Colleen Weeks, CLE, CSE (Certified Sex Educator), RTS, LCCE, FACCE
Where do you live?
Laguna Niguel, CA
How long have you been teaching
I've been teaching for 33 years.
How, where, and what do you teach?
Expectant and new parents, adolescents and teens, parents of teens, bereaved parents, other educators and health care providers.
What or who influences your teaching?
I am blessed to have been trained by many inspirational experts. My original Childbirth Education certification lasted a year and consisted of more than 30 days of instruction from the preeminent health care professionals of our day and time, followed by extensive student teaching and mentoring.
I’m fortunate to have been able to attend many Lamaze, ICEA and ICLA conferences and to have had the opportunity to receive continuing education from some of my hero’s, including Penny Simkin, Gini Baker, Dr’s T Berry Brazelton, Marshal Klaus, Bill Sears and Ann Corwin the Parenting Doctor, Bill Hoy a nationally known expert on bereavement and death education, as well as, National Speaker Association Golden Mike award recipient Florence Littauer.
What is your goal as an educator?
My passion for expectant and new mothers began in 1979 with the birth of my first daughter, Sarah. I benefited from high quality childbirth education and the support of my husband David, which transformed me from a fearful, young woman who was easily overwhelmed by pain into a confident, composed mother. I obtained my Childbirth Educator certification in 1981 with a goal to offer the same empowerment to others.
The unfortunate personal experience of the death of my second daughter, Jasmine, opened my eyes to the needs of bereaved parents. I have used my own firsthand knowledge and subsequent training to teach medical staff, prenatal educators and comfort others in their losses.
I relish my role as Perinatal Education Manager at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, CA, where I oversee more than a dozen educators who provide over 100 various prenatal classes monthly for doctors and midwives who care for approximately 500 women giving birth monthly in two hospitals. In addition, the KPOC program partners with the following outside organizations: Babies R Us, offering community breastfeeding classes in their OC stores; AAA, offering Child Passenger Safety classes; Boot Camp for New Dads offering fathering programs; and Thriving in Motherhood, offering new mom support classes/groups. There are 14 Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern CA, where I am a member of the regional Prenatal Education committee dedicated to creating curriculum and the Lactation committee working to maintain Baby Friendly status and training for staff throughout the Southern California region. I also manage the KPOC Perinatal Bereavement program and serve on the Violence Team educating staff and providing services for victims of intimate partner violence, child and elder abuse.
How do you use Lamaze resources to support you as an educator?
Continuing Education from Lamaze is of great value to myself and my staff. Kaiser Permanente is the largest health care organization in the country, therefore we have access to numerous educational resources we produce in house, never the less we continue to count on the foundational principles and 6 Healthy Birth Practices presented by Lamaze that are featured in the Childbirth Graphics and enjoy videos and PowerPoints. Our prenatal education staff are all certified childbirth and/or lactation educators. Maintaining these standards keep our educational offerings evidence based, excellent quality, full and frequent.
How could you suggest other members receive maximum value from Lamaze?
Maintaining membership and certification, webinars, reading the Journal and regular conference attendance. We are professionals, it’s important to remain current, connected and consequential to our colleagues and clients.
When you’re not teaching, what do you enjoy doing?
I am re-energized by the ocean, sailing and traveling to lighthouses. I create beaded jewelry, enjoy good music, especially that of talented singer-songwriter- pianist Spencer Day whose media team I’m currently working with. Most of all I enjoy going to church and spending time with my beloved husband David, our daughter Sarah, her husband Karl and our big extended family.