South Shore CVA BabiesHammond, IN - While many parents must turn to day care for their infants upon returning to work, employees of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority have enjoyed the benefit of bringing newborns to the office for the first few months of the child's life. The South Shore CVA's unique program, the In-Office Child Care Program, has welcomed 14 babies to the executive offices since 1997.

"No other organization offers a program like this," said Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore CVA. Batistatos explained that by providing this benefit to employees, it not only builds loyalty to the organization, but also builds morale and is a defining component of the organization's culture.

"This program isn't just for the parents, it is for the organization. It increases the sense of family and allows all team members to be part of the experience," Batistatos said.

After a recent assessment of the newest additions to the program, parents can also feel confident that their child will not be lacking in skill development.

Tracy Lakomek, a licensed kindergarten through fifth grade teacher of the Hanover school corporation, provided a quick assessment of the Denver II Developmental Screening Test to Peyton Becerra, Chief Marketing Officer Heather Becerra's daughter, and Oliver Gladstone, VP & Chief Communications Officer Nicki Mackowski-Gladstone's son.

"I'm a firm believer of parents being the first teachers," said Lakomek. While the child is in office, parents are able to talk and work with children as they grow and develop.

Peyton, 13 months, showed signs of being well above her age in gross motor skills.

Spero, Peyton and Oliver

"Having Peyton in the office with me has had many benefits for her development," said Becerra. "I believe this experience has helped with her social skills. Not only is she around such a diverse group of people, she is constantly meeting new people. Additionally, Peyton is very inquisitive. She wants to explore and learn as much as she can."

Oliver, who recently turned 9 months, showed signs of being 6 months ahead of his age.

"This program is invaluable to me," said Mackowski-Gladstone. "I have been able to spend time with Oliver while also working with him on developmental skills. As he is learning, I am able to provide positive feedback and share in his excitement."

According to Lakomek, parents are showing a trend of looking for jobs that work around family and home life.

"Everyone benefits from this style of program," said Lakomek. "If you get the kids ahead of the game at a young age, it will ultimately help society." In addition to helping the children, the program allows the South Shore CVA to retain the best employees possible.

"As an organization, we look to hire the best people. People make the business, and if you want the best people you need to invest in them," Batistatos said. "That means making sure you offer certain incentives, one of ours is family-friendly policies."