In case you weren’t already aware of why it’s worthwhile to support the vital family planning services Planned Parenthood offers women, men and teens in our community, today I came across the following story in the news: A new study finds access to free birth control dramatically reduces abortion rates. File this under No Shit!
In other news, this week I had the great honor of giving back to an organization that’s had a tremendous positive impact on my life, at the inaugural wellness event Hooping for Health at Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region. And what better way to introduce women to fun ways to lead a healthy life than hooping!
I first shared my love of hooping with Planned Parenthood at a rally this past spring and it was a great attention-getter and fun way to ease tensions between the Planned Parenthood supporters and the clinic picketers, and it got us lots of friendly honks and waves from passers-by! If you ever find yourself attending a protest or rally of any sort, I strongly recommend bringing a hoop to lighten the mood. Better yet, bring a few!
And being a huge fan of irony, I of course brought the hoop I used to hoop-walk the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. I also made a special pink and blue hoop for my friend who works at Planned Parenthood to keep in her office, because what fun would it be if I was the only one at the rally hooping. In return they gave me a totally awesome Trust Women t-shirt, which makes great hooping attire. Here’s a few more fun pictures from the rally on the PPGMR Facebook page.
As it turns out, hooping while holding a sign for an hour is nearly as exhausting as hooping while walking a 5K, but it’s a very important skill if you are an employee, patient, or supporter of Planned Parenthood, so recently they asked me to come back and teach a free hooping class at their clinic for their new women’s health and wellness program. In addition to the basics of hooping for health, healing, and fun, of course we also covered how to effectively hoop at a rally. And we had a lot of fun! I look forward to many more hoop collaborations with Planned Parenthood in the future.
I would not be the healthy and successful adult woman, wife, and hoop mama I am today without the support and services Planned Parenthood provided me when I was younger. I first went to Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test when I was 14, after I was raped and thought I might be pregnant. Fortunately I wasn’t actually pregnant, but I continued to go there regularly throughout high school and college until I could afford my own birth control. Thanks to the free birth control and reproductive health education I received there when I was younger, the only time I’ve ever been pregnant was when we chose to start a family 8 years ago. Further evidence family planning actually works! Planned Parenthood also taught me the importance of getting annual women’s health exams, a lesson that came in handy later in life when I learned from early detection through an annual exam that I had cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood has saved my life on more than one occasion. Teaching them how to hoop is the least I can do to return the favor.
Whatever your own personal beliefs about Planned Parenthood are, I strongly urge everyone, hoopers or otherwise, to take some time to give back to the people and organizations in your community that have supported you in your life. And lend a helping hand to others who are now walking in your shoes. And if you’re looking for ideas on how to incorporate hooping into giving back, check out my Projects page for some things I’m doing, and feel free to contact me if you’d like some tips on getting started. Kids who share their toys make good neighbors 🙂
Read more about my work with Planned Parenthood in this Hooposophy feature story by Lara Eastburn on Hooping.org: http://www.hooping.org/2012/10/hooping-for-womens-health/