Each year on the second Sunday in May we celebrate Mother’s Day. We honor motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. This day can bring up varied emotions — joy, gratitude, love, loneliness and sadness. We recognize the myriad forms of motherhood and we celebrate these wonderful pillars of strength who nurture us. To the grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, friends, non-traditional parents and even those compassionate strangers, past and present, who have given us the courage to be who we are — Happy Mother’s Day!
Jessica De Jesus Rodriguez, Jubilee’s Senior Case Manger was raised by a single mother who did everything in her power to ensure that Jessica needs were met. Her mother, who was always present, showed her how much can be accomplished when surround with a loving support system. Jessica’s support from her mother has taught her the importance of having someone in your corner. Someone who sees you, recognizes your goals and genuinely wants to help you achieve them, makes all the difference in the world. Today, Jessica uses this motivation in her work with Jubilee’s program participants.
Mary Beth Gemperle, a strong supporter of Jubilee for many years, also credits her Mother with having great impact in her life. Her mother, Rosie Mae Miller, had a great depth of kindness and warmth that was always extended to those in need. Mary Beth lives out a life-long lesson learned from her mother — when you see someone in need, always be kind, and do whatever you can to help. Mary Beth served on Jubilee’s Board of Directors for six years and was Board Secretary for three of those years. She and her husband Dick have never missed a Jubilee fundraising event and Dick played a key role in Jubilee’s remodel as the Chair of the Building Committee. Mary Beth also drew inspiration from her sister Alice. Alice was resilient, always getting back up when life knocked her down and through all life’s ups and downs was upbeat and always had a warm smile for everyone.
Alice grew up in Mississippi, married young, and had five children in quick succession. The young family struggled with poverty, physical and mental health issues, substance abuse, and domestic violence. When Alice’s husband died unexpectedly, Alice found herself unable to cope. For years she struggled to keep going, relying on support from family and various social services, but was never able to regain stability. Finally, in her late 40s, Alice resolved to turn her life around. She moved to Seattle and entered Jubilee Women’s Center where she found new hope for herself. At Jubilee, Alice had time to heal, received good case management, support, and friendship from the other program participants. She gained the self-confidence to go to business school and update her skills, which allowed her to get a job and move into her own apartment. Eventually, Alice re-married, settled near her sister in Seattle, and enjoyed a fulfilling, and happy life.
Mary Beth’s daughter, Rosemary, has been inspired by her mother’s lifelong commitment to community service. She admires Mary Beth’s active participation in the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the 1960s, and the many ways she has continued to serve her community since then. Mary Beth taught Rosemary the importance of valuing our common humanity and helping where help is needed. Rosemary became involved with Jubilee when she began attending the Benefit Breakfast with her parents. When Rosemary’s daughters were in their early teens, they began hosting a mother/daughter table together at the Breakfast. Today, Rosemary is proud to follow in her mother’s footsteps and serve on Jubilee’s Board of Directors.
Rosemary’s daughters, Elizabeth and Katherine, have benefitted from their family’s involvement with Jubilee. Through years of attending the Breakfast, they were able to hear the powerful stories of women persevering through hardship and finding strength through community and belief in themselves, which in turn inspired them to become Jubilee volunteers.
Rosemary inspired Elizabeth and Katherine to share their strengths to benefit others. Mary Beth inspired Rosemary to serve her community and have compassion for those in need. Alice inspired Mary Beth to continue believing in and empowering others. Alice’s resilience and perseverance had a lasting positive impact — she inspired three generations of women in her family.