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Beverly’s Community Baby Showers
Beverly’s Community Baby Showers

Life Changing Is ... Celebrating Together

Beverly’s Community Baby Showers

“Our mission is to celebrate and strengthen families in southwestern Pennsylvania.” 

Ask Megs Yunn the secret to throwing a successful baby shower, and she will enthusiastically respond with a one-word answer: Celebration.

“We want to make it as special and meaningful as possible,” says Megs, the executive director of Beverly's.

Beverly’s is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that hosts birthday celebrations and baby showers for families. However, Megs and her staff of 17 are not just throwing a celebration for one family. Instead, they are organizing free community events for multiple families at once.

“It's cliché, but it really does take a community to raise a child and a family,” says Megs, a mother of four. “And that's what we want these events to be about. We're in communities where the community comes together and rallies behind families.”

On a mild March morning with spring on the horizon, a baby shower in Braddock had the fitting name of "Baby in Bloom." Nearly two dozen new moms attended the celebration at Greater Valley Community Services.

“We love to do fun, different themes,” says Emma Myers, program manager, Beverly's Babies. “'Baby in Bloom' is all about spring, so we love to go with the seasons of the year. So, we wanted it to be flowers, rainbows, all the great colors, just again, to make the families feel welcome.”

Festivities included games, prizes, music, and more. While Megs cited “celebration” as a key to success, Darla Sherlock believes going above and beyond helps set their events apart.

“We really want to make it just like your typical baby shower,” says Darla, director, Beverly's Babies. “We do the balloon arches. We do the centerpieces. We really add the little details to make it special for our families.”

Making families and new parents feel special could easily be considered another essential ingredient to a successful event. Emma recalls one mom who attended a baby shower and was immediately overcome with tears.

“I walked over to her and said, ‘Is everything OK?’ And she said, ‘I'm just so excited. This is my baby shower. I feel so special,’" Emma says.

"Talking to her later, it came out (that) she hadn't left the house since having a baby. This was her first time. She was just so excited to be able to see that this was all for her."

Parents who attended the baby shower received a diaper bag filled with essential supplies, including diapers, bottles, baby wipes, and more. But the biggest takeaway for many in attendance might have been getting to connect with other new parents.

“I think you're always going to need items for your baby, but really what can make the difference is those relationships and the social connections,” Darla says. “We have many moms that meet other moms at the shower or get to talk about feeling isolated, so it's their way to get out.”

The baby shower also allowed attendees to connect with numerous community partners, like UPMC, who offer a variety of resources. UPMC guides new moms to resources like community doulas and provides education about how to manage conditions like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.

“I think we're empowering women to have the resources that they need and to utilize those resources to have positive outcomes,” says Bonita Pannell, women’s outreach director, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. “We provide them with all the resources verbally. We give them literature. We give them numbers to call.

"Again, we have a plethora of outreach events that occur that can help a woman throughout the journey."

The showers are an upbeat environment where mothers can get valuable information to make positive decisions for themselves and their children, Bonita says.

“These birthday showers are not low-energy. They're high-energy," she says. "When a mother might come in here feeling a little depressed or a little sad, they can leave with everything that they need to have a positive outcome."

Beverly’s celebrated more than 700 expecting new families in 2023 and hosts about 35 free community baby showers each year.

Partnerships like the longstanding one it has with UPMC are vital for Beverly's. Those partnerships help the nonprofit continue its mission of celebrating and strengthening families in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“UPMC has been a really great connector to being able to come in and help celebrate and support their patients and families and are investing in our work because we need it,” Megs says. “You have the expertise in (UPMC) Magee-Women's Hospital right here, and they are about babies and celebrating moms. They’re present in all of our showers doing educational sessions.”

At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means celebrating new moms and babies together.

Learn more about how you can help support Beverly’s celebrations in our communities.

Pittsburgh (KDKA): Pittsburgh organization throws baby showers for new parents.

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