Massage will be in high demand. HFL plans to launch evaluation studies on the benefits of Infant Massage with both normal and special needs children and families. We intend to initiate additional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit programs, based on our successful collaboration with the NICU Staff at Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center.

AFHFL continues to seek funding partners to support our exploration of infant massage, in relation to optimal human relationships and child development, relief of suffering in special needs children and their families, and prevention of child abuse. We are launching a newsletter to serve our community of instructors, Early Intervention organizations and families. We are creating an Instructor Advisory Board and disseminating our findings at conferences, in journals and mainstream media. We invite you to join us.
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