At 15 minutes to opening, the Bellaboo’s Play & Discovery Center waiting area overflowed with excitement. Moms and their families crowded the entrance, eagerly awaiting the pampering, education, and play on the other side of the gate.
As they entered NorthShore Health Center’s annual “Wild About Moms” day, attending mothers were the centers of attention. They received gift bags full of treats like body lotion, popcorn, chocolate, and a canvas storage pouch. Vendors handed them flowers and offered free massages.
Latia Hinkle looked forward to bringing her two daughters, Jasmine and Brianna, again after having a good time at last year’s event.
“I enjoy it because it’s a day that I can come and relax and also have fun with the kids,” said Hinkle. “I worry about the kids so much I don’t even think about me, so these events help me take the time for me.”
She brought her older daughter to help take care of the baby while she got a massage, had her blood pressure checked, and learned about local Head Start programs at the Geminus table.
Gervay Dickerson, Lead Event coordinator for NorthShore Health Center, and mother to an eight-year-old son, knows first hand how hard it can be for moms to make time for themselves.
“We’ll get our kids into the doctor but we’ll put ourselves on the back burner,” said Dickerson. “This event is NorthShore’s way of reminding moms that their health and wellbeing matters, too.”
“[Events like these are] an extension of what we do inside the community health centers,” she said. “We just really want the families to know how much we genuinely care about them.”
A big part of that care were the free massages courtesy of representatives from Accord Chiropractic. Lorrie Redfield, Office and Marketing Manager at Accord, knows their presence means a lot to attendees.
“These are women that have daily stresses with new children and small children,” said Redfield. “By being here in the moment we’re able to provide just a few minutes of rest and relaxation.”
She also helped moms schedule follow-up appointments for help with larger, ongoing symptoms.
In addition to chiropractic appointments, representatives from NorthShore Health Center’s family care and prenatal departments helped set up doctors visits. Nearby, members of the Northwest Indiana Early Oral Healthcare Coalition (NWIEHOC) spoke with parents about early dental hygiene.
“Around 40 percent of kids going into kindergarten already had cavities,” said Mary Clancy, Marketing Coordinator for NorthShore Health Centers representing NWIEHOC. “The coalition is in place to try to bring that number down, get children in for their dental visits a little bit earlier.”
With everything the event had to offer, for some moms the best part was simply the opportunity to share a fun day with their kids at an activity-filled venue like Bellaboo’s.
“This is the third or fourth time I’ve been to one of these,” said Sara Borowicz, mother of four. “I love coming here, it’s really a nice place.”
“The kids love coming and playing,” said Borowicz. “My four-year-old loves the train room.”
She said she keeps coming back because she loves all the people that come share in the event every year.