The impact on children made worldwide through the Spoon Foundation came to the Pearl Rotary podium 3/29 in the person of Mishelle Rudzinski, co-founder and executive director.
Founded in 2007 by two women who were adopting children from Kazakhstan, Spoon developed a mission to improve the nutritional status for children who were living in homes (like orphanages) instead of with families. Mishelle and co-founder Cindy Kaplan had observed a "horrible cycle in residential care facilities that were fraught with malnutrition," she told Rotarians. (Both had adopted daughters with challenging infancy experiences.)
In countries like Vietnam, Uganda and Belarus--and here in the States, Spoon "trains local practitioners in best food and feeding practices." Included are emphases on detecting anemia, measuring growth, and recommending food and nutrition plans.
Perhaps her own journey as an adopted mother best demonstrated the work of (and need for) Spoon's mission. Her poorly developing daughter was said to have cerebral palsy when in an orphanage-like setting. Mishelle was told she may not live to 18. But once in her family, the diagnosis changed to Ricketts. Images showed a baby who could hardly walk who later was seen running freely after the proper care was given. "It was malnutrition," Mishelle said succinctly.
Spoon's mission is clearly stated: "By including highly vulnerable children in efforts towards better nutrition, SPOON contributes to achieving health for all, attaining the sustainable development goals, and supporting the transformation of child care systems to provide family care for every child. We are doing our part to ensure that millions of children experience one less barrier to enjoying the quality of life they deserve."
Rotarians can learn more about this significant non-profit based in Portland by visiting: spoonfoundation.org