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Hard-working moms get the works

A group of 20 mothers of children with developmental disabilities enjoyed a one-day getaway Wednesday from the daily challenges of providing for a child with special needs, receiving a day of pampering and relaxation at “Celebrating Moms” day.

Spearheaded and hosted by the Parent to Parent Support Program of The Arc of Kitsap and Jefferson counties — a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities — the moms day event sought to recognize each mother for overcoming the barriers associated with developmental disabilities.

“They were so moved by having a special day for them,” Kitsap County Parent to Parent Coordinator, Sherry Charlot said of the mothers in attendance. “Even for one day, to take that burden off.”

Partnering with the host West Sound Technical Skills Center and Mary Kay Cosmetics, each mother enjoyed hair styling, manicures, pedicures, makeup-makeovers and massages.

“I’ve never had anything like this before,” explained Cynthia Urbanski, a single mother of four children, two of whom are developmentally disabled.

Julie Jennings, senior sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics, provided the beauty products to make it all happen, while Anna Carney’s West Sound Technical Skills cosmetology class offered hands and skill to make the moms over.

“We do all sorts of work in the community,” Carney said of her class’ involvement in Kitsap County.

Working to combine cosmetology with proactive work, Carney’s class worked this year’s Miss Poulsbo/Miss Kitsap Scholarship Pageant as well as a slew of other events.

“It’s fun because they get class credit, too,” she said.

On this day, however, the young cosmetologists directed their efforts toward making the day memorable for each and every mom.

“With the kind of lives we have, to be able to just get away for a day, it’s just really nice,” mother Nita Wilson said. “It’s very nice.”

Charlot, who also is a mother of a developmentally disabled child, coordinated the event as part of Parent to Parent’s effort to recognize mothers who go above and beyond to care for special needs children.

“We’ve actually been planning this for more than a year,” she said. “The school is so excited about it, the kids love it and the parents are thrilled.”

The Arc of Kitsap and Jefferson counties also offers fathering network groups, an autism group and “sibshops,” designed to help siblings cope with having a loved one with special needs.

“I love the work I do and the families I work with,” Charlot said.

Parent to Parent is part of a statewide program serving 40 counties and aims to connect parents, coordinate with local services, provide outreach and mentoring.

For more information, call (800) 821-5927 or visit its Web site at

www.arcwa.org/p2p.

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