Every month we feature stories and resources from our partners at MCCOY (Marion County Commission on Youth.) MCCOY is one of those partners that you team up with because you want to reach the same group of people with a similar message — there’s enough out there for you — enough information, enough resources, enough help, enough. This month, Katy Mann, the founder of Indy with Kids, jumped online for a 45 minute live chat where the community was invited to ask anything. Ask about her work with Indy with Kids, about being a young entrepreneur, about raising kids in Indianapolis, ask whatever.

You can read the transcript below. And, you can still give a tax deductible donation to help MCCOY continue their work.

Question asked by Anonymous

Thanks for helping all the moms out there! I know you have pretty young kids…any advice for moms who have several kids under the age of ten?

Answered  2:02 PM

STAY STRONG! Don’t worry about what it LOOKS like everyone else is doing on social media or anywhere else. You know what your kids need and what is best for your family. And take care of you! I need to be reminded of that sometimes too.

Question asked by Anonymous

What prompted you to start Indy With Kids?

Answered  2:07 PM

I had a baby and started looking for things to do and there really was nothing like Indy with Kids. There was one print resource that had a calendar listing in the back but I wanted more than just the ideas that everyone knows about. I really wanted to know what I could do on any given day and I wanted to find it all in one place. So, I started writing about what our family was doing with our baby and people started reading and asking questions!

Question asked by Anonymous

Are their topics or projects you want to cover with Indy With Kids, but haven’t been able to yet?

Answered  2:10 PM

This is a hard one. We have so, so, so many things in the works and so many other ideas that just haven’t fully bloomed yet. I’d love to see a better reflection of the diversity of families in our community. Indy with Kids has become so much more than just a story about our family, it’s a story about ALL families in the Indy area. I’d like to have more outreach to new mothers and fathers, I’d like to have more dads contribute family fun from their perspective, I’d like to seek out more resources and groups for families with special needs children. Really, it’s so important that Indy with Kids is a reflection of ALL families.

Question asked by Patricia Hall

What’s a good way to get kids to learn to “give” on a regular basis, starting at a young age?

Answered  2:12 PM

We struggle with this too and the best answer I can come up with is to be that example of giving to your children. Give time, give money, give resources, give whatever you have as a family. I think we all want to be “quiet” about our giving but DON’T! Be really showy about it with your kids, but do it with humility. And when you figure that balance out, teach me!

Question asked by J

As a fellow entrepreneur and small business owner, I wonder – how do you stay motivated to keep the business running? It takes so much energy!

Answered  2:16 PM

You are so right. I left my “real” job 3 years ago, hoping to spend more time with my kids. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what has happened, but it’s different. I think that bringing people into your corner is key, finding people that you can really, truly trust with your hopes, your dreams, your struggles, your ugly moments, that’s super important. It’s those people that will keep you on track when you lose steam. And it’s all about the big picture — today may be hard (it is), but next year might be different.

Question asked by Stephanie

How do you manage keeping up with Indy with Kids and your family? You have so many littles that must take up a lot of your time and attention!

Answered  2:17 PM

I have an excellent support group of family and friends. When Indy with Kids made that turn from “hobby” to “career,” I really had to re-organize how I thought of things. But again, it’s the people in my life, for sure.

Question asked by anonymous

what sort of family events do we need more of?

Answered  2:20 PM

We need more neighborhood specific events. And we need people to attend them. When I was a kid (in Orange County, California) we had a block party one year and it was glorious. It’s one of my most favorite memories of being a kid in my neighborhood. We also had festivals in our small city and chili cook-offs and all kinds of COMMUNITY building events. There were never bounce houses or anything “kid friendly” about them, but I LOVED them. But we need people willing to support those things — you’ll get to know your neighbors, they’ll learn to be tolerant of your children and you’ll have a better understanding of their lives.

Question asked by Anonymous

I know you get out in the community all the time…what’s your go-to place to take your family for a fun day?

Answered  2:22 PM

You cannot go wrong with a local park. We love so many of the parks and we spend a lot of time exploring them. There are nature parks, parks with playgrounds, parks with features that are perfect for the summer. And so many of them are in natural settings that are different with every season. Try a new park.

Question asked by Anonymous

What has been the coolest experience for you with your job?

Answered  2:25 PM

I’ve had so many amazing opportunities that it’s hard to think of just one. This year I was on the field for part of a Colts game with Indiana Soybean, then I sat in the press box! Last week, we were in Chicago at the Toy and Game Fair. I’d say it’s the people though, I’ve meet some of the coolest people in the world — people doing things that really matter, people raising kids just like us, people trying to create opportunities for their community. And spending time with my kids, seeing them experience the joy of being a kid in one of the greatest cities to raise a family.

Question asked by Anonymous

Do you work with MCCOY often?

Answered  2:27 PM

We teamed up with MCCOY to share an important message once a month. Each month we have a topic that affects Indy area families or children and the MCCOY team puts together the information for that topic and we share it with our readers. It’s a great partnership because they have access to the information and experts to cover great topics that my team doesn’t have the expertise to cover.

Question asked by Cherie

What are some smart strategies for talking to kids about giving?

Answered  2:29 PM

I had a similar question earlier, but it really starts at home. I think talking might come at a later age than my kids, but really showing them. Being that example but kind of being really “SHOW-Y” about it so that they see it, but also with humility. And as I said before, if you find that perfect balance of showing and being humble, please share it with me!

Question asked by Cherie

Someone who’s never been to Indianapolis before drops from the sky. Where do you take them first and why?

Answered  2:30 PM

I take them to the top of the City County Building on the observation deck (free) and I show them the city from up high. I show the awesome wagon wheel layout, the cultural institutions and the parks. Then we ride the elevator back down and visit those spaces.

Question asked by Cherie

Have you finished your Christmas shopping? What’s the best gift to give elementary aged kids this year?

Answered  2:32 PM

I’m almost done. I still need to buy gifts for the adults in my life. Just last night, I waited in a parking lot to get a Fingerling from the Amazon Treasure Truck. I’ve been told that this is THE gift for this year but my kids are really interested in new items for their treehouse. We’re looking at a zipline, lighting and a fun swing.

Question asked by Carolynn

I’d love to go on a quick one-day road trip with my little family. Any suggestions?

Answered  2:34 PM

Go to the Meltdown Winter Ice Festival in Richmond! Honestly, Richmond is fun for kids any time of the year, but we really enjoyed the festival last year!

Question asked by Anonymous

Are there any big projects coming up for Indy With Kids that I should be aware of?

Answered  2:35 PM

We’re continuing to improve our app and make the website even more intuitive and user friendly. There are even rumors within our team about some kind of printed venture!

Question asked by D

I know so many people who follow Indy With Kids. Did you think it would grow to be so popular?

Answered  2:37 PM

In my wildest dreams! My friend Bridgett calls me an “Overnight success, 7 years later.” I worked really hard to fill a gap in the Indianapolis parenting scene and with the help of my amazing team, we will continue to do so. Thank you so much for being a part of that journey!

Question asked by Anonymous

What program and event in Indy do your kids request over and over again?

Answered  2:39 PM

Anything with fairies. And now, anything with trains. We love the fairy programs with Nickel Plate Arts in Fishers, we love the fairy program at Ministrista. Riding the Thomas Train in Connersville is HUGE for all of my kids, seeing Mr. Muffins Trains (now in Atlanta, Indiana), all of the holiday trains at the local museums, the train at Lark’s Ranch, the train at Sullivan’s Hardware. Trains and Fairies and we’re happy.

Question asked by Anonymous

Is your team just you alone, or do you hire people to help with your work?

Answered  2:41 PM

For 3 years it was just me. When my 3rd child died suddenly, a local blogger approached me and said that she and other local bloggers were my “co-workers” and they would fill in for me while I mourned. She created a business model that just worked and brought new voices to Indy with Kids. I’ve replicated that model ever since. We have several paid contributors, an editor, a social media manager and a sales manager. They’re all various levels of part time and contract work but I couldn’t do it by myself anymore.

Question asked by Anonymous

Have you found that there are more activities and programs for kids on one side of Indy over another side?

Answered  2:42 PM

I have found that the north side and the south side are at battle for that title, but I really see so much growth on the west side. The east side is picking up, but that’s where I hope to see more growth in the next few years.

Question asked by Anonymous

What’s the best part of your job?

Answered  2:43 PM

The people. The people in my home, the people in my community, the people online, the people on my team. I really love meeting people, hearing about what they love to do and about their families.

Question asked by JF

Any special places you recommend for couples for date night?

Answered  2:44 PM

What’s a date night? I love trying out new restaurants and seeing theatre productions and I’m not specific about where we go. I’m also open to new ideas and suggestions!

Question asked by Jacie

Thanks for chatting with us today. Is there anything you’d like to add before the end of your chat?

Answered  2:45 PM

If anyone ever has any questions, I’m here! Pop me an email katy@indywithkids.com Also, follow us on social media instagram.com/indywithkids facebook.com/indywithkids Thank you so much for having me today! Let’s raise some money for MCCOY!