There's no doubt that
becoming a parent is exhilarating. But ask any new mom or dad, and they're sure
to tell you -- it's also exhausting. Having a baby can be overwhelming,
leaving parents in search of resources and support.
month, jBaby Chicago will be here to help. The program, which launches in
April as a project of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Chicago, aims to be a resource for parents raising Jewish children from birth
to 24 months old, creating a fun, social, supportive community to help
navigate those critical first two years.
"It's really important to have
other parent friends who have kids the same age as yours and go through it
together. It honestly can make or break your experience," said Lindsay Lee
Meltzer, a new mom in Chicago who will assist with outreach for the program.
"These parents are out there. They're just not finding each other."
Program offerings will include playgroups and classes presented by
community partners such as Mishkan Chicago, JCC Chicago, Anshe Emet
Synagogue, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Sinai Preschool, Gan Shalom
Preschool, and more. Topics and themes range from child development to adult
yoga to music to baby sign language and massage, as well as purely social
activities for parents to schmooze while kids play.
"Parents will have
the chance to connect with Jewish peers at a critical time in development of
their family," said Rebecca Richards, jBaby Chicago Chair, adding that she
hopes the program will allow new parents to "forge deep friendships and create
lasting support networks."
jBaby Chicago also will offer free 'swag
bags' filled with goodies like books, toys, and coupons for local boutiques
and play spaces. The bags will be personally delivered to new moms and dads
by jBaby Chicago Connectors, new parents like Meltzer who help match
individual families with opportunities in their neighborhoods.
impetus for jBaby Chicago really grew out of the success of Chicago's PJ
Library program, which now sends Jewish books and music monthly to 6,200
families in the Chicago metropolitan area," said Debbi Cooper, JUF's Assistant
Vice President of Young Family Engagement. "We kept hearing from families how
great it was to connect with other families raising young children through PJ
Library programs and how much they wished they had these connections when
they first had children."
Classes and playgroups will begin in April
in the City North area, which includes Lincoln Park, Lakeview, River North,
Gold Coast, Bucktown and Wicker Park. jBaby Chicago will expand to
surrounding areas in the second half of 2014 and 2015.
Jewish infants in Chicago are invited to sign up online to learn more
and receive jBaby Chicago swag.
For more information, visit www.juf.org/jbabychicago.
jBaby Chicago Community Partners and Class
City North Area
2014 - December 2014
@ Mishkan - Home-based Jewish experiences for families with children
under two years old.
Group - New moms group for moms of Jewish children birth to 6 months
jMemory Workshop -
Workshop for creating baby's first memories book.
Connecting the Expecting - Dinner series for
expectant parents focusing on everything a new parent needs to know in those
first few months.
Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day
Music class with Bucktown School of Music -
Music class incorporating Jewish and secular music for parents and babies.
New Moms Connect - New moms
group for moms of Jewish children birth to 6 months old.
Daddy and Me - A Sunday morning
class for dads and children 12-24 months.
Newborn Class with Bubbles Academy-A six-week class
focused designed to help parents navigate baby's first few months.
Playgroups-Playgroups for children 18 months and younger meeting in
Chicago's hottest play spots