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Moms, children find friends with MOPS

POSTED: March 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Kaden Hooks plays with the box that contained the toy fire truck his mother, Kelly Hooks, bought for him Saturday at Mothers of Preschoolers consignment sale at First Baptist Church.

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Children and moms alike may find instant allies in a group called Mothers of Preschoolers.

MOPS is an international organization for mothers of children preschool age or younger. MOPS of Gainesville, chartered with the First Baptist Church on Green Street, held a consignment sale Saturday at the church to raise funds for the local chapter.

The consignment sale, which is held twice a year, helps fund the group’s monthly meetings. MOPS of Gainesville, which currently has 20 members, meets for two hours twice a month to eat homemade food and discuss parenting, marriage and life in general. The meetings often have guest speakers or special activities including scrapbooking and painting glass.

Terri Bailey of Chestnut Mountain said a guest speaker at a past meeting helped her understand how important it is to be a good parent to a young child.

"I learned about the importance of such a young age ... you have such a small window, use it wisely," said Bailey, who is in her sixth year with MOPS. Bailey said that when she joined the program, she had just had her first child and knew nothing about babies, but the group helped her with a lot of information.

It was that opportunity to help others that drew Sue Price of Gainesville to MOPS. She heard about the group through a friend.

"It ministered me in the sense of serving others ... it gave me what I needed to be a stay-at-home mom," Price said.

Gaylynne White, who joined MOPS of Gainesville when she moved to Georgia from Indiana, said she also learned the value of being a stay-at-home mom.

"It’s been great ... I learned that being a stay-at-home mom is important. It’s my choice and privilege to stay at home," White said.

MOPS isn’t geared just to stay-at-home moms, and also has evening and weekend meetings for working
mothers in other counties. There also are efforts to establish a MOPS group for Hispanic moms as well as one for teen moms.

Cheyenne Dye joined MOPS when she came to the consignment sale more than two years ago. She said that she can identify with other women in MOPS and can relate to the problems that other mothers face.

"It’s OK. You’re not the only one that struggles with a kid throwing a tantrum in the grocery store," Dye said.

That camaraderie is a feeling that many share.

"Were all in the same season of life ... you’ll always find a friend coming to the group, we’re very accepting," White said.

White said her two children had immediate friends when she joined MOPS. At MOPS meetings, children are taken care of by church staff. There they can interact with other kids that are about the same age.

MOPS also holds a night out for moms and play dates throughout the year. The international cost for joining MOPS is $20, plus $25 every school semester.

Dye and White, members of the steering team for Gainesville’s MOPS chapter, coordinated the consignment sale this year with the hopes of being as successful as the last sale. Even with the rain, White said there was a good turnout Saturday.

Saturday’s sale featured some 15,000 items from 112 sellers from Hall and other surrounding counties. Sellers got 70 percent of the revenue and 30 percent went to the MOPS program. Unsold items were to be given to a charity chosen by the First Baptist Church.


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