Ave Maria

Youthful Bonds: Kid and Teen Playgroups Flourishing in Community

In Ave Maria, parents across the community are forming playgroups that help their children create meaningful connections while also keeping them active and engaged.  Children playing with sand crafts

“When we moved here, the very first thing I did was sign my daughter up for a class at our local clubhouse. I’ll never forget that she walked in and did not know what to do,” said resident Lluisi Oliverio. After witnessing this, Oliverio took to Facebook and posted about starting a parent-kid social group which has since gained great popularity from other parent users.

On Thursdays, attendees of her free and accessible toddler play group gather at South Park to participate in a wide array of activities. “We don’t just get together at the park; we do all kinds of different things. We’ve done field trips and our biggest event every year is our Easter egg hunt,” Oliverio said.

Kids playing in the park Organized and coordinated by local mother Stefanie Lynn, Fun Friday is a weekly gathering where children of all ages from local homeschooling groups can get together to participate in physical activities. “Every week, I do a sport with the kids that show up and want to play,” said Lynn. “But there’s also a whole group of moms that hang out on the playground together and chat while the kids play.”

“If you’re struggling with meeting people or trying to connect with people, I think that Fun Friday would be a good place to start,” Lynn said. “I always say that it has something for everybody as far as just having a nice Friday morning. There’s got to be like 30 to 40 kids out there every week.”

While each group is focused on catering to the needs of different age demographics, both moms agree that the playgroups have made it easier to connect with other members of the community. Kids decorating cookies

“We are very much about supporting each other,” Oliverio said. “It’s not just moms that show up. We have babysitters, dads and grandparents, who show up with their little ones to talk and learn from each other. I’ve learned so many things from other parents and vice versa.”

What started as one mom reaching out for help has now become an opportunity for families to share both valuable advice and memorable experiences.

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