Mom opens free play space for kids under 3 in Woodlawn

Chicago Proud
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Wrigleyville mom is opening a new space in Woodlawn for parents and caregivers to give their kids a safe place to play.

Work is almost complete to create a new space called Hello Baby, a drop-in play space for a children 3 and under.

Debbie Frisch is the founder. She said opening Hello Baby gives her a chance to continue her passion for helping kids.

"I have worked with under resourced families and children for close to 20 years. I've been a foster mother and had 56 children in care and through that work I've seen some of our social service gaps in our system," she said.

When her father passed just few years ago, she decided use her share of his estate as seed money for the new play space and make it free to everyone that stops in.

"I know that birth to 3 years old is the biggest time of brain growth and it's also the biggest social service gap so we wanted to offer something to fill that void," she explained.

Frisch said she realizes that neighborhoods on the South and West sides don't have the same resources and as her neighborhood and saw Woodlawn as good starting point.

"We want to become part of the neighborhood and a central part of the community and there is a lot of foot track by here so it will be easy and accessible," she said.

In addition, architects made sure they kept the community in mind in the design.

"We wanted to build on the strengths of the Woodlawn community. Washington Park is really close and we wanted to elude to that and we brought in a lot of the animals you'd see in the park," said Shannon Gedey, an architect at Perkins + Will.

A makeshift park, climbing structure and activity tables will fill the room with one simple goal in mind.

"To give children happy moments, to give caregivers happy moments with their children and to become a part of the community and a resource for the community," she said.

You accompany your child for free for 2 hours at time then they rotate out to allow new families time to play. Hello Baby opens its doors on Monday.

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