Oh Baby: Program gives parents support from pregnancy through 4 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oh Baby: Program gives parents support from pregnancy through age 4

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The excitement of having a baby can quickly be overshadowed by the stress of trying to meet the baby's daily demands.

But a free, nationally-accredited program called HOPES from Lutheran Services in Iowa seeks to help families and prevent child abuse before birth all the way through age four.

To contact HOPES , or make a donation, click here for Lutheran Services in Iowa.

Little Alma and her mother Mary Kakayo meet regularly with a woman who's become like family, Nichole Cuvelier from the HOPES program of Lutheran Services in Iowa.

HOPES is a free program for all families, and stands for Healthy Opportunities for Parents to Experience Success.

"This program is so wonderful," Kakayo said. "There were days I was down and depressed and she looked at me as a family member, as a sister, was so encouraging."

Four years ago, Kakayo, a teacher from Uganda, came to the U.S. and The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

As a single mother, she is pursuing a degree in Human Resources.

"Mary's always loved her daughter very much. I could tell it was stressful trying to find balance with everything but she's really doing a good job," Cuvelier said.

Kakayo heard of the HOPES program in the hospital after giving birth in 2007. She says she wishes every parent could have the support of these in-home visits.

"We are support," Cuvelier said. "Whether that's talking, day-to-day, issues with children or family or developmental stages."

"Right now my kid knows more vocabulary, alphabet, count more than any other kid her age. I'm so proud of her," Kakayo said.

Whether it was a listening ear, or something material like diapers or blankets, Kakayo said HOPES made her family's success possible.

The HOPES program seeks to reach families through word of mouth as well as through screenings at the hospital.

It helps people of all economic backgrounds, unmarried or married.

It is funded by grants and donations.

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