Farrell Family Center gives gift to moms

May 9—SHARON — The cupcakes were decorated, and it was time for lunch.

Elonda Hosey headed up to the buffet line, pausing for the barest moment next to Farrell Family Center Director Patti Parenti.

"This made my day today," she said.

The Family Center, which serves parents with children 5 and younger in Farrell Area School District, kicked off Mother's Day week with a special event at Haitian Sensation in Sharon.

Seven moms with young attention-hungry children got the opportunity to relax with a cupcake decorating session under the instruction of baker Kristine Altenor and a lunch provided by the restaurant.

Elonda Hosey — who was at the event with her daughter, NyTara, and grandson Ne'Vyn, 1 — said the project and dinner was a welcome respite from the challenges of life.

"The energy is everything. It's just a great event," Elonda said. "If you had something on your mind, it just put you in a perfect space."

Parenti said the Family Center, which serves between 60 and 100 families — people are leaving and entering the program constantly — sends educators to homes to check that the children it serves are hitting their developmental and intellectual benchmarks.

The center also provides support, including infant supplies and counseling for parents.

"We do a lot of big group activities, field trips and other things," Parenti said. "But this is the first time we did something special with moms.

"We're super happy with it. It went really well."

The moms echoed that sentiment.

NyTara Hosey said, in between spooning bites of rice for Ne'Vyn, called it a, "wonderful experience, mingling with the other moms."

Jennifer McMurdy of Farrell was at the event with her 3-year-old nephew Damarian Richardson. But she's familiar with the Family Center and its programs. She's been involved with the organization since her oldest child was born — 26 years ago.

"I recommend it to everybody," McMurdy said. "It helps mothers learn how to do things with their children ... It helps kids get to where they need to be in life."

It also helps parents get to where they need to be. Nekisha Johnson, the Family Center's lead educator, said Demetria Ellis, a 20-year-old mother of three, is working diligently to give her children the best future possible.

Ellis was at the cupcake decorating and lunch session with her 3-month old daughter, Erie. She also has 16-month-old twins, Eris and Erin. Ellis plans to start college in the fall at Kent State Trumbull campus, where she will study biology.

"She's a go-getter," Johnson said of Ellis. "She doesn't let anything get her down."