Jenna Williams, 6, and her sister Olivia, 2 and a half, from Berrien Springs, are checking out the pumpkins at Stover's Farm last Friday during one part of their excursion with Niles Westside Moms' Group. (Daily Star photos/KATHIE HEMPEL)
Jenna Williams, 6, and her sister Olivia, 2 and a half, from Berrien Springs, are checking out the pumpkins at Stover's Farm last Friday during one part of their excursion with Niles Westside Moms' Group. (Daily Star photos/KATHIE HEMPEL)

Archived Story

Moms, kids connect

Published 9:37am Thursday, October 1, 2009

By KATHIE HEMPEL
Niles Daily Star

Motherhood, in spite of being a great blessing, can also be a challenging and lonely proposition. Children can become bored and disappointed when there is no one to play with, in turn making their moms very unhappy.

That is why the Niles Westside Moms’ Group reaches out to mothers of young children as a place where women, who share the desire to be the best mom possible, can meet with their children and find support.

This year the group’s theme is: My Heart’s at Home.

Children from newborn to six years old, join with their moms in a wide variety of activities, like the recent visit to Stover’s Farm. There they picked apples, grapes, raspberries and pumpkins; went on a hayride; and listened to a story told by June Stover about how the Potawatomi Indians made bowls and spoons out of gourds.

Monday, a playgroup decorated bags using apple stamps made from the fruit picked on the outing to the farm. This was just one of many adventures Missy Rodgers and her daughters Amelia, 3, and Norah, 21 months, of Niles, have enjoyed since joining the group.

“I first met Jenn Cook at one of the Niles District Library’s children’s programs,” she said. “Then one day I ran into her and her child at the French Market when the Niles Westside Moms’ Group was on an outing. We then went on to the park with them. I checked out their website (www.nileswestside.org) and saw all the wonderful things coming up for October.”

Cook is the steering team member in charge of communications and manages the website. She would like to let other young area moms know about the group.

Regular meetings are held at the Niles Westside Adventist Church, 1105 Grant St, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., September to May.
Dues are $40 for the year.

The program features three age-appropriate rooms for childcare so the mothers can attend meetings, which may have guest speakers.

There are also crafts, outings and special events with lots of mingling time designed to give both moms and their children good social interaction.

Checking out October’s already full calendar, there is even a Mom’s Night Out scheduled.

Members have access online to the calendar, membership and mailing lists as well as photos taken during the many events. There are message boards for things to do with your children, moms’ home based businesses, the group’s discussion feed and even a place for items moms might be interested in buying or selling.

Coordinator Jenni Coffen said the local group has about 28 member moms so far with nearly 60 children represented. The online group boasts 34 members. Not bad for a group founded just this past August.

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