Volunteer Spotlight: Gretchen Clavey

Published by Feeding Matters on Sep 04, 2019

Feeding Matters Volunteer Spotlight is a monthly Q & A series that shares the stories of our growing network of change agents, the driving force behind our vision to create a world where children with pediatric feeding disorder will thrive. This month we bring you Gretchen Clavey.

Gretchen began volunteering as a family coach for Feeding Matters back in 2016. Raising 10 children and going back to school for nursing, she realized that she could help with awareness to the medical field by serving as a Feeding Matters Community Ambassador in her home state of Illinois.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a wife and mom. Two years ago I decided to go back to school to become a nurse.

How long have you been a volunteer with Feeding Matters?
Involved since 2016, time has flown!

In which volunteer activities have you participated?
I started out with the Power of Two program because I really enjoyed working directly to support and encourage other families. After taking on more hours with school, I began serving as a Community Ambassador for Feeding Matters. As a Community Ambassador, I hope to help raise awareness about Feeding Matters and increase collaboration among families and health care professionals who serve children with pediatric feeding disorder.

What motivated you to become involved?
My youngest daughter has various medical issues including Down syndrome and a complex heart defect. She started out life completely tube fed and slowly gained the ability to eat solid foods by mouth. Over the past 6 years, she has taught me very important lessons in life about patience, acceptance, and celebrating small victories. I was looking for an opportunity to encourage others walking a similar path to myself and celebrate their child along with them.

What has been your favorite part of volunteering with Feeding Matters?
Working directly with other parents is the best part about volunteering. But I am also aware that we need more people involved as mentors and more health care providers who can collaborate in serving this population of children. As a Community Ambassador I appreciate the opportunity to help expand our outreach. I truly feel it is making a difference in the lives of children with PFD and want more of them to benefit.

What sets Feeding Matters apart from other organizations?
The twofold outreach to families as well as health care professionals is an excellent strategy to make an impact on the most children with pediatric feeding disorder. I also love the fact that Feeding Matters’ mission combines advocacy, support, education, and research. Progress in each of these areas is vital to improve the system of care that these children need and deserve.