Oh, Baby! Part Deux: First Year Hosts Second Shower for Program Parents

May 06, 2024

As Velma J. made her second trip of the afternoon shopping for new and used clothing, her duffle bag stuffed with items for her baby — “I’m 36 weeks on Tuesday!’’ — the expectant mother wasted no time in describing what Sunday’s 2nd annual First Year Baby Shower meant to her.

“This, today, is a total blessing,’’ said Velma J. (last name withheld), who was having contractions at the event. “Everybody has welcomed me with such open arms.”

Held a week before Mother’s Day, Sunday’s (May 5) baby shower at the Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center in Highland Park was an invitation-only celebration for women and caregivers who are members of the SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic’s First Year program, an education-based initiative to support mom and baby through an infant’s first year of life. Seventy-five percent of the program’s current active participants (26) attended for an afternoon of self-care, fellowship, food, and shopping – yes, lots of shopping!

With support from the Zatkoff Family Legacy Fund and others, including University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods, which hosted a donation drive, two areas of the gym were set aside exclusively for mothers and moms-to-be to pick up new and used clothing and other needed items for baby – and themselves. Guests were offered the opportunity to visit the “relaxation zone’’ for chair massages (thank you Lyn and Peg!) and manicures (thank you Megan and Colleen!). Tea sandwiches were donated by The Whitney, treats were supplied by Victorias Cupcakes, and Nino Salvaggio-Bloomfield provided fresh fruit. Parents with children were able to keep them occupied in the Kids Crafts area (thank you Alexis and Alissa!).

Additionally, other community organizations were part of the afternoon offering resources and support – specifically, Oakland Family Doula, Journey Faith Group (mental health support and educational services) and Joyful Tykes (child care).

“For me, one of the best parts of the day was meeting the winner of the stroller/car seat – they were items that she said she truly needed,” said Brittany Washington, President and CEO of Journey Faith Group. “I really think this baby shower could grow; we can get more moms in the room.’’

Alexis Harvey, SAY Clinic community health worker and director of First Year, said: “It was incredible to see how everyone came together with such generosity and compassion to support those in our community who need it most. I have grown to love the moms that I support and the relationships and bonds I have created with each one are special to me. The shower showed the parents that they are loved, supported, and appreciated. They all deserved the day of celebration.’’

Megan Powers, a volunteer manicurist and longtime A Time to Help member, said she gave a manicure to a father of a newborn who talked about the importance of self-care and “how taking care of himself enabled him to take better care of his seven children.’’

Another participant told Powers how she had recently given birth in Michigan after having moved here from another state.

“She was so grateful for the support, kindness and the chance to learn about more resources,’’ Powers said.

SAY Detroit and its SAY Clinic are grateful to everyone who donated their time and services, including more than a dozen A Time to Help volunteers. A special thank you goes to Sue Norander, Recreation Director for the City of Highland Park, for your tireless advocacy, work ethic – and support.

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