Plano’s Heritage Farmstead Museum hasn’t had a live animal born on the farm since the 1960s when it was the private home of Ammie Wilson, one of Texas’ leading shepherdesses. The Junior FFA program at the Farmstead is about to bring back the birthing of these docile animals with hopes to provide more kids with the opportunity to raise and show an animal of their own.
Stella and Juliette are the Farmstead’s expecting ewes, with lambs due in early to mid April. Junior FFA Program Director and Heritage Farmstead Museum’s Director of Marketing and Development Kathy Strobel wanted to celebrate this joyous occasion, but “who gives a lamb a baby shower?” she jokingly asked.
Kathy and Farmstead Executive Director M’Lou Hyttinen came up with a wonderful way to give back to the community while celebrating the impending farm births. Plano ISD has been a huge supporter of the Heritage Farmstead since its doors opened in 1986. On March 3 a truly ewe-nique baby shower was held in the Farmstead’s beautifully decorated, historic pole barn. Shower guests shopped for gifts from an Amazon baby registry – for cribs, strollers, car seats, clothing and medical items – with all gifts being donated to the the School-Age Parent Program in Plano ISD.
It is a special program that helps guide and mentor Plano ISD students who are expecting babies themselves. Expecting mothers and fathers are given incentives – in the form of Bonus Bucks – for completing activities that help their babies thrive as well as for studying and completing academic requirements. The students can then use these Bonus Bucks to shop for necessary baby care items in the student store.
Guest speakers Jan Hughes, the director of the School-Age Parent program, and Karyn Smith, a former mentor of a student in the program and herself a former teen mom, spoke at the shower about how instrumental the program is in helping students achieve their academic goals and giving them a chance at a bright future. Students in the program have mentors and advocates to help them navigate the two worlds they belong to – the world of being a kid trying to graduate high school and the world of being an adult trying to care for their child.
Featured speaker Missy Bender, Plano ISD Board of Trustees president, told the emotional story of her experience growing up as the child of two teenage parents, and how her mother struggled to balance motherhood with attaining the education she desired, with very little outside help. She reiterated the importance of a program that supports these kids so they are able to complete their education.
At the event it was explained that many of the student parents in Plano ISD come from disadvantaged families and lack basic necessities such as a thermometer, bottles, formula or diapers. If readers feel inclined to contribute items that students may earn at the School-Age Program Student Store, visit Amazon to purchase an item from Stella and Juliette’s baby registry and have it donated directly to the Plano ISD School-Age Parent Program.
Perhaps the most exciting element of the impending farm births is expected to debut in the next few days. “Ewetube” will go live from the Heritage Farmstead Museum, and online viewers can tune in daily to watch the action leading up to the moments when the new lambs arrive. Follow the Heritage Farmstead’s Facebook page for a notice when the video stream goes live.Amazon Baby Registry > Heritage Farmstead Museum on Facebook >
More photos from the Baby Shower // courtesy Debi Adams