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A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: THE MOMS CLUB COMES TO QUEENS

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by Nathalie Covo

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Ah, the joys of motherhood. The pitter-patter of little bare feet throughout the home. A whiff of baby shampoo on the soft and silky hair of a baby. But what happens on days when the joy feels more like downright isolation? The International MOMS Club, a non-profit organization which for 20 years has acted as a support group for stay-at-home mothers, now offers a spit-up-free shoulder to cry or just lean on at its newly chartered chapter in Middle Village. When chapter founder and president Lucia Accardo discovered that her area was untapped by the international organization, she embarked on her own mission to get mothers and their little ones together on common 'playground' (so to speak). The application process took about two months. A busy mother of three (Alessia, 4, Valentina, 2, and Massimo, 1), Accardo knows firsthand the necessity for the club’s presence in Queens. “We offer companionship and a social outlet for both mothers and their children. It’s also a way to give back to the community,” the Queens native says. The club is required to participate in at least one civic service project per year, such as a toy drive or fundraiser, but Accardo plans to lead her club in initiating monthly service projects in the future. This summer, Safe Horizon, a victims assistance organization with programs in all five boroughs, is kicking off the opening of the Queens Child Advocacy Center (QCAC). Accardo and several club members are planning a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” party for the center. As the chapter grows, so will the chance for its members to be more civically involved, its founder says. Member Tiffany Elliott, mother of Max, 6, and Riley, 2, is confident that Queens has plenty of opportunities for civic involvement, and joined the club for the chance to make a difference in her community and to get out and meet new people. Elliott says she, too, is no stranger to the isolation many women feel when they opt to stay home and raise their children. Her husband is a firefighter who often can't come home or see his children for days at a time. “With staying at home, there’s a lot of isolation, and it’s comforting to know that there are other people who feel the same way you do,” Elliott says, stressing the importance of the social aspect of the club for children. Her youngest son is a bit shy, so with her activities in the club he automatically gets the chance to meet new playmates, she explains. “We believe being a mother should not isolate you, so mothers may bring their children with them,” the organization's website declares. The only time mothers leave their children home is when the group gathers for its monthly “Moms Night Out” — a chance for members to enjoy adult conversation, usually at a local hot spot. Accardo admits that as much as moms can’t wait to get out alone, trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule has proven to be quite a challenge. The group also strives to meet once a month to discuss and vote upon potential service projects and other events, relying on the national organization for some of its ideas about future club meetings and general information for the chapter newsletter. The club newsletters provide playgroup tips and outline upcoming club trips and activities. Those who wish to start their own local chapter are always encouraged and assisted by the organization. For more information on the MOMS Club, visit www.momsclub.org or mvmomsclub.tripod.com (Accardo’s chapter). To reach Lucia Accardo, call (718) 416-1939 or email her at [email protected]


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