For 45 years now Ruth and Charlie Klein have called Windsor Park their home. In fact, they still live in the same pretty bungalow surrounded by gorgeous flower gardens as they did when they first moved into the neighbourhood with their young family.
The Kleins and their four now-grown children have always enjoyed participating in local church, school, and sports activities. When asked why they stayed in Windsor Park all these years Ruth told me: "It is a good community, a friendly place to live. There are a lot of activities, lots of support for families, and we’ve always felt safe here."
It’s not surprising then that Ruth, who has always been actively involved in the community, was one of several ladies who formed a local mom’s group. Moms ’n Tots began 16 year ago with eight moms, 13 children, and 14 volunteer caregivers. Today, there are 23 moms, 36 children, and 36 caregivers. Ruth was there from the very beginning, organizing and taking a leadership role.
Why has the program been so successful? According to Ruth: "The program provides an opportunity for the moms to be away from their children, have coffee and socialize. They do such things as go out for breakfast, invite guest speakers in, and have discussions pertaining to kids. Wonderful friendships have developed within the group."
The group is not just about giving the moms a chance to take a break and have some fun and conversation; the children have a great time too. A volunteer grandma or grandpa is provided for each baby, and for every two to three children. The older children read stories, do crafts, eat snacks and sing songs while the babies get to play on blankets, enjoy brief stroller rides, or just have some cuddle time.
"The bonding between the children and the ‘grandparents’ has been most amazing," Ruth says. "Some of these children don’t have grandparents in the city so this becomes their weekly contact (with a grandparent)."
After years of serving in a leadership role, Ruth is finally taking a much-earned retirement this fall. Although she is sad to be saying goodbye, she is looking forward to spending more time on some of her favourite activities such as camping and quilting. Her upcoming retirement leaves a vacancy in the planning committee which she hopes will soon be filled.
Moms n’ Tots is a free program for moms and their young ones. They meet on Wednesdays in the fall and winter from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Windsor Park United Church (1062 Autumnwood Dr.).
The first meeting of the fall takes place Wed., Oct. 10. All moms and children in the community are welcome to join. Registration is required, and will take place through the month of September. If you’re a mom interested in joining this group, or if you’d like volunteer for the planning committee, please call Lucy at the church office (256-8792).
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Do you know of any children’s groups, clubs, or activities in the Windsor Park area that are beginning in the fall? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll be sure to include it in an upcoming column.
Heather Tiede is a community correspondent for Windsor Park. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.