Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gulf Trace Elementary program brings moms, kids together to bond

Shannon Taylor, 38, and Mallory Taylor, 6, enjoy the iMom program at Gulf Trace Elementary in Holiday. “We’re enjoying a little one-on-one,” Shannon Taylor said. “I have two older children, so we don’t always get this kind of time together.”


Shannon Taylor, 38, and Mallory Taylor, 6, enjoy the iMom program at Gulf Trace Elementary in Holiday. “We’re enjoying a little one-on-one,” Shannon Taylor said. “I have two older children, so we don’t always get this kind of time together.”

HOLIDAY — As a working mother of three who often has trouble getting her youngest out of bed in the morning, Kathy Kupczyk knows how hectic days can get.

So she was prepared for a tepid response when she sent invitations asking Gulf Trace Elementary students to bring their moms, their grandmothers or another important female role model to school for an early breakfast.

But Kupczyk, who works as a media specialist at the school, was pleasantly surprised and a little frantic to see a long line snaking through the cafeteria as kids, their moms, grandmothers, aunts and friends loaded up their breakfast trays for the school's first iMom event last month.

"We're stretching the food," Kupczyk said, with a grin. "I think there's over 200 people here!"

No doubt a little bonding over eggs, bagels and French toast sticks was a great way to kick off the day and the school's new iMom program. Launched nationally in 2007 by the Tampa-based Family First, iMom is a complementary offshoot to the nonprofit organization's All Pro Dad fatherhood program that encourages men to build and maintain strong relationships in their families.

Gulf Trace Elementary already has a successful All Pro Dad program, which is run, in part, by Kupczyk's husband, Phil, who is assistant principal at Crews Lake Middle School in Shady Hills. For a while now fathers and children have been enjoying dances, dinners and their own breakfasts.

A few moms, it seems, were clamoring for equal time.

"We thought this was important," said Kupczyk, who organized the iMom kick-off breakfast with the help of intermediate teacher Mandy Kollross, clinic worker Betty Jo Simon, PLACE manager Lorriann Zoltowski and assistant plant manager Cheri Hill.

The idea was for kids and their moms to have some special bonding over breakfast, Kupczyk said.

With FCAT coming up, there was the subject of test anxiety to address. Adults were asked to give examples of how they deal with stress in their own lives — tips included chocolate, singing, shopping and bubble baths — and to share with their children something that made them feel fearful when they were younger.

Having to get up and talk in front of the class was something that used to make Shannon Taylor, 38, a little weak in the knees. In turn, her daughter Mallory, 6, owned up to being scared of the dark.

"We're enjoying a little one-on-one," Mrs. Taylor said, as the two compared notes. "I have two older (children), so we don't always get this kind of time together."

"I think it's great," said Charolette Vozdecky, 34, who enjoyed lots of hugs with her daughter, Madisen, 7. "Moms are the best."

Fast facts

To learn more

For information on Family First or how to start an iMom or All Pro Dad program at your school, go to

Gulf Trace Elementary program brings moms, kids together to bond 03/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 4:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. GOP senators blink on a big chance to repeal 'Obamacare'


    WASHINGTON — After seven years of emphatic campaign promises, Senate Republicans demonstrated Wednesday they don't have the stomach to repeal "Obamacare" when it really counts, as the Senate voted 55-45 to reject legislation undoing major portions of Barack Obama's law without replacing it.

    U.S. Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) talks with reporters as he walks to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
  2. Rick Baker's debate answer revives painful St. Pete controversy


    ST. PETERSBURG — Former Mayor Bill Foster fired one of his top administrators, Goliath Davis III, six years ago for disobeying an order to attend the funeral of a slain police officer.

    St. Petersburg police officers stand by two caskets before the beginning of the 2011 funeral services for Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  3. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday


    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. Editorial: Trump assaults rule of law by attacking attorney general


    Jeff Sessions was a terrible choice for attorney general, and the policies he has pursued in his brief tenure — cracking down on immigrants, bullying sheriffs, prosecuting low-level offenders to the max — are counterproductive. But the stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Sessions this …

    The stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Attorney General Jess Sessions this week assault the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law.
  5. Iowa group sues United over death of giant rabbit, Simon


    DES MOINES, Iowa — A group of Iowa businessmen filed a lawsuit Wednesday against United Airlines over the death of Simon, a giant rabbit whose lifeless body was discovered in a kennel after a flight from London to Chicago.

    In this May 8, 2017 file photo, attorney Guy Cook speaks a news conference while looking at a photo of Simon, a giant rabbit that died after flying from the United Kingdom to Chicago, in Des Moines, Iowa. A group of Iowa businessmen have filed a lawsuit against United Airlines over the death of Simon. The businessmen filed the lawsuit Wednesday, July 26, 2017, more than three months after airline workers found the continental rabbit named Simon dead. [AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall]