Making the Mommy Connection: Article in My Town Crier


Making the Mommy Connection: Article in My Town Crier

June 22, 2011

Making the mommy connection

West-end mom kickstarts east-end business mentoring new mothers
By Kelly Gadzala

June 13, 2011

Neighbourhoods: BeachUpper BeachLeslieville Riverdale

Originally published in our Beach-South Riverdale print edition(s).


MENTORING MOTHERS: Danielle Kaftarian, shown with son Kyle, has launched the east-end chapter of Mommy Connections to connect new moms with information and local businesses.

Two years ago Danielle Kaftarian had a busy year: she got married, moved to a new part of the city and became pregnant.

The first of her pals to have a baby, Kaftarian didn’t know any new moms in her new neighbourhood.

Being a new mom can be isolating, she says.

“It’s a crazy time.”

After learning about Mommy Connections, a community-based business that started in Edmonton and provides workshops to expecting and new moms, Kaftarian started classes in her Bloor West neighbourhood.

“I loved the program so much I decided to start one.”

Owner and operator of Toronto’s east-end Mommy Connections, Kaftarian kicked off her first round of workshops in May, with another session to follow in July. Each eight-week session covers a range of topics: everything from stroller fitness and baby massage to photography and baby sign language.

What’s different about Mommy Connections, she says, is participants bring their babies to seminars and the little ones can participate.

That’s good for new moms who are a bit nervous about leaving their little ones, she says. Moms also get to exchange tips with other moms and see how other babies grow and change.

Though Kaftarian lives in Bloor West, she says she decided to open a chapter in the east-end as she has a strong connection to the Beach area. Her father has run Corso Shoes on Queen Street East for years, and she says she grew up working in the three Corso stores that used to occupy the Queen East strip.

She also wants to build a sense of community with small businesses in the area, who get involved by giving talks and presentations.

For example, Kaftarian has partnered with Lil’ Bean n’ Green Café and Play in Leslieville. The first session there was sold out, so she’s working on a second one.

The situation is a win-win for moms connecting with the program and for businesses, she says. Kaftarian devises the programming and approaches east-end businesses about participating in it.

“Some totally got the concept right away,” she says, while others wondered what the catch was. Though there is a sponsorship option, businesses can participate for free.

So far she’s developed mostly post-natal programs for her first session, but as she expands Kaftarian says she’ll be adding pre-natal workshops.

A neat outcome of her participating in the Bloor West program is that she’s become friends with some of the moms she met there, some of whom have decided, like her, to open programs in other parts of the city and beyond.

The social interaction part of the sessions is important, she says. One early workshop teaches icebreaking skills to help new moms introduce themselves to other moms.

“It can be intimidating going up to a new mom and inserting yourself into the conversation.”

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