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Meet the Board of Directors!

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Roni Sellmann, President
Roni Sellmann, a woman from the Pacific Islands, a guardian of normal birth, has a married son & daughter and three cherished grandchildren.  She is professionally trained, beginning her journey in perinatal care nearly three decades ago.  She earned Masters' Degrees in Maternal and Child Health and Perinatal Epidemiology and also in Counseling Psychology.  She is a practitioner of Oriental Medicine and is currently finishing a PhD in advance oriental medicine research and a professional Birth Doula coupled with midwifery training.  She believes that a healthy start in life {spiritually, psychologically, & physically} begins with a positive pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum experience.  Having witnessed the effect of a nurturing touch, it affirms her belief that when well planned & practiced, a woman can be empowered to have the birth of her choice.  The essence of Roni's care is having 'hearted knowledge".  The type of care that enables a woman to feel confident in herself and her body to surrender to the natural rhythms of labour and allow her baby to be born.  Thus, bringing humanity back into the birthing experience. 
     From her home islands of Hawai`i she has lived and traveled in Micronesia, Taiwan, New Zealand, India, China, Bali, Mexico, Canada and Europe focusing on birth and birthing rituals.  Her knowledge of herbs, homeopathy, acu-therapy, birthing techniques allow her to provide the comprehensive labour/postpartum support that each woman and her family needs during this peak experience in their life.
     As a professional trained perinatal therapist she can help with postpartum depression, grieving the loss of a pregnancy and adjustment to having a newborn in your home and as a lactation consultant she can help you develop a rewarding breastfeeding relationship with your new baby.
       In her dedication to helping families she was instrumental in setting up 5 treatment centers for chemically dependant pregnant women in her home island of Hawai`i and for her second home island,f Guam she has founded Island Families of Micronesia a non-profit organization that along with 6 other wonderful women bring education and services to the families of Micronesia.  In her private practice Ohana Island Care, Oriental Medicine & Perinatal Support she teaches YogaQi in her studio to pregnant women and conducts couples classes to prepare them for a calm birth.
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Rhonda Rekdahl, Vice President

Hello! I grew up on Guam, but have traveled all over the beautiful Pacific throughout my life. My parents and siblings are my inspiration and the back bone to my own family life. I am the second oldest in a big family—by today’s standards—with two sisters and two brothers. My husband and I have two children. Our son is 7 and our daughter is 2. My involvement with Island Families is a personal passion. My first experience of childbirth was witnessing the birth of my youngest brother when I was eighteen. My mother’s courageous 12-hour labour has left a lasting impression in my heart and mind.
            
Having been blessed to have my mother-in-law at the birth of our son, and my mother at the birth of our daughter—even with a very strong and supportive husband—I know how beneficial it is to have a woman who understands the emotional and physical needs of labouring women there as support while giving birth to a baby.
           
I am currently attending the University of Guam, and I’m in training to become a Doula. I am humbled and honored to share my birthing experiences with these women who also have the same appreciation and passion for new life and know the importance of having a strong perinatal support system. My personal goal is to see all families enjoy and feel blessed by all their different pregnant and birth experiences.

   
   

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Karmelin Pachkoski, Public Relations

Kaselehlie and Alii (Hello),

I am originally from Pohnpei but spent half my childhood in Palau. I have been fortunate to be able to speak both languages, and  that has allowed me to communicate with my extended family on both sides

of the pacific. I have two beautiful children but had difficulty with childbirth when my daughter was born. My second child was born with the wonderful support of our founder Roni. It was during this time that I realized how important it was too have support before, during and after pregnancy and that support is what made my pregnancy a lot easier. Island Families allows me to learn how I and other women support and learn from one another and I would like to share that knowledge with my fellow Island people.

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Payal Hemlani, Creative Consultant
Bio

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Erika Basak, Promotions & Fundraising Coordinator
Hello! My name is Erika Basak and in the picture you can see my son Gabriel Wayne Basak, born July 27, 2007.  My husband Steve and I moved to Guam about a year and a half ago from Los Angeles, California.  In LA we both spent many hours on the road driving to and from work and had very high stress jobs.  We knew that we wanted to start a family and that Los Angeles was not the place that we wanted to do it.  The Divine plan heard our prayers and we arrived on Guam about 1 year after that conversation through Steve’s work for the US government.
      
We were blessed to become pregnant very quickly and I connected with Roni and Island Families while looking for a prenatal yoga teacher.  At the time, my knowledge of childbirth came from movies, stories from my Mom, family and friends, and the media.  I believed that it was something to just get through.  I figured I would give birth in the hospital (which I did) with an epidural (which I didn’t) and that was all the thought I had given to the coming experience.
        
Roni and Island Families listened to my thoughts, fears, and desires and helped me to create the birthing experience that was right for me.  I spent the months before delivering Gabriel connecting with him in the womb, connecting with myself and learning about this beautiful process.  I actually chose to give birth at the hospital with an MD to deliver Gabriel because my husband and I are both a bit older and I felt if I had the “just in case” scenario covered, that I would be less fearful during the birth and able to be more present for the experience.  I was given information, options, ideas and references and then completely supported in my ultimate decisions. 
       
Every individual is different, as is every birth.  Island Families listens to each person and helps them prepare for and create the birth experience that is right for them.  It is my dream that every woman has the resources, support and encouragement during their pregnancy, birth and motherhood that I had and still have today because of this organization.  I am honored and grateful to be a part of Island Families.

Island Families of Micronesia P.O. Box 4922 Hagatna, GU 96932

Copyright 2006, Island Families