When Summerville High School senior Tami Avilla was tasked to choose a community outreach project, she looked no further than her own sister for inspiration. After the heartbreaking loss of their first child, Avilla’s sister and her husband were blessed with a second child who was born a month preterm and had respiratory issues. Their gifted Owlet Smart Sock baby monitor gave them the peace of mind to be able to rest as their baby slept. And Avilla was determined to provide that same reassurance to other parents in need.
She started out small, with a goal of gifting four Owlet monitors, but that number soon grew, thanks in part to social media. As word spread, Avilla’s community rallied behind her as she visited local businesses and received donations. Over 50 local businesses contributed to her cause. Avilla even reached out to Owlet who generously matched those donations. All told, 41 Owlet Smart Sock baby monitors have been donated thus far. Each monitor she gives contains a note sharing which business helped purchase it and that the donation was inspired by her two nephews.
Because of the connectivity of her community, Avilla has been able to donate monitors to people in other states besides her native California, including Utah, Texas, North Carolina, New York, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. Avilla says that many of the women she’s worked with have struggled with infertility, miscarriage, SIDS, stillbirth, infant loss and/or postpartum anxiety and need some added peace of mind about the wellbeing of their children.
One woman, who received a monitor through Avilla’s project, had been through a lot of trauma, including the death of her sister and a miscarriage. Her baby also had to spend time in the NICU because of respiratory problems, so having the Owlet helped her have the peace of mind she needed once her child came home from the hospital.
The Owlet Smart Sock gifted to another couple helped notify the baby’s parents that his oxygen levels were outside the preset range. This gave the parents the information they needed at the right time and they were able to take their baby to the hospital where they discovered he was battling a serious respiratory infection. The mother wrote to Avilla and said, “Since we had the monitor, our little boy is still with us, and I couldn’t be more thankful for your generosity.”
Ms. Avilla is graduating high school next month, with plans to attend Columbia College in the fall. She hopes to become a labor and delivery nurse, and possibly work in the NICU. Because of her sister’s experience, Avilla’s eyes are now opened, and she’s determined to help new parents feel empowered and secure.