Macaroni Kid, a free weekly newsletter listing events for children and families, is coming to Mattituck.
Riverhead mom Dawn Betke is branching out: After her Riverhead Macaroni Kid website launched in December, she's expanding, and will now become the publisher of an additional site, Mattituck Macaroni Kid.
Mattituck Macaroni Kid will also cover Laurel, Cutchogue, and Peconic, all in Southold Town.
"The community embraced Riverhead Macaroni Kid so fully from day one, the response I received from everyone was phenomenal," Betke said. "I never imagined it would grow this fast."
Betke said she started Riverhead Macaroni Kid on Dec. 4, "right in the midst of the holiday season. I wasn't sure how it was going to be; it was such a busy time for everyone. I jumped right in, head first, and I'm so happy with the results."
Only a month and a half later, Betke is taking on new territory with her second site. "Through my work with Riverhead Macaroni Kid I have developed several business relationships within the new site's territory, which made expanding even more easy," she said. At the Mattituck-Laurel Library, Betke said the children's department staff has been "wonderful. I look forward to a long relationship with them."
In addition, Betke looks forward to working with the North Fork Community Theatre.
"My community involvement has always been strong and will remain so," Betke said.
Betke added that she is thankful to the National Macaroni Kid founders for offering her and other "publisher moms" the chance to take on new challenges and careers.
The Mattituck Macaroni Kid facebook page has already been garnering attention and subscribers, Betke said; a first newsletter is planned to be sent out to subscribers later this week.
"I look forward to getting out and about in town and meeting some new faces as well," Betke said.
Last month, Betke, a Riverhead resident and long-time community advocate, embarked on 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, Cristian.
The newsletter features family-friendly events across Riverhead; the site also has a forum for parents.
"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?"
Betke, who lives in Baiting Hollow, said the Riverhead newsletter covers events across Riverhead Town, including Calverton, Baiting Hollow, Riverhead, Aquebogue, and Jamesport, Betke said.
Also featured, Betke said, are events suitable for teens and toddlers. Her own kids, Alexa and Cristian Wilson, are 14 and 3.
Macaroni Kid, Betke said, got its name, because macaroni "is the universal kids' food. Our kids are macaroni kids -- and we're macaroni moms."