Some families will celebrate Motherâ€™s Day at home, perhaps playing around on the lawn and making a nice meal for their beloved matriarch. Some might travel to visit grandmothers. Others might even celebrate momsâ€™ special day with a gorgeous afternoon at the ballpark.
Some mothers and new or expanding families, however, will be spending their Motherâ€™s Day this year in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Amy Scott was lucky enough that neither of her two boys required time in the NICU, but she remembers her time in the hospital. In fact, as she walked around the Doerr Family NICU at Columbia St. Maryâ€™s Thursday afternoon, gathering 100 blue tote bags â€“ filled with items of comfort and necessity, like lotions, journals and even quarters for the hospital vending machine â€“ to hand out to mothers in the unit, she even recognized one of the nurses at work.
"She probably doesnâ€™t remember me," Scott noted, "but I remember her."
It can be an intense, lonely time for mothers in the NICU. Thatâ€™s a part of the reason why Scott and her friend Erin Nevicosi â€“ a mother of two boys herself with a girl currently on the way â€“ created the Grateful Hearts Giving Network. The fledgling charity organization was founded to give people a chance to give back to those in times of need â€“ in this case, those in the NICU â€“ by donating and assembling useful items into gift bags.
"We both have healthy children â€“ a lot of us have healthy children â€“ but it could be any of us having a baby in the NICU," Nevicosi said. "When youâ€™re traveling back and forth, and youâ€™re spending hours upon hours in here, itâ€™s tough. So we put together items to let these families know that other moms are empathizing with them."
The idea for the group came to Scott back around Christmas time in 2012 thanks to a simple Facebook post from Nevicosi, asking what friends and family were doing to give back to others during the holiday season.
"People give to charities around the holidays, but I was just curious, like, should I do more than just write a check," Nevicosi said. "Social media really brought us together. We had known each other for years through social media, and then I posted that thing about charity and (Amy) just took it and ran."
"It was the Facebook post that she wrote, asking what weâ€™re all doing, and I just started thinking about it," Scott said. "I was just giving checks, to St. Jude or the food bank or whatever. But I thought if I could get a bunch of friends together, we could make an even bigger impact than just writing a $100 check. I couldnâ€™t have done this alone, but with everybody together, we could really do something awesome."
"Something awesome" wound up being the Grateful Hearts Giving Network, created by Scott and Nevicosi. For their first event, they gathered 20 friends and family who helped assemble about 20 bags totaling nearly $2,000 for the NICU mothers. The following year's party was even more successful.
This past weekendâ€™s delivery, however, was their greatest success in their young nonprofitâ€™s existence so far. Earlier in the month, Nevicosi and Scott held a kick-off event party which gathered up more than 50 donors and 100 bags of donated items, which they then delivered to the Columbia St. Maryâ€™s NICU Thursday afternoon. The groupâ€™s goals, though, are still growing.
"We are so overwhelmed by the donations that weâ€™ve gotten and the response that we hope to make it even bigger in the future: by geographical area and scope," Scott said. "We just hope that a lot of people will want to get involved."
While the Grateful Hearts Giving Networkâ€™s current focus is on supporting NICU families, Scott and Nevicosi hope to expand it to similar units across the state, as well as other people in need. The lynchpin of their plan is their upcoming website, which will serve as a communal place for others to take the Grateful Hearts brand and put it into further action.
"The ultimate goal is for people to take this idea, our brand, and use it for their own parties and purposes, benefiting their own hospitals," Nevicosi said.
"Weâ€™d love to have our website eventually be just filled with other people having these parties with our bags, connecting with each other, sharing their gratitude and giving it back," Scott added.
Nevicosi predicted that the site will be up in a couple of months, fall by the latest. For the time being, however, the nonprofit uses its Facebook page to set up future bag collection parties and keep those interested involved.
Itâ€™s a growing organization, but for now, Scott and Nevicosi are happy right now bringing a little extra Motherâ€™s Day cheer to moms in need.Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published Oct. 8, 2015
It's now the final day of the Milwaukee Film Festival. But don't cry because it's over; smile because there are still movies to see ... namely these three.
Published Oct. 7, 2015
It's the penultimate day of the Milwaukee Film Festival. You could make the day one of melancholy and tears and Sarah McLachlan. But instead of firing Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" on repeat, you should remember that, hey, there's still a whole pack of really great movies to check out. These three movies in particular.
Published Oct. 6, 2015
What makes Brian Selznick, the man behind gorgeously crafted ticking literary contraptions like "The Invention of Huge Cabret" and the newly released "The Marvels," tick himself? OnMilwaukee chatted with the author before his Milwaukee appearance on Monday, Oct. 12 at Alverno's Pitman Theatre to find out.
Published Oct. 6, 2015
The end of the Milwaukee Film Festival is nigh, but don't be scared of that. Instead, be scared of an insane Jack Nicholson wandering around a snowed-in hotel with an axe and a honestly lukewarm at best Ed McMahon impression. That's right: "The Shining" is tonight, as well as two other films more than worthy of helping to wrap up the festival.
Published Oct. 5, 2015
After two weeks of binging on movies, what better way to bring the Milwaukee Film Festival to a close than a movie about a movie recreating another movie? That's at least the hope with the festival's closing night pick, "Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made." Considering the film took 30 years to finish, that subtitle isn't exaggerating either.
Published Oct. 5, 2015
We're now in the final stretch of the movie marathon that is the Milwaukee Film Festival, and while you may be getting exhausted, the lineup certainly isn't yet. There are still plenty of great movies to check out - and here are three in particular for today!
Published Oct. 4, 2015
Time to cook up some meatballs, saffransbullar and pepparkakor because on Day 11 of the Milwaukee Film Festival, we're headed to Sweden. Here are your three picks for the day, nicely assembled like a lovely Ikea shelving unit.
Published Oct. 3, 2015
William "Dub" Lawrence knows more about the current tensions between cops and citizens than most people - and from both sides of the debate. As former Utah sheriff, he helped create the state's first SWAT team in 1975, serving over 16,000 warrants without issue. 30 years later, that very team he helped bring to life would be responsible for his son-in-law's death. His story and ensuing investigation takes the spotlight in the doc "Peace Officer."
Published Oct. 3, 2015
I hope you got some sleep yesterday, because the two of the three picks for Day 10 of the Milwaukee Film Festival are going to keep you up late - and, in the case of one selection, on your feet.
Published Oct. 2, 2015
It can be tough to keep a full head of steam going all the way through the entire film festival, but here are three - or at least two - inspiring picks for Day 9.