For many new parents, the addition of a baby to the family changes just about everything: schedules, routines, social lives and priorities. Simultaneously, this time of life can be wonderful and overwhelming, isolating and invigorating. Suddenly, being connected with others who share your challenges and your values becomes even more important.
To help families navigate this new stage of life, CJP designed the Welcome Baby! program in partnership with Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston (JCCGB), Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) and Jewish Family Service of MetroWest (JFSMW). Started four years ago as pilot program in select communities, Welcome Baby! helps families with new babies meet each other and learn about all that their Jewish community has to offer them.
Families receive a visit from a trained volunteer who delivers a free gift tote that includes high-quality baby gifts, community resource guides and a free subscription to PJ Library. Perhaps most importantly, the visitor gives new parents information on how to connect to new mom groups, playgroups, family programs, activities and Jewish-themed family events.
"Some new parents find themselves a little isolated. Welcome Baby! helps them to make new connections to their Jewish community," says Welcome Baby! visitor Lorri Simches Owades. "Probably the most consistent feedback I hear from families is how appreciative they are that we come right to their home."
The program has become so popular it's expanding to all areas that CJP serves throughout Greater Boston, including Brookline, Newton, Needham, Dedham and Westwood. On the North Shore, Welcome Baby! will soon be launching in Beverly, Salem, Middleton, Lynnefield, Peabody and Danvers. The full list of towns served by Welcome Baby! are listed at www.jfcsboston.org/welcomebaby.
"Welcome Baby! has grown really fast. We have 22 volunteers doing visits now—I’ve done 76 visits since I started volunteering," said Lorri. “The response has been amazing. I’ve done a lot of follow-up phone calls, and parents tell me that now they are going to programs at JF&CS, JFSMW and at JCCs, and they are meeting up with local mom’s groups.”
Like all CJP programs, Welcome Baby! encourages the participation of interfaith families. “I’ve gone on visits where the mother is not Jewish, but they’ve decided to raise their child Jewish,” said Lorri. “They are so happy to get the information, and I think it’s reassuring for them to know that their family is welcomed by the Jewish community.”
Register for a Welcome Baby! visit online at: www.jfcsboston.org/welcomebaby.
For more information on Welcome Baby! in Boston, Metro North, South Area or North Shore please send an email to: email@example.com.
For more information on Welcome Baby! in the Metrowest Area, please contact Debbie Dylan, Welcome Baby! coordinator, at 508-879-3300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.