It was a sight to see at Cypress Grove Rehabilitation Center in Newburgh last week as babies blew bubbles, kids played Candyland and other games, while toddlers molded play dough and read stories to residents.

This was the first session of the Mother to Mother group with St. John The Baptist Ministry taking their children to the residential home for the elderly on Friday, July 26.

The idea was the mastermind of Amelia Blankenberger, a former preschool teacher at Christ the King School and stay-at home mother to three children, Damian, 1, Julia, 3 and Charlotte, 4.

"Once I started having kids, I became a stay-at-home mom and it can be lonely," she said. "And there aren't a lot of places to volunteer with children and this is the perfect place to do that."

Although Kim Greenlee is not technically part of the Mother to Mother group, she still attends St. John The Baptist Catholic Parish and brought her children to Cypress Grove for the playdate.

"I homeschool my kids, so we thought we'd jump at this opportunity," she said. "I am always looking for ways to get them out and involved."

Mom Veronica Lucas had tears in her eyes watching her 22-month-old son Jameson interact with some of the older folks.

"Our family is in Arizona so he doesn't get to spend time with his grand-parents, his great-grandma," she said.

Lucas said she was worried her son might be scared at first playing with the elderly, but was in awe at how comfortable he was.

"It makes me want to cry," she said. "They aren't scared. It shows how innocent their hearts are."

Blankenberger said she also had the same fear as Lucas.

"We told them they would be playing with people who don't get to be around children a lot,"

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from the front page she said. "And I was worried the kids would be intimidated and shy, but they did so great and the residents are so sweet."

Resident Marilyn Schoenbachler said she was overjoyed at getting to spend time with the children.

"When they reach up and grab my hands," she said, "it is heaven."

The Mother to Mother group has approximately 20 members and meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month. The kick-off breakfast is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 8 at 9 a.m. For more information about joining Mother to Mother, email Blankenberger at

Blankenberger said her goal is to make their trip to Cypress Grove a monthly visit.

"I think it's so neat to have two opposite generations interact," she said. "And the younger generation can learn so much from the older one and vice-versa. It truly is a symbiotic relationship."

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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