Baby program founder retires


DECATUR — After 30 years of running Baby Talk, the director says it’s time to move on. Claudia Quigg says it’s not really a retirement. Instead, she’ll be focusing more on other parts of her life.

“When families have a baby, every family needs a constellation of different services.”

Quigg says that’s what made Baby Talk grow into what it is today.

“It’s a matter of great pride for me, but I feel like we have an organization that’s built to last and a marvelous Board of Directors, a marvelous staff who are inspired and ready to go.”

That’s why she feels comfortable retiring from her job there. She founded Baby Talk, in 1986, and has served as executive director since. Quigg says they’ve served more than 40,000 babies born in Decatur.

“We want to meet every family at the hospitals after babies were born, and give them a book to start their baby’s home library. We still do that and find out what they needed from the community to be able to meet their children’s needs.”

Cassie Burwell says they came to her rescue at a tough time.

“I was with my oldest daughter’s father, and in a really abusive situation. They got resources for me to get food and stuff at first because I didn’t have anything.”

At 21 years old, Burwell has two young daughters. She says the people at Baby Talk and the books Quigg has written have helped her become a better mom.

“I don’t even want to imagine where I would be if I didn’t find this program.”

Quigg says she’s proud to have helped so many families and influenced others to do the same. Outside, there are now 125 Baby Talk organizations in Illinois, and others which built on their mission in 31 other states.

Even though she’s moving on, she says she can never let Baby Talk go.

“I will always be the founder, and I will always be involved, happy to support Baby Talk in anyway I can.”

She’ll be around until December. She just wants to make sure they find a good replacement.

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