Riverhead resident Dawn Betke is all about community -- and kids.
That's why her new professional journey, as the editor and publisher of Riverhead Macaroni Kid, a free weekly newsletter listing events for families in the Riverhead area, is a perfect fit.
"This is right up my alley," she said.
And the timing was right: With her daughter Alexa, enrolled in school after being home-schooled for five years, Betke has the time to forge a new professional path while still being home with her three-year-old, Christian.
The newsletter will feature family-friendly events across Riverhead; the site also has a forum for parents.
Only days after her launch last Wednesday, Macaroni Kid announced a "huge giveaway" for opening night tickets to the new Disney on Ice show, "Treasure Trove," Betke said, an event she said will please families across the board.
The new journey, she said, "is exciting."
"As a mom, I basically got involved because I recognized a need to get this information into the hands of families," she said. "There are many working moms, and families with two parents working. You only have a day or two to spend with your family -- why should you spend that time searching for things to do?"
The newsletter will cover family events, as well as public events put on by local schools.
Betke, who lives in Baiting Hollow, said so far, the Macaroni Kid Riverhead Facebook page has really sparked interest.
"I don't think there's anything on Facebook specifically targeting our area for mothers. We don't have an actual Riverhead parents' group."
The newsletter will cover events across Riverhead Town, including Calverton, Baiting Hollow, Riverhead, Aquebogue, and Jamesport, Betke said.
When asked how she finds all the listings on her site, Betke said it's a breeze. For years, she's had emails coming in about various activities around town.
"It hasn't been hard," she said. "And we usually go to these events ourselves. I know what's going on. I'm taking all this information and compiling it so you don't have to open 20 emails."
Also featured, Betke said, will be events suitable for teens and toddlers. Her own kids, Alexa and Cristian Wilson, are 14 and 3.
Although the newsletter is less than a week old, Betke said already, hundreds of subscribers have signed on.
Macaroni Kid, Betke said, got its name, because macaroni "is the universal kids' food. Our kids are macaroni kids -- and we're macaroni moms."
To sign up for the weekly Riverhead Macaroni Kid newsletter for free, click here.