?Parents As Teachers does a play group during the day, so working moms are able to come to that,? Lange added. ?We have lots of friends that are in the school and that are working. We just wanted to be able to get together with them and provide them support because we find the support in the play group to be beneficial to us.?
The nucleus of young mothers chose MOPS, Carlson said, because the organization provides a lot of resources for starting and maintaining a group.
?MOPS is designed specifically to support mothers with young children,? Lange said.
?It?s somewhere you can go and, if you have questions, there?s other moms there that can relate with you and give you some good ideas on how to handle whatever situation you have?whether it?s trying to get your child to sleep at night or something bigger.
?It?s a program we?ve heard a lot of good things about.?
The steering group presented the idea for starting MOPS in Marion to the local ministerial alliance. It was enthusiastically supported by pastors, Carlson said.
In fact, the ministerial alliance has become the official sponsoring organization for the MOPS group and also provided the initial $200 startup fee.
The mothers on the steering committee embody an ecumenical approach, too, with a diversity of churches represented.
Although the MOPS program will be based at Eastmoor United Methodist Church in Marion, Carlson and Lange stressed that young mothers interested in participating don?t have to be belong to Eastmoor?or any church, for that matter.
?It?s for any mom who has a child between the ages of 1 and 5,? Dani said. ?Grandmothers who take care of children that age are invited, too.?
The local MOPS group will offer gatherings twice a month. From 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of every month, the group will meet at Eastmoor to discuss presentations about taking care of preschoolers.
Child care will be provided at the church so moms can focus on their own issues.
The fourth Monday of each month, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will be a ?fun night.? Activities could range from baking monster cookies, to swapping favorite recipes to making small gifts for nursing home residents.
The kickoff event for the new program will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 13, in Marion?s Central park.
The initial gathering will provide information for interested mothers, but it also will be offering watermelon and a fun morning in the park for the entire family, including dads.
In case of inclement weather, the kickoff event will be at Eastmoor.
Participation in MOPS will require a $25 annual fee, but Carlson and Lange said the fee should not deter any young mother from joining.
People wishing to support the program financially can leave their donations with a ?MOPS of Marion? fund established at Central National Bank in Marion.
Anyone wanting information new MOPS group, or are interested in volunteering for child-care duty during MOPS meetings, can call Carlson at 620-382-8413 or Lange at 620-382-2352.