2017 Local Award
The LOCAL Making A Difference Award is presented to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of local significance in multiple births issues within Canada.
The winner of the 2017 LOCAL award is Valerie Hodgins.
Valerie Hodgins has been the backbone of POMBA Windsor/Essex for almost 15 years. Since the birth of her triplets in 2002, Valerie has attended almost every POMBA meeting and event. Her place of employment was POMBA's corporate sponsor for over 10 years, providing free meeting space, photocopying and much more. POMBA Windsor knew this was because of how much her employer respects her and wanted to make her happy. When her employer had to change locations and could no longer host POMBA, Valerie was the one to find a new space for meetings.
Valerie is the proud mother of triplets Chloe, Cameron and Carter. When her children were 3 years old, Chloe and Cameron were given the diagnosis of autism. From there Val then became an advocate for special needs in her chapter. She is the go-to person for parents facing diagnosis of any kind. She is always there with information, referrals and a listening ear. What she has done for special needs children, multiples or not, in Windsor has been a game changer. She is also the one to talk to all our triplet families. She goes through what to expect, what not to do and how to make it all work. So many of these families have gone into their deliveries with a bit more piece of mind thanks to her.
Val has held almost every position on the POMBA executive. She excels at event planning, organization and making families feel at home within the group. She spent many years as chair and even stepped back into that job last year, when the chair was unable to stay on due to an injury. Val has amazing community contacts and has brought in many amazing speakers to POMBA Windsor group. Val has worked the clothing sale, every sale for 10 years as the money counter.
In addition to her full-time job, she holds a second part time job in admitting at the local hospital. While not at all part of her POMBA duties, Val often visits, advises and welcomes families with multiples right at the hospital. She has sat and cried with families whose babies were born too early and are spending many days in the NICU, or sadly did not survive. She has been a friendly face for families in that setting, whether they ever join POMBA or not. Quite recently in fact, Val picked up frozen breastmilk from a new mom that couldn't make it up to the NICU and delivered it on her way to work. She has also taken to staying later after her shift to help this single mom with feedings up in the NICU.
Val was part of the original team that developed and presents POMBA Windsor’s very successful Greater Expectations prenatal class. In addition to teaching the class for the past 7 years, she always makes sure that everything is printed and ready for each class.
Valerie was the co-chair of the 2011 Conference committee, giving endless hours of her time to helping make that event the best it could be. No matter the request or being "Voluntold Val" never says no she just jumps on board and goes for the ride, often taking the ideas of others and bringing them to life.
Valerie has also done some volunteering at the national level. She is the backup chair for the Special needs network, does French translation, reviews articles and has attended many conferences.
There is no better person for this award, even with a husband, 15-year-old triplets, 2 jobs, many doctor. appointments for her children due to special needs, work with the French community, the Autism Society, Kids Help Phone and more, Val always has time for POMBA Windsor.