EUGENE, Ore. — Sitting in a classroom at the Relief Nursery, Fabiola Marroquin tried to coax her son, Santana, into breaking a smile.
“He’s kind of shy right now, but it’s not real,” she said. “He’s just pretending.”
Fabiola describes her youngest child as wild, in the throws of the “Terrible Twos.” It’s tough for any parent to navigate that stage, but she is getting some help from the nursery.
“You feel like family,” Fabiola said. “You feel like they’re doing something more than just being at a job.”
It’s a family she’s had for eight years.
“[With] my first kid Carlos, I got post-partum depression. I was so scared about it,” she recalled. “I called Jesse Hernandez [at the Relief Nursery] and she just, right away, showed up.”
“Many of our families come to us in a crisis or with specific needs, such as homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse,” said Kelli Glazener, an outreach specialist for the nursery.
“Outreach, which is funded by the Duck Race in part, is where we first meet families and assess their needs,” explained Kelly Sutherland, the nursery’s executive director. “Then they move throughout the program based on their need.”
Fabiola said the nursery helped her fit the puzzle pieces of parenting together.
“It’s very important what they’re doing, putting families together, helping them to be better moms, better dads,” she said. “You feel that they care. It’s not just to be a teacher, like, ‘OK, kids open your books and do this and that.’ They care. They really care.”
If you’d like to buy a ticket for the Great Rotary Duck Race and support the Relief Nursery’s outreach program, click here.