Name: Melinda Polner Rothstein
Years as a GYV Participant: ’84-’87, ’89-’90
Education: Oberlin College (BA French and Economics), MIT (MBA)
Current Occupation: Executive Director of Diaper Free Baby
Most Interesting Country (s) Visited: Argentina, Brazil
Favorite Memories: It’s hard to pinpoint one memory, but I remember playing the violin with Nguyenvu, playing soccer on the field barefoot in the evening, singing songs, finding peace in the clay Friendship Hut, acting and singing with Charles Williams, and spending a whole day blindfolded to try to understand what it was like to be
blind. I remember the bucket brigade up the big hill when we had no electricity. But one of my favorite multi-sensory experiences was picking green beans in the garden after breakfast. When my kids and I pick vegetables from our garden or our CSA garden, I remember those mornings when the sun was shining, the ground was damp, and the smell of the fresh soil and fresh vegetables surrounded us!
Volunteer/Civic Engagement: Promoting Elimination Communication with babies
Interesting Biographical Information: After graduating High School I went to Oberlin College, where I studied French and Economics, and continued dancing (I have done modern dance since I was 3). I met my husband there, and we lived in Cleveland for a few years after college. He became an attorney and I had several jobs in economics and business management. We then moved to Boston, where I got my MBA at MIT and worked in e-business and strategy.
After having my first child, I discovered that babies did not have to wear diapers (something many Legacy alum probably know but most Americans did not know) and along with a friend founded the organization DiaperFreeBaby. The mission of the organization is to inform and teach parents and caregivers that babies do not need to be diapered and are capable of using a potty / toilet from infancy!
For 9 years we have been helping people learn how to communicate with their infants and babies (and toddlers even ) about their elimination needs so that they may be free from dependence on diapers, even in a materialistic
society! It has been a joy to work with so many families and to discover how amazing babies really are, and how even though they can not talk they truly can communicate and know more about their own selves and bodies than adults realize.
Besides helping families learn about freedom from diapers, I love being a mom to three wonderful kids. Even though I am not a native speaker, I speak only French to my children, who are all bilingual. I love to cook, to do activities with my children (music, hiking, playing outdoors, helping at our local CSA farm) and explore New England. I still dance (and I am in a modern dance company in Boston) and for the last few years I have been training with kettlebells, which are great for strength building and are so much fun!
I am always fascinated to see how different experiences in my life bring back memories from Legacy, whether it is the smell of damp soil in the garden, a song my kids learn to sing in a music class, or countries I learn about or visit that remind me of a fellow participant or something we celebrated at Legacy.