Two-year Chester resident Kris Kurth loves living in Chester. “I like the small town feel,” she said. One of the first things she did when her family relocated from Wisconsin was to find the nearest MOPS – Mothers of Pre-Schoolers – organization.
Kurth found a MOPS program that meets at Chester Baptist Church through the international website for MOPS. A four-year member of MOPS, Kurth, with her 6 ½ week old newborn by her side, was selected from a hat-drawing to participate in a mini-makeover during the group’s last meeting in May, which was Spa Day.
Kurth was one of five moms to receive a haircut and style from volunteer stylists from Les & Company. The four additional lucky moms were Shelly McCabe, Emily Welker, Noelle Grosso and Ashley Fuller. The total membership also had an opportunity for a mini-manicure, and received goody bags from Les & Company. Fuller and McCabe went for an extreme cut, while Welker went for a layered look; Kurth and Grosso went for a trim. All five were happy for the opportunity for a little pampering.
Kurth feels MOPS is a great way to socialize with other moms, arrange for play dates with their children and enjoy the opportunity for a mom’s night out. “It is a great group,” she said of the Chester MOPS. “We share ideas and discuss difficult issues. It is nice to talk to other moms, especially moms from Ft. Lee sharing their stories when their husbands are gone for a long time.”
McCabe, a three-year member, has served as coordinator of the chartered group for the last two years. “We have a waiting list every year,” she said. The group has around 40 members and the membership number is determined by the amount of volunteers available for child care. “It is a very popular program. We have a lot of military wives and they travel from program to program.”
As coordinator, McCabe is responsible for the programs each month based on a theme. This year’s theme was Life on Planet Mom. She incorporated a spa day last year.
“Everyone had a lot of fun last year and I thought it would be great to do it again this year,” she said.
This is the second year stylists from Les & Company volunteered their time. McCabe’s stylist, Brandy Fields, has organized the group from Les & Company for the two years. Participating along with Fields this year were Lara Marx, Dale Williams, Elizabeth Schneider and Ray Hardy. “There are really great ladies here,” said Fields. “We have a lot of fun.”
MOPS Chester meets the first and third Fridays of the month. They follow the Chesterfield County school yearly schedule, meeting from September to June. Next year’s theme is Momology – the Art and Science of Mothering. Mentor Moms for the group are Landa Cook and Hazel Taylor. Stephanie Felter was the founding charter member and organizes the MOPPETS, the child care end of the program.
Along with Chester Baptist Church, located at 4317 School Street, Colonial Heights Baptist Church located, at 17201 Jefferson Davis Highway, and Matoaca Christian Fellowship Church, located at 7700 River Road, have chartered MOPS organizations.
The first MOPS meeting was held in Wheat Ridge, Colo., in February 1973. Eight women came together for two hours. “While their children received care, these mothers talked, laughed, ate, passed a basket for childcare expenses, had a craft demonstration and ended with a short devotional,” according to the MOPS National website. These first meetings allowed the women to form friendships, share, create and understand that “Mothering Matters.” As women moved around the country, they took the concept of MOPS with them and new groups formed.
According to the MOPS website, MOPS established a board of directors and incorporated in 1981 as MOPS Outreach and later as MOPS, Inc. As interest grew, leadership training began. In 1982, 150 women from five states gathered for an all-day MOPS leadership seminar. In 1988, MOPS expanded beyond U.S. borders and was renamed MOPS International, Inc. As the organization grew, the organization saw the need for a chartering process, resource materials and a paid staff. The outgrowth from the staff includes a newsletter, radio program and books. For more information about MOPS International and programs near you, visit www.mops.org.