(L to R) WIC Employee, Blayne Cutler, Kira Saluja, Tonce Jackson (Photo: PHFE WIC/Belen Rediet)

Since changing what was Rodeo Blvd to Obama Blvd, the PHFE WIC unveiled Tuesday, August 27, 2019, the Obama Blvd. WIC Center to match, also honoring breastfeeding month and Black breastfeeding week with a family-friendly celebration.

Obama Blvd. WIC Center aims to create a safe space to promote empowerment and self-confidence for breastfeeding mothers and their families. During their celebration, Mothers and their babies gathered to celebrate the many accomplishments of both employees, volunteers and themselves.

The event featured Blayne Cutler, MD, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Heluna Health, Kiran Saluja, MPH, Executive Director, PHFE WIC, Helen Amelga, Office of Senator Holly Mitchell, SD-30, Albert Edmund Lord lll, Office of City Council President Herb Wesson.

Cutler, lead the event giving praise and thanks to the companies and individuals who have worked with the center throughout the years. Companies included Kaiser Permanente, CinnaMoms, The Children’s Collective, USC Dential, 211 Agency, and Black Infant Health. Individuals included a dad who had been bringing his family there for years, having grown up in the area, his love for community and children brings him back to the Obama Blvd WIC Center.

Blayne Cutler and Helen Amelga holding the certificate of recognition with big smiles (Photo: PHFE WIC/Belen Rediet)

“This spot is very important to me because this is where it all began for me,” Myles Nelson expressed, having been a WIC recipient as a child and returning to this exact location years later once he had his first child, to being trained to work on location.

“I just love children, I love helping people and just getting involved with the community is so fulfilling,” he stated, adding “it’s been very important to me to give that personal experience and education to our clients here.”

The room was filled with much gratitude and joy, mothers and their babies were welcomed with snacks, yoga for mother and baby, face paintings, toys and more. Most were greeted by name, proving just how friendly and personal each relationship within the Obama Blvd. WIC Center is.

“This day is a success, being from the area, it just feels good to celebrate breastfeeding month, it feels good to celebrate Black breastfeeding week,” Tonce Jackson, Health Equity Manager of PHFE WIC and CinnaMoms founder shared.

The women of Obama Blvd. WIC Center (Photo: PHFE WIC/Belen Rediet)

“It truly takes a village to put on a successful program, to make sure our families are connected to resources, to make sure they’re celebrating their pregnancy and their family,” Jackson says. Alluding to the media image many have of South Central, she explains, “at the end of the day, this is what Crenshaw looks like. These families, these babies, these future generations who are celebrating breastfeeding, motherhood, parenthood, and family units.”

With big goals and a strong team full of committed members to sustain, the Obama Blvd. WIC Center looks to transform the image of what it is to be a WIC recipient as well as a mother, father, sibling, and community member.

“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand-up,” Jackson states.

Blayne Cutler (left) with the recipients of various community awards (Photo: PHFE WIC/Belen Rediet)

To find out more about WIC and the programs they offer, visit https://www.phfewic.org/. To find more information about CinnaMoms and their quest to bring normalcy to Black breastfeeding visit https://www.cinnamoms.org/.