Meet the M.O.M.s
ABBY MORTENSON - COLORADO
About ten years ago, Abby Mortenson read a book by Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, and became aware of the issue of modern day slavery and human trafficking. She was shocked and brokenhearted by what she learned and decided to get involved. Abby has spent the last ten years dedicating herself to the important work of anti-trafficking organizations. She eventually received an opportunity from Free The Girls, where she now works as the Creative Director.
PAM BOECK - Norman, OK
Meet Pam Boeck. Her life experiences include being a teacher, a food service professional, a nurse, and a lay midwife. Perhaps her most fulfilling roles have been being a mother and now a grandmother. She talks about her journey, her experience caring for and teaching others, and the importance of proper care and support for new mothers and their children.
MICA BRUNY - Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Mica is a mother and caring midwife in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her story is one of tragedy and triumph. Mica's life is a perfect example of what can happen when women are given opportunity and support in difficult situations.
NGHIA KAROLL - Aliso Viejo, CA
Nghia is a Director of Marketing for a high-tech startup based in the Silicon Valley. She makes fresh juice every morning, works as a Barre3 fitness instructor in the evenings, and loves anything Christmas. Nghia is also a refugee.
MARIE BEECHY - Graysville, PA
Marie is a registered nurse, professor, and mom of two boys. She's also the founder of One Refugee Child, an organization working to better the lives of Syrian refugees living in Istanbul, Turkey. The story of how Marie started ORC is a perfect example of how a little good can go a long way.
KATIE HAWK - Norman, OK
We chose Katie Hawk as our Mama of the Month because not only is she making the world a better place both at home and abroad, but she also helped us get a fresh new look (check out our new logo!). She serves as the Director of Communications for the Nature Conservancy and President of a local non-profit she co-founded called Good Dogma. We highlight her adventures in the forests of Indonesia and how she is making a positive difference in her community.
KELLY WOLFE - Harrisburg, PA
Kelly is a mother of seven and a Managing Director at Love Without Boundaries. She is dedicated not only to her own children, but to improving lives of kids around the world. She learned about Love Without Boundaries while researching special needs adoption, and came to discover so much more.
SALLY LITTLE - Norman, OK
Sally Little lives with a lot of heart and a little grit. She’s also someone who turns ideas into action, which is why we’re happy to say she’s a part of the Somebody’s Mama community now.
AGUEDA SEMRAD - Chicago, IL
Many of the MOMs we’ve highlighted in the past have been leaders of our partner organizations or board members, but we knew it was time to introduce the heart and soul of Somebody’s Mama—one of our favorite Love Club hostesses.
In February of 2015, we had the opportunity to speak with Jerome McDonnell of NPR’s Worldview in a radio interview. Agueda Semrad, a school teacher and mom from Chicago, heard the interview and knew she wanted to know more.
KYLLA LANIER - Tulsa, OK
With the help of her mother and two sisters, Kylla co-founded Truckers Against Trafficking, an organization that focuses on the fight against domestic sex trafficking. Before Kylla started TAT, she chronicled her time working with gangs in El Salvador in the mid-90's in a book called My Life Crazy. She also taught US History to sophomores in Broken Arrow, OK and was named the District Teacher of the Year in 2011.
PRIYA SWAI - Kolkata, India
Priya was born and raised in Kolkata, India where she attended an English medium school through a sponsorship program. Through hard work and dedication, she was able to attend college in Washington to receive her degree in nursing. Three years ago, she joined the team at Freeset Global when she was hired to maintain a systematic health system for the ladies working at Freeset Bags & Apparel, an economic empowerment program designed to teach rescued sex workers a skilled trade that pays a living wage.
BECKY STRAW - New York City, NY
After earning a Master's in Social Enterprise from Columbia University, Becky spent three years helping launch the non-profit, charity: water from couch to conference room. Since 2010, Becky has been leading the team at The Adventure Project. In four years, they have created 745 jobs that have resulted in helping almost one million people in Haiti, India, Kenya, and Uganda. Becky and her partner Jody were recently awarded the Diane von Furstenberg People's Voice Award for their work at The Adventure Project.
ERIN GAYTON - Olympia, WA
As a former university professor who values education, this busy mom still makes time in her schedule to be an avid supporter of Somebody's Mama. Aside from her current work as a homeschool mom, Erin serves on the board of the Autism Society of Washington, an organization that focuses on supporting individuals with autism throughout their lifetime, and she also started Helping Hounds, the first ever dog 4-H club for special needs kids and their service dogs in Olympia, WA. Erin is what we want to be--a smart, conscientious lifelong learner and global citizen.
LEIA JOHNSON & ERIKA WRIGHT - Belleville, IL & Norman, OK
When they started Somebody's Mama, co-founders Leia and Erika wanted to create a space for women to help women. As more and more Mamas stepped up to party with a purpose, Leia and Erika realized how truly simple it is to impact lives around the world through compassion and generosity.
MERCY ABRAHAM - Chennai, India
Mercy works alongside her husband Sunny in their ministry to slum communities in Chennai, while also raising their three children. She is a woman whose faith is essential to the work she does and is the embodiment of what the New Testament describes as "pure and genuine religion," working with widows and orphans and those Jesus would have described as the "least of these."
AMY WILLIAMS & SISTER EPHRANCE NUWAMANYA - Norman, OK & Uganda
Amy is the founder of BARHD, an organization that works in southwest Uganda, focusing on healthcare, orphan sponsorship, and clean water. Sister Ephrance has been a nurse for over thirty years, and has received diplomas in Health Management, Reproductive Health Services, and Malaria Research. She also served as the first female member and president of the Bushenyi Rotary Club.
TARA LIVESAY - Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Tara works as a midwife and is part of a team of seven women who run the maternity and prenatal program at Heartline Haiti. This is quite a challenge in Haiti, a country that has held the title of poorest nation in the western hemisphere for decades. Tara and husband, Troy, are parents to seven kids ranging in age from 6 to 24. They fell in love with Haiti through the process of adoption, and after their first two adoptions were complete, decided to move to Haiti permanently in January of 2006, nurturing seeds of both love and concern for their children's home country.
DR. ABDULLAH DANIEL SESAY - Makeni, Sierra Leone
As a general practitioner and surgeon, Dr. ABD also serves as a member of parliament for his country of Sierra Leone. He often works 16-18 hour days seeing as many patients as possible because healthcare is so limited in the region where he lives - one regional hospital and a few private clinics serve about 2.5 million people. He is a heroic man who is standing up to champion the rights and well being of women, and we know that men like Dr. ABD are crucial in bringing a voice to the plight of women in developing nations.
NANCY HOLLINGSWORTH - Belleville, IL
Nancy has worked in the education field for almost 25 years, first as a teacher and then as a guidance counselor. Motivated by the belief that once the immediate needs of food, water, and shelter are met, every single person deserves a chance to educate themselves, Nancy has inspired thousands of young children to believe in their potential. Nancy embodies the spirit of compassion that motivates us to address the problems in our own communities AND the perspective that cross-cultural relationships bring.
COLLEEN MITCHELL - Turrialba, Costa Rica
Colleen describes herself as a "homeschooling, jungle living, freelance writing, Pope Francis loving Catholic missionary who is serving the indigenous Cabecar population in one of the most remote areas of Costa Rica." She and her husband Greg founded the St. Bryce Mission and in just a few years, Colleen and her family have established programs focused on food sustainability, employment opportunity, education, and maternal healthcare. They have recently opened their home as a pregnancy hostel to the Cabecar women.
JODY LANDERS - Olympia, WA
Mother of six, Jody plays a key role in running an organization called The Adventure Project, a non-profit that was "established to increase investments in positive social enterprises around the world." In the last three years, TAP has grown quickly to address humanitarian issues related to the environment, water, hunger, and health. A look at their results page show real individuals who are transforming their communities, primarily through their ability to have safe, stable jobs for the first time.