News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Baby changing stations make debut

A poop-filled diaper and nowhere to change it has led to an initiative to make bathrooms in Sisters businesses more family-friendly.

For small business owners, installing a diaper changing table might not always be affordable or top-of-mind. A new program by Age Friendly Sisters Country (AFSC) has created an action team to make it easy to add changing tables.

The action team's aim is to help them out by offering free sourcing and installation of changing tables and other kid-oriented bathroom amenities, such as handwashing stools, wipes, and diaper starter packs. Storefront window stickers inform patrons that there is a baby changing station inside. Support from Citizens4Community's (C4C) Momentum Grant, and the City of Sisters Community Grant, provided funding for the initial round of restroom enhancements. You can check out first installations at Fika Sisters Coffeehouse, Luckey's Woodsman, Suttle Tea, High Camp Taphouse, and Eurosports.

Team leaders for the project are Kellen Klein and Jane Cartwright. Klein is the executive director of C4C, and Cartwright is a staunch community volunteer, having a long career with corporate icons like Nike, North Face, and Echo HealthStream.

Klein explained the genesis of the program: "This all started one day when I had to change my son's poopy diaper on the floor of two local businesses due to their lack of changing tables. My wife and I figured we could either complain, or turn it into something positive. We chose the latter, and Family Friendly Restroom Team was born. We're so grateful to AFSC for giving us the guidance and infrastructure to make this project possible and help local caregivers and business owners."

Cartwright added: "Parents and caregivers do such hard and important work, and unfortunately they often don't get the credit they are due. The changing stations we're providing are one small way to make their work easier, and help them feel seen in our community."

The couple is also exploring opportunities to work with other local organizations to develop a map of Sisters Country's changing stations, and plans to create an "action toolkit" to guide others eager to catalyze similar work in their own community.

The cost is about $250 per restroom and AFSC hopes to add 15 more installations this year, to be funded by donations.

 

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