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Brandon MOPS bring warmth to Children’s Inn
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

February 06. 2014 9:08AM
The warmth of a mother’s love was tied up in 10 fleece blankets last month by more than two-dozen members of the Brandon MOPS (Mothers of Pregnancy to Preschoolers) group.

The blankets were made to be given to the Children’s Inn, a non-profit organization in Sioux Falls that provides 24 hour, free services to women, children and men who are victims of family violence, elder abuse, child abuse, neglect or sexual assault.

Janna Carlson, who is the hospitality coordinator for Brandon MOPS, said the group made blankets for the same cause three to four years ago. The Children’s Inn, she said, has a year-round need for them, as well as other needs, which are listed on the agency’s website.

“This is such a nice thing to for them, and at MOPS, we love to serve,” she said.

When Carlson moved to Brandon six years ago from the Madison area, she met some friends who encouraged her to join the group.

“It’s just been amazing for me to be part of it,” she said. “You make relationships, and we do take care of one another.”

Club president Laura “Bo” Dathe says there’s always room for more mothers to join the group. Presently, Brandon MOPS has about 40 members.

“Because we’re busy and don’t have as much opportunity when we have our kids in tow to go out into the community and help,” she said, “this is a place where we can serve and give help to other families, which is really rewarding.”

And that’s the very reason that brought Dathe to the group.

“When you’re a stay at home mom, there’s a sense of isolation,” she said. “So to find other moms that were on the same journey, that’s what I came for.”

MOPS, which is a faith-based group, is not tied to any specific church denomination.
“We have moms from Sioux Falls, Brandon and around the area that have different faith backgrounds,” Carlson said.

Dathe said MOPs has helped her to grow in her spiritual life and has deepened her personal relationship with Christ.

“Now I really want to see that given back,” she said. “It shaped me to who I was as a mom and a wife.”

Brandon MOPS meets twice a month during the school year from 9 to 11 a.m. at Brandon Lutheran Church, which is the organization’s charter ministry church.
Participants are asked to register online (

The group is active in the summer months as well with its book study.

“It’s open to all and it’s like a book club,” Dathe said.
Last summer, Dathe said club members read books on parenting, personal relationships with God and being a wife.

“If it affects family, we will read it,” she said.

A Moppets program – designed for kids while their mothers attend the MOPS meeting – is also available. Additional programs – Military MOPS and Moms Next – are available but are not currently set up in Brandon. The community does have a Teen MOPS program, which meets at Heritage Lutheran Church and is led by Renee Ingle.

It’s possible that we could start a Military MOPS or a MOMs Next in Brandon if there is a need,” Dathe said.
Brandon MOPS upcoming events
• Friday, Feb. 21: Organizational expert, Elizabeth Hagen presentation, 9 to 11 a.m., Brandon Lutheran Church. Open to the public.

• Monday, March 10: Brandon MOPS fundraiser at Brandon Pizza Ranch. Ten percent of proceeds will go toward costs of providing childcare for mothers during MOPS meetings.

Two moms from Hartford – Tiffany Hartman (left) and Liz Boyle – joined the Brandon MOPS group. They say the convenience of getting to Brandon on Interstate 90 from Hartford is why they attend here rather than Sioux Falls. Photo by Jill Meier

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