When moms thrive, children thrive.

Service Above Self

How a father’s legacy led volunteer mentor Susan to Mom2Mom

“My dad was a Rotarian [a member of Rotary International, a non-profit service organization]. ‘Service Above Self’ [Rotary motto] is how I was brought up,” Mom2Mom volunteer mentor Susan* explains. “My parents set an example of looking out for people who are marginalized.” 

Susan’s decision to volunteer with Mom2Mom was rooted in her family values, but she also strongly identified with the heart of the mission. 

“Poverty has a huge impact on family life,” says Susan. “I really wanted to make a difference by supporting mothers living in poverty.”

Right from the start, Susan was impressed with Carrie*, the participant mom she was paired with. “She was so welcoming; I felt very humbled by that. It was a very brave step on her part.” 

The relationship took some time to grow, and both women’s willingness to be open has been a key ingredient. Carrie suffers from very high social anxiety, and it has often lead to her cancelling appointments. 

Susan recalls one moment that was the turning point in their relationship.

I remember sitting outside her place and phoning and she said, ‘I don’t think I can come.’

I said ‘Can I just give you a hug?’ 

She came out and said, ‘I am coming with you.’

Anxiety really gets a person in the gut, but those moments of anxiety are a gift because they brought us closer.

Since then, Carrie has made significant progress with her anxiety. While she used to avoid all social occasions, she will now attend events with Susan. She’s even enjoyed Mother’s Day events, which had previously been a very hard holiday for her. 

“I know she is dealing with family problems and needs the encouragement that she really is a great mom,” says Susan. “She is a positive role model for her kids.”

Considering the circumstances Carrie has faced, Susan is constantly impressed by Carrie’s resilience and determination.

Susan also really enjoys the time she spends with Carrie, and feels she gets a lot out of the relationship. Recently, Susan’s daughter Amanda became pregnant, and Carrie has been extremely supportive.

“There is a lot of give and take,” Susan said. “We have built up a friendship over the years. I consider it an honour to be in her life and her children’s life.”

Throughout her time as a volunteer, Susan has been able to make a real, measurable difference. She’s also built a fulfilling bond with another mother. It’s a rewarding experience that she would recommend to others looking to help their local community.

“I feel privileged to belong to such a wonderful organization that looks out for women in poverty.”

*names have been changed

Mom2Mom is a Vancouver-based charity that pairs low-income moms with supportive female volunteers. More than 70 participants moms enrolled in our programs in 2018, and we plan to help even more this year. To make a meaningful impact on mothers and children living in poverty, learn more about volunteering with Mom2Mom.