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Our History

Secure Beginnings / About Us / Our History


Secure Beginnings (formerly the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center) opened in 2007 to continue and expand upon Nan Tolbert’s extraordinary service work with families. Nan was a caring and passionate visionary. She was a registered nurse, doula and lactation counselor who visited the homes of families with newborns to ensure that the needs of new mothers were being met. Regardless of language, religion, parenting styles, or the emotional needs of parents – Nan gave hands-on-help, in her calm and compassionate way.

Nan knew the value of supporting early attachment and secure beginnings in families. This support had powerful effects on the lives of those she worked with, and her impact was felt widely in the community. When Nan passed away in 2006, her friends and the community knew that her work must live on. The Center continued her work through in-home newborn visits, parent education classes, maternal mental health support, and reducing isolation for parents. Over the years it expanded to provide one-on-one parent consultations, clinical therapy to support families with young children that may need deeper emotional support, teen parent support, our free diaper bank, workshops, and much more.

Nan Tolbert

Nan Tolbert was a special person whose life purpose and passion was service.  For this she was awarded the honor of being named a “Treasure of Ojai,”and to this day is remembered fondly in the community.

Nan was a doula, lactation counselor, and a delivery room nurse at the Ojai Hospital. Her compassionate birthing practices integrated her medical knowledge with an aura of peacefulness and calm.  When the Ojai Hospital closed its Obstetrics Department in 2000, Nan knew she must continue her work with families.  She had a unique insight and awareness that in the parent-child relationship, the parent is equally as important as the child. Supporting the successful relationship of attachment was deeply important to her, and so she opened a little office in Meiners Oaks and began leading parent education classes.

As a doula, Nan could be found in homes doing dishes, helping with first feedings, or bath times. Whether it was through physical or emotional care, she made sure that mothers, fathers, and caregivers were being assisted during this critical time in a family’s life.

Nan was a pioneer, charting the course through her grassroots efforts to educate and inform the community about the importance of investing in early relationships and secure beginnings. Soon, she acquired support from friends and community members to help expand her work. Through robust and tireless volunteer efforts, Nan and friends founded the Ojai Valley Birth and Resource Center, the foundation of today’s Secure Beginnings.

Nan passed away in 2006, but her legacy continues through the heart-centered programs and services offered at Secure Beginnings.

Nan Tolbert’s daughter, Shayna, and her family on a visit to Secure Beginnings, formerly the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center, November 2022.