Shelly, Brooklyn & Mason
Shelly S. had just moved into The Grove neighborhood
with her young daughter Brooklyn when she found a flyer
on her door, inviting her to visit Midtown Community
Services and check out the programs they had to offer.
From the moment she stepped through Midtown’s doors,
Shelly knew she had found an extended family and a support
network that would be by her family’s side for years to come.
Shelly immediately enrolled Brooklyn in Midtown’s
afterschool and summer camp programs. And when she
became pregnant with her second child Mason in 2014, she
jumped at the chance to participate in the Family PRIDE (Parent Resources, Infant Development and Environment) program.
“My pregnancy with Mason was kind of rough,” she said. “I would walk into Midtown feeling one type of way, and because of the love and peace I felt here, I would leave with a positive attitude. Midtown has always been a wonderful place to turn to for support. Even if I didn’t need anything, when I just wanted to talk, they were always here for me.”
Shelly took advantage of Family PRIDE’s parenting classes while she was pregnant and was able to stock Mason’s nursery with items from the Family PRIDE store. After he was born, the two received home visits from Midtown’s parent-child outreach workers and began attending workshops and playgroups with other families in the neighborhood.
Remarked Shelly, “The classes that were offered were very useful, and I still apply many of the techniques I learned from the different speakers to my life today.”
As Mason grew older, the playgroups played an important role in his emotional and social development.
“Mason always had issues with sharing, but by coming to playgroup and socializing with the other kids, he became less defiant and began sharing with those around him. Midtown has really become his home—he can feel the love, even at his young age.”
Creating stronger families and stronger communities
For 34 years, Midtown served under the Catholic Charities umbrella and focused only on the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. When we became an independent nonprofit in 2017, we were able to open Family PRIDE to any new or expectant parents in the City of St. Louis.
In Shelly’s case, the change was crucial. She had recently moved out of the neighborhood, and without the expansion, she and her kids could not continue to receive the support they had counted on for the past five years.
“The fact that Midtown has expanded to all zip codes is wonderful. There are so many parents who need this kind of programming, but there are few communities that offer it. Being pregnant and being a new mom is so stressful. To know that there’s someone who can offer the resources and tools and support you need, that’s just awesome!”
To help Midtown continue serving families like Shelly’s, please consider making a donation to our Community Services Expansion Campaign by making your gift online today.