Jessica Morrow-Glorieux first began working on the new web-based platform for new parents in the neighborhood, and throughout the city, last year with her late husband.
“I thought it was important to create security, that’s why we didn’t do a Yahoo or Google group,” Morrow-Glorieux said.”It’s our own platform so you don’t have weird advertisements and people aren’t selling stuff. It’s just you asking stuff and getting answers from parents that were already there.”
In addition to numerous discussion groups and blog postings, the newly launched site also includes guides for preschool, summer camps, birthday parties and holiday gifts.
For an annual membership fee of $60, users on the Willy Point Kids site can also take advantage of the community forums, speak with experts and professionals in the parenting field, as well as get discounts from local businesses throughout the year.
“We charge because it costs money to run the site and to ensure that it is a safe group,” she said. “It’s about creating a safe genuine environment for parents that I didn’t think existed in the area.”
Since creating the site, which now has nearly 700 members, Morrow-Glorieux and her children have left the borough, however she is still close with the project and has been working with her friend Sandhya Jain-Patel since last August to expand the site.
“My dream is to have it span all of New York City and have different neighborhoods with different membership areas on there,” Jain Patel said. “Especially when you have a family with kids who go to a school in different areas, you never let go where you were. That all becomes part of your journey and the history and it’s important to maintain ties with the community.”
Former teacher Leah Wiseman Fink worked with the Department of Education for nearly 11 years, has run numerous internship programs and began working with her new school-based advice company called School Select NYC.
As one of the specialists that can be found on Willy Point Kids, Wiseman Fink said community discussion groups can be integral for a new parent in the neighborhood.
“People are always talking to each other about getting information, but I think this is a great way to provide another resource,” she said.
She said parents who are interested in learning about the school system can find a wide range of useful tools on the site.
“I think sometimes parenting in general and the school system seems way more complicated than it actually is,” she said. “We are demystifying that whole process with experts and a forum for parents to just talk to each other.”