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MEMBERconnection: Honoring moms
AS WE CELEBRATE our mothers on May 11,
the nonprofit Mothers’ Day Movement (MDM)
asks us to consider spreading the love by helping less fortunate mothers and their families
around the world.
Founded in 2010 by four mothers in
Connecticut, MDM (
ment.org) each year partners with a worthy
charity committed to improving the lives of
mothers in some of the developing world’s
This year, MDM is helping the Clear Water
Initiative—founded by U.S. serviceman Ben
Sklaver, who was later killed in Afghanistan—
to expand its program of bringing clean water
to the villages of Uganda, in eastern Africa.
“Mothers and children in Uganda spend
hours each day carrying big, heavy containers
long distances over rough terrain to get water
for drinking, cooking and bathing,” says MDM
co-founder Kim Athan, a Costco member.
JUDY COOK HAS always been
passionate about helping children,
as well as spending time with her
own. She has three daughters, a
son and 12 grandkids. A lifelong
educator, Cook, of Vineyard, Utah,
has worked as a kindergarten
teacher for much of her life. After
starting and raising a family, she
took in seven of her children’s
friends who needed a home. Even
now, in semi-retirement, Cook still
gives up time to help at a special-needs school.
For all these efforts, the Costco
member was named Utah Mother
of the Year (the nomination was
submitted by Fred Cook, her hus-
band of 51 years) and then National
Mother of the Year by American
Mothers Incorporated (AMI; www.
americanmothers.org). The group,
based in Washington, D.C., recog-
nizes an outstanding mother each
year who is “courageous, bold,
innovative and creative.”
“It’s been a whirlwind year,”
Cook says about the honor. Since
receiving the award, she’s traveled
to California, Nevada, Maine and
Puerto Rico to help promote the
goals of AMI.
Founded in 1935, AMI strives
to “champion women by honoring,
educating and serving mothers at
home, at work and in the world.”
Through programs across the
country, the organization raises
awareness of and helps battle
plights affecting the role of motherhood and women’s rights in general. As leader of the Global
Motherhood Coalition at the United
Nations, AMI also commands a
global voice with which to advocate for mothers worldwide.
This month, Cook will help
support the first annual National
Mom to Mom Service Day, with
this year’s event focusing on helping victims of domestic abuse.
“Often, children miss school to help get water.”
The problem isn’t just access. Each year, unsafe
water contributes to the deaths of more than
12,000 children worldwide.
Since 2010, MDM’s donors have provided
corrective surgery to Kenyan women with
obstetric fistula, reduced maternal mortality
during childbirth and helped open 13 tuition-
free classrooms for girls in Kenya.
Says MDM co-founder and Costco member Stephanie Norton, “Clear Water Initiative
spoke to us because by keeping children in
school, they give back tenfold and can change
their communities forever.”—Matthew Robb
left, and Kim
Athan work to
improve the lives
of mothers around
Mother of the Year Judy
Cook, here with her
husband and biggest
fan, Fred, will focus this
year on helping victims
of domestic abuse.