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Some parents hiring "concierge moms" to help their kids at college

Concierge mom services provide extra help for college students
Concierge mom services provide extra help for college students 02:44

NEWTON - "Concierge moms" are starting to pop up around the country and at least one mother in Massachusetts is using it to help her kids at college.

What does a concierge mom do?

The service is aimed at students who are living far from home and parents who want someone on the ground locally to assist when needed. Some students welcome it, while some psychologists warn it may be a hindrance to development.

The service, called Mindy Knows, is the brainchild of St. Louis native Mindy Horwitz. She noticed a need for parent assistance for students who live far away. Her service is currently in four colleges, including Hartford University. It will expand to four more next year. They help more than 100 students in St. Louis alone. Two of her clients are Jacob and Lilly Creem, the children of Kim Creem, in Newton.

Concierge moms are "100% for the parents"

"There is no hard stop to parenting just because your kids are in another state," Kim Creem told WBZ-TV. "Both my kids went to school fairly independent. They both went to an overnight camp for many, many summers and were very independent on their own, but there are many things that happen that you need assistance."

Last year, her son Jacob had an infected molar, and he needed a dentist quickly. Mindy Knows was able to find them a reputable dentist in short order.

"If Lilly calls and says, 'I need a doctor,' they could go through the yellow pages, go through Google, but if I can call a mom who's on the ground, who can give me a referral, I would take that any day of the week," Creem said.

"You can crowdsource for answers, you can hunt around on the web for answers, or you can call us to help make the distance between wherever you are and where your student is a little bit closer," said Horwitz, "The service is 100% for the parents."

The services stretch beyond medical attention, such as if a child is stuck at school for a holiday or if they need assistance getting their belongings sent home or put into storage after a semester. The list of needs is ongoing and can be acquired for a rate of $49 per month or $450 for the entire school year.

The downside of concierge moms

The company has some social workers and psychologists concerned that this may be hindering the growth of college students. Jeff Ziezel is a social worker in Massachusetts. He said the service may be beneficial for a child who is struggling to adjust or suffering from mental health issues. However, he thinks the service could hold back some children.

"I believe the downside is that it fosters sometimes the inability for young people to become autonomous. Adversity can be a gift. It makes us work a little harder," Ziezel told WBZ. "As a mental health provider, I also know there are some children who have trouble adjusting from the comforts of home, and those are the ones who may suffer. You have to know your kid. Some kids benefit from the extra nurturing, but some kids don't want it"

Some college students in Boston are open to the idea.

"To help get my footing, yes, but then older on, no, because then I would be dependent on people," said Grace Wellington, a Boston University student from New Zealand.

"Having another mom in Boston may be helpful for me, too, especially starting out as a freshman. I could have used that a long time ago," said Ari Burns a Boston University student from Florida. 

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