By Celine Klosterman
IOWA CITY — After working at University of Iowa Hospitals for nine years, Jaime Kurtz left to start a new job: stay-at-home mom.
The member of St. Wenceslaus Parish loves caring for her three children, all younger than 7. But a few months ago she read of a great opportunity to meet fellow adults — a new Mothers of Young Children group for Catholics in the Iowa City area.
“It is nice to belong to a group of women of the same faith and values,” she said. “… I believe this group will benefit me as a mother and wife. It is a network of women I can turn to for answers and direction as well as for fellowship in a relaxing situation.”
Kurtz is among about 20 women who have joined MOYC, which formed in September. The group aims to offer social, volunteer and spiritual activities for Catholics with children who are kindergarten age or younger.
Since launching the group with a wine and cheese tasting, members have welcomed speakers to discuss parenting as Catholics and preparing healthy foods, and organized children’s visits to a fire station, apple orchard and other sites. Mothers are also building an email prayer chain and exploring opportunities for service projects.
Founder Michelle Moore hopes fun, faith-building activities will help both mothers and children make friends. She formed relationships through a group similar to MOYC at her former parish in Kansas City, Mo., where she lived before moving to Iowa City in July 2010. Seeking fellowship in Iowa, she brought the idea for a city-wide mothers’ group to her parish, St. Patrick’s, in early 2011.
“It’s nice to meet moms who are in similar life circumstances,” said Moore, parent of an 8-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. She hopes he’ll meet children through MOYC who could remain his friends through high school.
Kurtz, MOYC treasurer, said she’s excited to take part in service opportunities through the group. “I believe we have the ability to do some great things for those who are less fortunate.”
For Bridget Hansen, who recently lived in Minneapolis, MOYC makes Iowa City feel like a smaller community. A member of the Newman Catholic Student Center and parent of a daughter age 1 ½, Hansen has shared meaningful talks on motherhood with group members. “You feel like you’re all in this together.”
For more information or to join MOYC, contact Moore at (319) 354-3052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.