MUSCATINE, Iowa–Safe infant sleep practices save lives. The Wolf family hopes to bring this message to more parents and childcare workers in the community through their newly formed Theo Wolf Foundation. By making reliable information about safe sleep readily available and providing new parents with the tools to provide a good safe sleeping environment for their babies, the Wolfs hope to help eliminate the tragic deaths of infants through unsafe sleep practices.
In 2019, the Wolfs received news that no family should ever receive. “Theo tragically passed away at 12-weeks-old in August 2019 due to unsafe sleep practices at his daycare,” said his mother, and president of the Theo Wolf Foundation, Lisa Wolf. “As a way to honor Theo and help prevent this tragic, preventable loss from happening to another infant and family, we established the Theo Wolf Foundation.”
After delaying creating their foundation in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa and Jon Wolf began the process of registering the Theo Wolf Foundation as a 501(c)(3) charity this spring. With the help of several board members, including Vice President Sarah Siler, Secretary Ashley Richenberger, Treasurer Sue Derry, Fundraiser Coordinator Donielle Chelf, and Graphic Designer and Media Specialist Abby Curtis they have begun to identify ways they can help the community.
First and foremost, Wolf hopes to put the tools to educate parents about safe sleep into their hands. To that end, the organization plans to begin giving out safe sleep kits to new parents who could benefit from them. “The safe sleep kit will include a HALO SleepSack, pacifier, Sleep Baby Safe and Snug book, and brochures of information on infant safe sleep,” Wolf explained.
Based on conversations the Wolf’s had with regional hospitals, the Wolfs also plan to partner with the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics to provide quality sleep education to parents and childcare workers to reduce the chances of a baby getting put to bed incorrectly. “We are also partnering with the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics on researching and developing a program that will allow healthcare staff to educate parents on safe sleep in childcare settings,” Wolf elaborated. “Our main focus will be parents and caregivers of infants, but we will also target healthcare professionals, first responders and the general public; the more people we can educate about safe infant sleep the more infants we can help keep safe.”
As the Theo Wolf Foundation begins the work of educating people in Muscatine County and beyond about the importance of using safe infant sleep practices, the Wolfs welcome the support of anyone interested in making donations or in volunteering at future community events. If you would like to learn more about the foundation or offer your support, Wolf encourages you to reach out by emailing [email protected], calling 319-850-1307, or visiting the Theo Wolf Foundation Facebook Page.
For Wolf, starting the Theo Wolf Foundation feels bittersweet. “I’m beyond excited that our foundation has been established and look forward to working with our community on educating about safe infant sleep, but the reason for setting up our foundation, because we tragically lost our infant son from something very preventable, is heartbreaking,” she shared. “Setting up a foundation in your child’s honor is something I don’t wish on any parent.”