Mothers for Mothers: A Project Created in the Landmark Self-Expression and Leadership Program

Group offering help to mothers

Volunteers assist by tackling tasks

From: Sun Sentinal South Florida
By Laura Burdick-Sherman

Mothers need as much help they can get as far as Joelle Smith is concerned.

And that’s her vision for a newly created organization, Mothers For Mothers.

“Every mother needs assistance with watching their kids; either they can’t afford it or don’t know who to ask,” said Smith, of Sunrise. She and her husband, Daryl, have three children younger than 6.

She said she came up with the idea while on maternity leave from her position as drama teacher at Ramblewood Middle School in Coral Springs.

With time on her hands and motivation to do something meaningful, Smith participated in a self expression and leadership class at the Landmark Forum in Dania Beach.

“The course teaches how to live your possibilities out of life,” she said. “We had to create a community project to help us learn how to live a better life, and I came up with an organization.”

Using her life as inspiration, Smith’s idea for the group is to help mothers with the numerous tasks of motherhood. Everything from dealing with postnatal depression, to motivating their kids to clean up after themselves.

“I said I want to support and assist other mothers, and just by talking with people, I realized if we all take a stand and do one thing for someone else, it can happen,” she said.

After several more leadership classes and with the help from Pediatric Associates in Sunrise and neighbors and mothers at the Little Gym in Plantation, Smith has garnered a team of 50 volunteer helpers.

The group has already helped Marie Gonzalez, 60, of Lauderhill, who is now taking care of four grandchildren between 1 and 6 years old.

“It’s a big help. I had a lot of problems with school for the oldest because I was always late to take him to school. I’m slow and not well myself, by the time I get the four ready, I’m late. Now, someone takes him to school, and the teacher is happy. They offered me to do laundry. They sent me lunch, and give me stuff for the kids,” she said.

Another recipient is a single mother with two young children — one of whom requires monthly surgeries. A volunteer helps with meals and baby sitters, Smith said.

“Our biggest hurdle is getting us out there as a source for mothers because they’re very resistant even though they need it. Mothers want to do it all,” Smith said.

Smith has a supply of baby formula, diapers, laundry detergent, microwaves, and baby furniture, cribs, dressers and a stream of eager volunteers. She’s looking for mothers who need help.

For more information about Mothers For Mothers, call 954-465-5413.

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