During World Breastfeeding Week in August 2023, Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s South Oklahoma City Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Clinic received a gold award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service for exemplary breastfeeding support and practices.

Cheryl Richardson, nutrition and breastfeeding coordinator, said there are thousands of clinics in the Southwest region, and of those, the organization gives an average of one premier award and 13 gold awards per year.

“The award requires staff to complete a breastfeeding training, have a breastfeeding peer counselor for the clinic that is available after hours for WIC participants, have certain clinic environment requirements that promote breastfeeding, as well as many other checklists that must be met,” Richardson said. “This award wants to see a hierarchy of support and referral in place, also.”

In addition to Richardson, staff members at the clinics include WIC Specialist Robin Gibson, Nutrition Assistant Viviana Juarez and Contract Peer Counselor Vera Moore.

“The staff there work together beautifully as a team,” Richardson said. “They are dedicated employees that all want our WIC moms to succeed at breastfeeding.”

She added that Moore, the peer counselor, has been with the clinic since the beginning of the Peer Counseling Program in 2005, and she completed a week-long program to become a certified lactation counselor.

Richardson said it “takes a team, it takes a village” and that all the staff at the South OKC WIC clinic helped achieve the gold award, but that Gibson is “the hub that keeps it going.”

“Being a mom, being a parent is hard work! Parents have hopes for their children. WIC can’t do everything, but we can help parents help their child in ways that can impact a lifetime,” Richardson said.

For more information about WIC, visit cpn.news/WIC.