As nearly every brand-new parent can tell you, having a newborn at home can, at times, be tough. New mom Rebecca Gose agrees. "I think a lot of times women are expected to just know what we're doing right off the bat," she says.
But for Gose, the challenge of being a first-time parent has been made easier thanks to Baby Steps, a free, incentive-based parenting program launched by Saint Michael's Episcopal Cathedral in Boise 15 years ago. "The goal of Baby Steps is to empower moms to make healthy lifestyle choices for both themselves as well as their children and their family," explains Gose.
As Baby Steps director Pam Hoffbuhr explains, women enrolled in Baby Steps attend classes and workshops on a wide variety of topics - from medical to legal to cooking to budgeting - and for each class they attend, they earn points to spend on essential items in the Baby Steps Boutique. Hoffbuhr says the Boutique carries "...diapers, wipes, clothing, small baby items, too many things to list...But things that maybe [the women] may not be able to afford otherwise."
Those incentives are what drew Gose to the program initially, but it's the warm sense of community she's found here that has been the biggest surprise. "I's been really encouraging," she told 6 On Your Side, "to have a community that isn't judgey or overbearing and we're just here for each other."
When it comes to the workshops, Hoffbuhr admits it takes a small army of volunteers to keep it all going. She explains, "We partner with over 48 community members who teach all of our classes at no charge, we are very volunteer driven." And she says every ounce of effort is worth it, sharing this story: "I just heard a mom today describe feeding her baby at 4am and Face-timing with another mom feeding her baby at the same time. It's a community of moms who are sharing their experience and gaining knowledge from each other."
Gose agrees, saying "We're all just moms trying to do our best for our kids."
If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Baby Steps program, you can apply online at here. Pregnant women and those with babies up to 24 months of age are accepted.
And don't forget, you can do your part to help support moms like Rebecca and babies like Tasha during our Community Baby Shower coming up Wednesday, June 6th, 2018. All donations collected at local Albertsons locations during the shower go to benefit Baby Steps and other local education-based charities.