APPLETON, Wis. - Parents know it can be stressful trying to balance the demands of work or school, paying the bills, and raising children. In 1997, Dr. G. Manns started B.A.B.E.S. to give young parents, up to age 27, a break to create a better environment for them and their kids.
Inside the building at 1331 East Wisconsin Avenue in Appleton, you'll find little ones busy playing and learning.
"They love coming here. It's nice because they get to play with other kids," said Faith Meiers.
With no family available to watch her sons, ages two and four, Meiers turned to B.A.B.E.S. for help.
"I'm a single mom, and their dad really isn't in the picture."
Meiers receives free child care for up to seven a hours a week. It allowed her to go to college and earn her welding certificate.
"I don't think I would've been able to do it paying for daycare or finding a friend to watch them."
Executive Director Elder Williams says B.A.B.E.S.' goal is to provide counseling services and respite care.
"You have to go and do your laundry. You need to take a nap."
The program gives young, struggling parents an opportunity to ease their anxiety and renew themselves mentally to ultimately prevent child abuse.
"We don't want them hurting their children because they couldn't get support," said Williams.
"Having been a single mom myself for awhile, I think that it's really important to be the best mom that you can be and part of that is taking good care of yourself," said B.A.B.E.S. Volunteer Yvonne Kehl.
In addition to no cost child care, the non-profit organization also offers one-on-one therapy sessions, support groups, parent education, and family nights, as well as homework help.
"I get a wealth of pleasure out of seeing people grow and working with the children," Williams explained.
B.A.B.E.S. has staff members trained in early childhood education who focus on learning activities to get youngsters ready for the classroom.
Kehl said, "They're still at that age where everything is possible and their world is bright, so we want to keep it that way."
Meiers is grateful for the stress relief and the care and compassion shown to her children.
"The staff is great. We've loved all the volunteers here. Everyone has been awesome."
She says B.A.B.E.S. is like a second family that's eager to give support in their time of need.
B.A.B.E.S. is currently serving more than 100 children from Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, and Brown counties. They rely on monetary donations and volunteers to keep the doors open. If you'd like to help or are a parent who needs help, click here for more information.