Free Children’s Boutique Open To First Time Mothers In Need With Emphasize On Books
First Library, an early childhood literacy nonprofit organization that has delivered over 2500 books to almost 300 local children, all at no cost to their families, has expanded its mission and opened First Baby, a free children’s boutique for low-income, first time mothers.
I saw the need for a program that would work in conjunction with the free early childhood literacy program, but would also provide educational support and essential baby items to low income, first time mothers in need.
While the First Library program, in conjunction with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, mailed one new, age-appropriate book each month to preschool children, regardless of the family’s income, the First Baby boutique is open to low income, first time mothers only and provides 52 books a year to the children enrolled. The program now has more than four times the amount of books offered by the original program.
Research has found that 61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. And in low-income neighborhoods the ratio of book to child is 1 to 300 (1 book for every 300 children). Also, children growing up in homes with many books, get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents' education, occupation and class.
Moreover, giving children access to print materials is associated with positive behavioral, educational, and psychological outcomes.
I believe early childhood literacy education is the key to lifting a child out of poverty and providing them with a firm foundation for future life and educational success.
First Baby offers first time mothers in need educational support and essential baby items, such as clothing, books, educational toys, and equipment, throughout their baby's first three years of life, free of charge, while promoting early childhood literacy and healthy and responsible parenting.
Mothers meet with early childhood development educators every three months and "shop" for age-appropriate clothing, books and educational toys. They are also educated about their child's needs: mentally and educationally.
Although mothers are referred by their primary care providers and social agencies, they must pledge their commitment to our entire three-year program.
Mothers are also required to read to their child daily and keep a reading log.
First Baby is the only program nationally that addresses the child’s needs materially and educationally, free of charge, while providing their first time mothers with one-on-one educational support by early childhood development educators.
Women pregnant with their first child or with a child under one year old that meet income requirements and are referred by a primary care giver or are enrolled in or plan to enroll in a participating service organization's program are eligible for the First Baby program.
Mothers must exhibit extreme financial need, whether it is a low income or participation in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Assistance to Needy Families/Work First NJ, or WIC to be eligible for the program.
First time mothers interested in participating in the program should have their obstetrician, pediatrician, doula or social agency representative (Nurse Family Partnership, Healthy Families, Healthy Start, Parents as Teachers, and Mothering Mothers) fill out a referral form. Referral forms can be obtained by calling Catherine Goldberg at 973-452-6189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Baby is supported through private monetary donations and grants and material donations from corporations, local families and area consignment and thrifts shops.
More information about First Library or First Baby can be found at the website, firstlibrary.org. or by calling 973-452-6189.
Donations of new and nearly new clothing books and educational toys can be dropped off at the office at 110 Summit Avenue, Chatham, NJ. Please call ahead to make a donation.