Santa and Mrs. Claus were at the Portsmouth Public Library on Dec. 8, meeting with children at the Help Me Grow Christmas Storytime.
The Help Me Grow program, at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center in New Boston, provides services to expecting mothers, and to children age 3 and under. The program provides support and information to families, and helps make sure they have access to local programs, services, and agencies for themselves and their child. The program also provides free car seats and cribs to participating families.
“We touch base with families to find out how things are going, and find out if there’s any crisis we need to deal with. Then we bring age-appropriate activities and tell parents things that they can do that help with gross motor or fine motor, personal-social, problem-solving; all those basic milestones. We make sure they are hitting all of these,” said Kay Larson, of the Help Me Grow Program.
Home visits can be scheduled in the home, Help Me Grow office, or in another convenient time and location for the family.
Pat Arthur, of Sciotoville, is a first-time mother, raising her 21-month-old Grand-Granddaughter, Maeve.
“She got off to a little bit of slow start walking, and we took her to the hospital and they told us about this program. In the beginning I didn’t know … and I talked to some people I thought I could trust and they said this is a good program, and I’ve found that to be true,” Arthur said. “When they come to my home, they’re very interested in my child and her well-being, and her growth.”
She said Maeve has made huge strides since working with the Help Me Grow Program.
“At 19-and-a-half months she wasn’t walking, and she started walking right away (after starting the program). She has doubled or tripled her vocabulary. We’re just seeing her come to life. We’re very excited,” Arthur said.
Arthur watched at the Portsmouth Public Library as her child -- who only a few months ago struggled to walk -- was up and dancing along to the music during library storytime. Larson said the purpose of the program was to build socialization for children and parents.
“It went really well,” she said. “The library is a good partner, and I encourage people to go to the library and do the storytimes.”
Larson said there are openings available for new families to sign up for Help Me Grow, and they can call 740-354-0282 for more information – or visit online at www.scoesc.org, or follow on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.