Editor's Note: This article was written for Los Altos Patch as part of a San Jose State University journalism class assignment. The writer welcomes your feedback and comments.
By Laura Nguyen
A convenient baby changing station waits at the entrance of the gymnasium for quick diaper changes. Wandering children, like ducklings, stray not too far from their mothers or fathers as coffee and pastries are provided. Mothers mingle, gently swaying and patting baby over their shoulders.
Locally, the "PAMP" rummage sale is well-known for its high-quality toddler-kids stuff, but that's just the beginning.
The Parent's Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, or PAMP, is 22 years old, and is self-described as the largest parents organization on the Peninsula.
On a cool Sunday morning when the sun is shining on a community center in Palo Alto, the gymnasium fills with curious families ready to save, sell and buy. The gymnasium offers ten or so racks of women andchildren’s clothes, and a cluster of children and toddler shoes. A cluster of women in red aprons eagerly welcome newcomers and group members to the
In an effort to bring families together, the President of PAMP, Melina Patterson, provides their group members with numerous opportunities to get support and find other parents. Parent groups have many benefits for the new moms and dads, and PAMP, despite its name, has many members in the Los Altos area.
One of the top benefits is the strong community that parent groups offer. Los Altos resident Grace Lam, who has four children—three of which are girls—joined the parent group two years ago. She came out to sell some of her things here. She says she relies on the support system tremendously. The online forums have provided Grace with comfort and encouragement when she sought an understanding ear, someone who shared the same worries she faced for one of her daughters.
“She’s quite anxious and so it was quite helpful to read about other parents with anxious children,” Lam said.
Another benefit of these kind of parent organizations is the connection that most mothers share, especially those new to the neighborhood. Mutki Naik of Palo Alto felt that being a part of a parent group helped her socialize with other moms, since she recently moved from London and knew very few people.
Amourence Lee coordinator, of the rummage event says she relies on many of her members because she has learned they can trust one another and help serve each other.
“This organization is built on the shoulders of women before us,” Lee said referring to its founding in 1991. “We’re lucky to have so much momentum to be where we are now.”
Within time, organizations grow, passing on knowledge and support, much like a village raising a child
Today, in one place, families can find a support system that extends across the community and on the web.