Delaware County’s mentoring program for young mothers, Moms Offering Mentoring Support (MOMS), held a baby shower Thursday for the program’s new and soon-to-be mothers.
“We hold a baby shower every April,” said Megan Dillman, assistant director. “Our baby shower is our big one. We have a lot of people celebrating new babies.”
Dillman pointed out three mothers who had recently given birth in the last year and said that 50 people had shown up to celebrate with the three new moms.
The MOMS program matches experienced mothers with young moms to help teach the new mothers how to care for children, connect with community agencies, and help them to develop life-coping skills. The program is sponsored by the Delaware County Juvenile Court.
“The program shows support to young moms,” said Director Patty Cram. “The mentors help the young moms get the things that they need for their babies and how to fill out paperwork for assistance.”
Cram said she started the program in November 2004, and by January of 2005, received the first grant to help fund the program. She said for the last 13 years she has been receiving grants from different sources to support the program.
However, “In the past year, the juvenile court has been paying most of the funding for the program,” she said.
Cram added the program started for teen moms, but there is no age requirement nor is there a limit on gender because the group accepts fathers as well.
“We meet the third Thursday of every month in the Hayes Building on the second floor,” she said. “We have different programs every month.”
Cram said the group will have speakers come in to talk to the young parents. She said that she’ll ask the Delaware County Health District to come and speak about smoking or have Job and Family Services (JFS) attend to talk about the services it offers to young families.
“With JFS, it’s not all about coming in and taking the kids from you,” she said. “They have all these different programs that will help them also.”
Cram said next month the group is touring a fire station.
“The kids are going to get to see the fire trucks, the firemen and all that,” she said. “We just keep going on and on.”
She added in June, MOMS will have its big family picnic in the park.
“I love this, and I love these kids,” Cram said. “They’re my kids, it’s what I call them. Their kids are my grandbabies.”
Many of the parents who now participate in the program were once children themselves when their parents participated in the program. One mother now in the program, Cram said, she has known since she was a 10-year-old.
Dillman said the gifts for the baby shower — diapers, baby oil, baby shampoo, laundry detergent and a dinner — were donated by Gina Grote, Erika Panosky, Kathy Terry, Kim Carroll, Sheryl Johnson and Meg Cook.
“It’s just a special time, and we’re grateful for them,” she said.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.