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C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Natural Birth and Parenting Network, 7pm, first Wed of each month, Hebron Community Center, 611 N Main St, Hebron. 219.996.5188. indianabirthchoices.com. This nonprofit organization offers a variety of discussion topics each month, led by midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, breastfeeding consultants and more.
La Leche League, llli.org. La Leche League is an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that provides education, information, support and encouragement to women who want to breastfeed. Visit the website for more information on local LLL groups and their meetings.
Northwest Indiana Chapter of the National Autism Association, 953 Capitol Dr, Hobart. northwestindianaautism.com. This monthly support group for families affected by autism holds meetings on the 3rd Thursday of each month, except December and July. The free meetings cover a wide variety of topics relating to autism. Check the website for meeting locations, which change monthly.
Northwest Indiana Tourette Syndrome Association Support Group (NWITSA), 219.771.3208. tsaindiana.org (click on “Support Groups”). This support group is available for families living with Tourette Syndrome.
Parents as Teachers (PAT), 219.554.1710. patlakecounty.org. PAT is an international, award-winning, parenting support and early childhood education program. PAT provides services to families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten. Services include monthly home visits, several monthly playgroups at various locations and times, parent group meetings, developmental screenings, and resource networking. Parents as Teachers is available to all families residing in Lake County, with offices in Cedar Lake, Crown Point, Gary, Hammond, Highland, Lake Station and Whiting.
GROUPS FOR MOMS
Coffee Break and Story Hour, 2nd Christian Reformed Church, 3010 Ridge Rd, Highland. 219.838.0506. h2crc.org. Coffee Break is a Bible study group for women of all ages that meets Tuesday mornings from 9:45-11am from September through April. Story Hour is a program for 3-year-olds through kindergarten-age children that meet while Coffee Break is in session. The kids enjoy songs, stories and crafts, and a nursery is provided for children under 3.
International MOMS Club, momsclub.org. This organization has a mission of providing support to area at-home mothers. Local chapters offer activities to fit every mom’s lifestyle, including play dates, open houses, charitable events, and “Mom’s Night Out.”
LOCAL MOMS CLUB CHAPTERS
Cedar Lake and Lowell: cedarlakelowellmoms.club.officelive.com.
Crown Point and Hebron: momsclubofcrownpointhebronin.weebly.com.
Highland and Griffith: momsclubhighland.grouply.com.
Munster: first Fri of the month, Westminster Church, Columbia Ave, Munster. sites.google.com/site/momsclubmunster/home.
Find more local chapters at momsclub.org/join_inquiry.html.
Mothers of Multiple Miracles (M.O.M.M.S.), 7pm, fourth Mon of every month (except for May and Dec), Reginald Boardroom, St Margaret Mercy Hospital, 24 Joliet St (US 30), Dyer. Share parenting ideas and strategies at this support group for mothers and caretakers of twins and high order births. M.O.M.M.S. also offers family activities throughout the year.
Mothers & More, mothersandmore.org. This nonprofit organization has more than 170 chapters and 7,500 members nationwide, and is dedicated to improving the lives of mothers through support, education and advocacy. Activities include a book club, Mom and Tot activities, playgroups, parties, Couple’s Night Out and more.
MONTHLY MEETINGS FOR LOCAL MOTHERS & MORE CHAPTERS
Porter County: bigtent.com/groups/mm47.
Tri-Town (Dyer, St. John and Schererville): 7:30pm, first Thu of the month, Lake Central High School, Room V-105, 8400 Wicker Ave, St. John. mothersandmoretritown.org.
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), mops.org. The mission of MOPS is to support mothers of preschoolers in a nurturing environment, with invaluable resources and networking/mentoring opportunities. Local MOPS group meetings offer enriching friendships, discussion, education and creative activities for mothers of all backgrounds, all while the children are being cared for on site.
LOCAL MOPS GROUPS
Crown Point: 1st and 3rd Tue mornings, Bethel Church, 10202 Broadway, Crown Point. 219.663.9200. bethelweb.org.
Dyer: Faith Church, 1st and 3rd Fri mornings, 100 E 81st Ave, Dyer. 219.864.0300. faithchurchonline.org.
Schererville: 1st and 3rd Wed mornings, Crossroads Community Church, 1538 Janice Dr, Schererville. 219.322.6400. aboutccc.com. Also, 2nd and 4th Tue mornings, Lake Hills Baptist Church, 9209 W 85th Ave, Schererville. 219.365.4747.
Valparaiso: 1st and 3rd Thu mornings, Valparaiso Nazarene Church, 2702 E Glendale Blvd, Valparaiso. 219.462.2751. valponaz.org.
Southlake County Mothers of Multiples, 7pm, first Tue of every month, Wesleyan Church, 2920 W 73rd Pl, Merrillville. 219.838.0506. slcmoms.org. Southlake County Mothers of Multiples Club is a support group for mothers of twins and/or higher multiples living in South Lake and Porter counties. SLCMoms also hosts mom’s night out and many other family events throughout the year.
Boys & Girls Clubs of NWI, 839 Broadway, Gary. 219.881.1060. nwipositiveplace.org. Promotes youth development, health, education, leadership and character through structured activities.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, 354 Jefferson, Valparaiso. 219.464.7282, 219.762.4613. bgcpoco.org. Has locations in Valparaiso, Chesterton, South Haven and Portage, as well as before-and-after school child care in nine locations. Ongoing: Variety of summer programs, including races, cooking classes, dodge ball, movie days, rollerskating, crafts and more.
Boy Scouts of America, 8751 Calumet Ave, Munster. 219.836.1720. calcouncil.org.
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, 8699 Broadway, Merrillville. 219.795.9640. ddgsc.org.
NWI Catholic Youth Organization, 7725 Broadway, Merrillville. 219.736.8931. nwicyo.org. This organization provides year-round activities such as athletics, band, camping, and academic programs for children of all races and creeds.
Porter County WIC Program, 401 Marquette, Valparaiso. 219.464.9220. 2535 Portage Mall, Portage. 219.762.3185. in.gov/isdh/programs/mch/ifh.htm. WIC is an organization that provides healthy food for women who are pregnant or postpartum, as well as children ages five and under.
Campus Life. Campus Life combines healthy relationships with creative programs to help youths in middle school and senior high make good choices, establish a solid foundation for life and positively impact their schools for Christ.
LOCAL CAMPUS LIFE GROUPS
Chesterton: Contact Jon Christensen, 219.746.3076.
La Porte: Contact John Cornett, 219.325.0231.
Portage: Contact Gail Morris, 219.738.8368.
Valparaiso: Contact Heather Kerr, 219.617.4563.
YMCA, ymca.net. Through youth sports and fitness programs, as well as family activities, the YMCA fulfills its mission of “building healthy spirit, mind and body for all” as it promotes the values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
LOCAL YMCA FACILITIES
Chesterton: Duneland Family YMCA, 215 Roosevelt St, Chesterton. 219.926.4204. duneland.com.
Crown Point: Southlake YMCA, 1450 S Court St, Crown Point. 219.663.5810. slymca.org.
Gary: YMCA of Gary, 150 W 15th Ave, Gary. 219.881.9922.
Hammond: YMCA of the Hammond Area, 7322 Southeastern Ave, Hammond. 219.881.9922. hammondareaymca.org.
Hobart: Hobart Family YMCA, 601 W 40th Pl, Hobart. 219.942.2183. hobartymca.org.
Portage: Portage Township YMCA, 3100 Willowcreek Rd, Portage. 219.762.9622. ymcaofportage.org.
Valparaiso: Valparaiso Family YMCA, 55 Chicago St, Valparaiso. 219.462.4185. valpoymca.org.
American Red Cross, Porter County: 755 W Lincolnway, Valparaiso. 219.462.8543. portercountyredcross.org. Lake County: 791 E 83rd Ave, Merrillville. 219.756.5360. nwindiana-redcross.org. The American Red Cross provides health and safety classes, as well as disaster relief.
Birthright of Valparaiso, 409 E Lincolnway, Valparaiso. 219.462.3502. Offers free pregnancy testing, counseling, and maternity, baby and toddler clothes, as well as medical, financial and housing referrals.
Care Counseling Services, 793-2 Juniper Rd, Valparaiso. 219.759.6760. State certified as a treatment provider, Care Counseling offers the following programs: individual counseling, family counseling, adolescent needs, specialty care for the deaf and/or hard of hearing, alcohol and drug addiction, and psychiatric and medical referrals.
The Caring Place, 3107 Cascade Dr, Valparaiso. 219.464.2128 (crisis line), 219.464.0840 (administration). thecaringplacenwi.org. The Caring Place provides a safe shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as counseling, support groups and advocacy.
Center for Possibilities Counseling Services, 22 Tyler, Hobart. 219.962.5751. Center for Possibilities has received a Prevent Child Abuse grant from Geminus Community Partners, and now provides FREE counseling to Lake County parents of a child with a diagnosed disability. Call for more information.
Christian Care Counseling Center, 354 West St, Valparaiso. 219.465.7777. Christian Care Counseling Center provides Christian counseling to families and individuals of all ages who are experiencing a crisis or difficulty in life.
Crisis Center, 101 N Montgomery St, Gary. 219.938.7070. Crisis line: 219.938.0900. 24-hour suicide hotline: 800.273.TALK. crisiscenterysb.org. The Crisis Center is equipped to provide counseling and referrals to individuals of all ages who are suffering through a crisis.
Division of Family Resources Porter County, 152 Indiana Ave, Valparaiso. 219.462.2113. Administers public assistance.
Haven House, Hammond. 219.931.2090. This family advocacy center offers emergency shelter, temporary housing, crisis intervention and support, education and referrals.
New Leaf Resources, 11065 S Broadway, Crown Point. 219.266.1810. 2325-177th, Lansing. 708.895.7310. newleafresources.org. This non-profit organization provides individual, family and marriage counseling; education, prevention programs and on-site counseling for schools; and mentoring, conflict resolution and referral services for churches and businesses.
PATH, Inc., 1755 Thornapple Cir, Valparaiso. 219.548.8783. pathblazer.org. PATH (“A Positive Approach to Teen Health”) is a nonprofit organization geared to help parents and teens. PATH encourages abstinence from drugs, alcohol, relationship violence, and sexual activity outside of marriage. Contact PATH for guest speakers, workshops and resources for youth and adults.
Porter-Starke Services, porterstarke.org. Porter-Starke Services offers a continuum of care for adults, families, adolescents and children with emotional or behavioral issues. Services include medication management, crisis services, and individual, family, couples and marital counseling.
PORTER STARKE LOCATIONS
Chesterton: 810 Michael Dr, Ste D, Chesterton 219.531.3500.
Knox: 1003 Edgewood Dr, Knox 574.772.4040.
Portage: 3349 Willowcreek Rd, Portage 219.762.9557.
Valparaiso: 210 Aberdeen Dr, Ste C, Valparaiso 219.531.3500. Also, 601 Wall St, Valparaiso 219.531.3500
Porter County Department of Child Services, 19 E Lincolnway, Valparaiso. Office: 219.462.2112. To report abuse or neglect: 800.800.5556. Administers child protective services.
Spring Valley Shelter, 2001 N Calumet Ave, Valparaiso. 219.465.1022. ccaportercounty.org. Spring Valley serves as a transitional shelter for homeless families, providing crisis intervention, referral services, counseling, and parenting and budgeting education.
CRIME PREVENTION AND SECURITY
National Crime Prevention Council’s dog McGruff, mcgruff.org. This interactive website features fun online games that teach kids safety, with the help of the National Crime Prevention Council’s crime fighting mascot, McGruff.
Robert Siciliano, realtysecurity.com/child_security.php. Robert Siciliano, a personal security expert, provides tips on keeping families safe.
U.S. Fire Administration, usfaparents.gov. This website provides information on fire alarms, developing a home plan and more.
Fire safety source for kids and parents, firesafety.gov/kids. Important information for parents and children about fire safety.
HOME INJURY PREVENTION
Home Safety Council, homesafetycouncil.org. This national nonprofit organization is the only one to be solely dedicated to preventing home related injuries, which result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average each year.
SafeKids, usa.safekids.org. This worldwide organization strives to prevent accidental childhood injury.
National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), staysafeonline.org. This alliance’s mission is to empower and support Internet users and help them to surf the web securely and safely.
CyberPatrol, cyberpatrol.com. This Parental Control software company develops easy to use software that helps protect families and businesses from undesirable or threatening online activity.
Security IQ Test,trend-micro-iq-quiz.com/quiz.html. This short quiz determines your knowledge of online safety.
American Association of Poison Control Centers, aapcc.org. This website provides information on poison control centers, first aid, poison prevention and more.
Poison Control Hotline, 800.222.1222. This hotline serves as a key medical information resource and offers free, professional advice in case of an emergency.