SARASOTA, Fla. - At the 40 Carrots Family Center in Sarasota, moms are learning how to bond with their babies through play.
New mom, Tiffany Beasley, has been coming to 40 Carrots with her 5-month-old son, Anthony.
"I've been in here crying before about my struggles,” she said. “It's just a very welcoming open place and I think it's so important for new moms to have an outlet because sometimes it can be a dark quiet place.”
40 Carrots has been offering this service to the Sarasota and Manatee County communities for more than 25 years. The founders came up with the name when they were about to turn 40.
"They went with the carrot -- the root vegetable, because what they were doing here was forming foundations and growing roots," explained Michelle Kapreilian, the chief executive officer of 40 Carrots.
Donations help cover costs. Most of the programs offered are free of charge.
"I was a mom here 18 years ago,” Kapreilian said. “I had no idea what I was doing as a mom, and having the information and the support and the confidence of knowing that I could make a difference in what happened to my child, how she viewed herself in the world, how she was going to grow up, to be a confident capable human-made all the difference.”
40 Carrots is dedicated to promoting healthy family relationships.
"You might have post-partum, you might have baby blues, there may be extreme disconnection, it might go even as serious as domestic violence." said Laura Josephson, the parenting education director at 40 Carrots.
"We can help families raise their children in safe, both emotionally and physically safe -- homes where they're supported and nurtured and loved and they are given all the resources that go into making a healthy childhood," said Kapreilian.
Their services extend beyond the center.
"We have five vans that go out in the community Monday through Friday," said Josephson.
They offer parenting education, mental health services and early childhood education
"It makes you feel like you're not alone,” Beasley said. “Motherhood at the beginning felt very scary. You felt you just weren't doing it right. So, just knowing that there were other people who felt the same way, but we're all doing it right in our own way and just having those moms has definitely kept me grounded. I know I can do this.”
LINK: For more information about 40 Carrots, head to the center's website.