Amber Ely, left, Trish Cox and Caitlin Sedlak take their children out for a stroll. The women are part of the Be the Change Playgroup that meets on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. as well as throughout the week.

When Caitlin Sedlak moved to Marathon a few years ago, she did everything she could to connect with other mothers of young children, including striking up conversations with strangers at Publix. Because there’s an inconvenient truth about having a baby: it can be a very isolating experience.

“I would walk up to people with kids and ask ‘Do you live here?’” said the mother of two— Caiden, 2, and Caleb, 4. “I was having a very hard time finding a playgroup.”

So Caitlin created one: Be the Change Marathon Playgroup is a free, educational playgroup for children up to 4 years old, their families, as well as pregnant women. Caitlin said the group gets together to sing songs, read books, learn baby sign language and do developmentally and age appropriate crafts and activities. The group meets on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at Kirk of the Keys Church in Marathon (where Caitlin’s husband, Dustin, is the pastor).

The families that have joined have created spin-off activities, as well: monthly dinners at someone’s home and even a running group. On a recent morning, there were seven women pushing strollers containing 10 children on the access road in front of the Marathon airport.

“I would never have done something like this on my own,” said Amber Ely, settling her two children Sophia, 1, and David, 2, into their stroller. “This motivates me.”

Amber said she was “ready to pull her hair out” for a little adult conversation before she joined the group.

“I would go to the Rotary park and it would be empty,” she said, adding that finding the group has been a “lifesaver.”

Caitlin said the group has grown to include 80 families. And more are welcome. For more information, email [email protected].


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