Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Darden Family

Happy Halloween!

Yesterday, the LO and I attended a fun little Halloween party hosted by the Darden Partners Association-- our first outing as a family to a DPA event! I went as Hermione-- my default costume, since we're effectively the same person-- and the LO went as Piglet.

The Darden Partners Association, or DPA, is a network of spouses and partners of Darden students that provide community and support for one another. The DPA hosts events, fosters community, and creates resources for all kinds of partners, and is coordinated by a leadership team that covers social, family, hospitality, career, communications, and community service activities. I'm the Job Resources Chair for the DPA, a role into which I'll delve more deeply in my next post. The DPA's family activities are coordinated by the Family Committee, composed of four moms with kids a variety of ages. Their events range from playdates to apple-picking outings to yesterday's Halloween Party, and are open to all students and partners regardless of whether or not they have children.

Right now, there are four Darden families that I know of with kids 3 months or below-- three second-year and one first-year. It was amazing to see all the older kids running around today at the Halloween party and realize that I was entering into a whole new part of the Darden community-- although I've been closely connected with Darden families through my friends and at the many family-friendly events that the Darden Student Association (DSA) and DPA host. Plenty of non-parent partners were at the party, too, especially international ones. Since most international partners are here on visas that don't allow them to work, many of them are very active with the DPA and attend family events, which is wonderful!

The outpouring of support that came from the entire Darden community when our LO was born  was fantastic and has helped sustain us during this challenging time. The DPA Family Committee organized two weeks of meals for us delivered by students and partners, and as a result we have been incredibly well-fed and didn't have to rely on expensive take-out when it would have been impossible for us to manage cooking. In addition to all the love we've felt from our friends, we've also received good wishes from the Office of Student Affairs and a number of professors.

It's amazing what a great community we have here at Darden, and what a blessing it is to have such a close "family" when our family is growing!

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