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Day of the Child marks 30 years helping parents, kids in need

The Hawk Eye - 4/16/2018

April 16--WEST BURLINGTON -- When Tamee DeCoursey was a young mother, she worked 12 hours a day, five days a week -- the same time most businesses and organizations are open.

"I did not know what was available to help me," said DeCoursey. "I needed some help, and couldn't find things."

Fast forward and DeCoursey and Community Action of Southeast Iowa hosted the 30th annual Day of the Child at Westland Mall Sunday, an event aimed at fixing the problems she faced as a young parent.

About 30 booths were set up in common spaces of the mall, featuring everything from car seat checks to nutrition tips for children.

Jennifer Rose, director of nursing at Sunnybrook in Burlington, handed paper shoes to lace with string that the elderly residents made for children using the Montessori method of learning. Rose said the event provides two-way gratification, giving something to the children, but also allowing elderly residents at Sunnybrook to help out in their community.

"Any education you can provide the kids. It's just a good feeling to give back to the community," said Rose.

Education was a prominent theme among the booths, as Altrusa International members passed out small paper books for children to write their own stories. Altrusa International promotes literacy, and member Jenny Jackson said she hoped to encourage children to start reading at an early age and form a lifelong habit.

"The younger you start, the better chance they have in life," said Altrusa member Donna Norris.

Nichole Hawk, marketing coordinator at Universal Therapy Group, said her booth aimed to remind parents to take care of themselves, too.

"Obviously therapy and pain isn't for kids in general, but their parents might be suffering and not saying anything," said Hawk.

She said Day of the Child provides a no-pressure time for parents to seek out help with their own pain, without taking time away from their family.

And for mother Stephanie Ward, the day simply served as a way for her toddler son to learn valuable social skills and play with other kids his age.

DeCoursey said turnout at the event was good, but admitted she has never seen the annual event not well attended. For that, she said, this year's theme was Celebrations Throughout Generations, to honor the people who came to Day of the Child as babies and now have brought their own sons and daughters.


(c)2018 The Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa)

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