Tracy Gold understands that sometimes parents just need a day out.
The former teacher turned stay-at-home mom raised three children with a lot of support from her community–especially a group of mothers who took turns hosting play dates and watching each others’ kids. Nearly ten years later, Gold is on a mission to provide that same support to other parents. “I think that moms and dads are almost always putting the needs of children above their own. But it’s okay for them to have a break sometimes,” says Gold. “In fact, I think it’s important for their sanity and also for the health and happiness of their kids.”
Inspired by her own child-rearing experience, Gold founded Mommy’s Day Out, a drop-in child care service for children ages two-five years old at the East Liberty Lutheran Church on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. For just five dollars a day, parents can drop off their children with a team of dedicated volunteers at the secure facility.
“A child needs to get out of the home to be more balanced. So why can’t it apply to Mommy too? This is their time,” Gold says.
In addition to giving parents a much needed break, Mommy’s Day Out engages children in preschool activities designed to provide academic enrichment. They learn their letters, numbers and colors. They participate in a craft activity. They even have a chore. “So they can learn a little bit about responsibility and working together to keep their environment in order,” says Gold. Snack time is also incorporated into the day free of charge.
The program is run on the first floor of the church in two bright and cheerful classrooms stocked full of toys, books, craft supplies and child-sized furniture provided mostly by the generous donations of community members. Ample parking is available in the lot behind the church, located at 5707 Penn Avenue.
Julie Tasosa of Point Breeze brings her daughter, Isabel, to Mommy’s Day Out regularly. “It’s convenient, affordable and flexible. I’ve been taking Isabel to Mommy’s Day Out for two years and she still looks forward to it. She’s happy when she goes and she is happy when she comes out. It’s a wonderful environment for children.”
The Mommy’s Day Out program extends its services to other caregivers including grandparents and dads. Sometimes parents even choose to stay with their children at Mommy’s Day Out to help the volunteers and also get to know one another. “I’m finding that families are connecting with each other even outside of the program–scheduling play dates and meet-ups,” says Gold. “It is so rewarding to see these families building nurturing relationships with one another.”
For Gold, it’s all about giving parents the support she received from her family and friends years ago. “It gives me joy, peace and love. I want parents to know that they are not alone.”
For more information on Mommy’s Day Out, please contact Program Director Tracy Gold at 412-362-1712.
Featured photo: Preschool classroom at East Liberty Lutheran Church, Photo by Nadine Champsi