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Iowa City Group Supports Latina Moms

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Grupo Manantial is an organization in Iowa City that is celebrating a special group of moms this Mother's Day. It's a group that supports Latina mothers who have children with disabilities.

The group has about 35 members and they meet twice a month at the Iowa City Childrens Center for Therapy. On Friday, they came together for a special treat. Area beauty professionals donated their time to pamper the moms. That included free manicures and hairstyling.

Rigoberto Mojica is a cosmetologist, but he offered his time to help the moms get their hair done. 

I want them to feel important. Even though today is not Mothers Day, every single day should be Mothers Day, Mojica said.

One woman when asked said the event made her feel beautiful.  Another, Martha Fountain, who has been with the group for five years, said events like Fridays make her feel, spoiled.

The goal is to have a place of comfort, Group leader, Dayrin Lovan, said. She created the group because she knows what it is like to care for a child with special needs. Her 12-year-old son is Autistic.

Thats a joy to have him teach me so much compassion, and so much love and care for other children, Dayrin said.

Fountains son, Jonathan, has cerebral palsy. While she met with Grupo Manantial, he was evaluated for a new round of therapy at the Childrens Center for Therapy. Fountain said she has come a long way in her journey with Jonathan.

Before I could not talk about my situation without crying.  Now, I can tell everybody about my life, my son, problems, and its not too hard no more, she said.

Dayrin helps all of the moms, many who are single parents, and some who do not speak English, navigate caring for a child with disabilities.

Its already confusing enough to know what is a waiver, what is speech therapy or the other therapy or if they qualify for this resource. So I'm here to help parents navigate. So Im a parent training navigator now, Dayrin said.

The group has become an asset to the Center. Dayrin has helped therapists there communicate with Spanish speaking clients.

Theyve really encompassed the entire family and helped to empower them to feel like they can have a voice in their childs therapy, Rachel Kongshaug, the rehabilitation director with the Childrens Center for Therapy said.

Through Grupo Manantial, the women also get the opportunity to find family. Many of them are far away from close relatives, and find community in the group. In the meetings, Dayrin said there is often music and food, staples of Hispanic culture. Fridays beauty treatments were very special for many of the moms who cannot afford such luxuries for themselves.

So we are just always trying to bring a little bit of joy always for these parents! Dayrin said.

Fountain said it is a group that  has worked for her.

It helps a lot to come, when you leave, you leave happy, she said.


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