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A Message From Our President: 2015 is a Milestone Year for Mocha Moms, Inc.

by Kuae Kelch Mattox, National President, Mocha Moms, Inc.

 

 

 

2015 will be a milestone year for Mocha Moms, Inc.

Since its founding in 1997 by four mothers, the mission and purpose of the organization has been to support stay at home mothers of color. Of course, anyone has been welcome to join our sisterhood, and we find that over the years, mothers of all races and working or non-working status have enjoyed the benefits of our organization.

Many who have been members of this organization for a few years have heard us say that the face of Mocha Moms has been changing. The recession dealt a harsh blow to our ranks. Many mothers went back to work, some became separated and divorced from their husbands, and many of us went through a variety of life changes. Our on-the-ground membership started to suffer a few years ago. Some chapters had to close with so few members, and others began to struggle as mothers went back to work, their children got older and Mocha Moms was not as big a priority anymore.

In 2013 we decided to conduct a survey of our membership to understand better who we were and where we stood, and we found that our assumptions about the changing face of our organization were correct. An overwhelming number of our mothers had gone back to work, and many were experiencing some of the same life challenges that we had been hearing.

In 2014 again, we decided to conduct a similar survey, but this time asking some more specific questions regarding the relevancy of Mocha Moms as an organization that supports stay at home mothers and where our members would like to see our organization move in the future. The results that came back were even more pronounced than before:

-49% of our mothers now work outside of the home, full-time, part-time and flex time

-83% would like to see Mocha Moms tale on more of an advocacy role

-47% do NOT believe that the Mocha Moms mission as a support group for mothers of color who have chosen not to work full time outside of the home is still relevant today...21% were not sure

-73% would be in favor of redefining the mission of Mocha Moms as a support group for mothers of color...12% not sure

With those results, the National Board met for its Strategic Planning Weekend in December 2014. We had quite a bit of soul searching to do, and spent many, many hours throughout the night and into the morning, debating, hashing out and yes, crying over a gut wrenching decision that most of us knew in our hearts was looming. We took a very practical approach to the situation - examining the decline in our membership numbers on the ground, the many issues that leaders had identified they were experiencing, as well as the knowledge that our presence online has been growing by leaps and bounds. We thought about member recruitment, leader retention and burnout and chapter community service. We also discussed ways to attract more mothers to Mocha Moms. And heavy on our minds also were the events in the news of 2014, and the new Civil Rights movement afoot to say loud and clear that Black Lives Matter (and our campaign #BlackBoysMatter), and that even today, we are till not where we need to be.

What emerged from that very intense weekend was a clear vision of the future of Mocha Moms. Who we are now, who we will be in five years and 10 years, and where we believe we need to go in order to preserve the great legacy of this organization.

So over the next few months, the National Board of Mocha Moms, Inc. will be rolling out to our members and to the outside world, some big changes - changes that we are very excited about - and changes that we believe will lead to a healthier, stronger, more robust organization.

Mocha Moms will shift from an organization that supports stay at home mothers of color - in its messaging and in its programming - to an organization that supports mothers of color. Our goal is to be the premier voice for all mothers of color in this country. Of course, we will always remember our history and roots as an organization that supports stay at home mothers of color, but it is time to usher in a new era, and we wanted you to be the first to know about it.

We love the sisterhood that is Mocha Moms, Inc....and that is why we are opening our doors wider than we ever have before. We still intend for our chapters to provide the same level of support and sisterhood to its members, but we have tweaked a few things to accommodate more mothers, mothers who would not otherwise think about joining our organization. Here are the highlights to the changes to our structure:

COMMUNITY SERVICE - Chapters are only required to do one community service event of their choice per year. In keeping with our platform of community activism, we strongly encourage you to have more than 1 event per year.

OCCUPY SCHOOLS - There is now only one requirement, an education potluck.

CHAPTER CHARTERING - Chartering members no longer need to be stay at home mothers, but 4 out of 7 need to have flexible enough schedules to attend mother's support group meetings.

MOTHER'S SUPPORT GROUP MEETINGS - Chapters are now required to work toward hosting evening/weekend support group meetings in addition to daytime/weekday support group meetings

MOCHA NETWORKS & PROGRAMS
- Our networks have been streamlined to accommodate the changing/existing needs of our mothers. Moving forward we will have the following:  

  • At-Large Network
  • Homeschool Network
  • Mochas with Children with Special Needs Network
  • Mocha Entrepreneur Network (formerly Work at Home Mochas)
  • Mochas of Teens and Tweens
  • Marriage Support
  • Mocha Singles (for Mochas who are separated/divorced/widowed and want to connect)

MOCHA LEADERS - Requirements have changed. Leaders no longer have to have held a specific leadership position (chapter president, SC or RD) in order to move into higher leadership positions. We now require that our leaders have held some leadership position either in Mocha Moms or an outside organization.

CHAPTER PRESIDENTS - Now required to send monthly reports to the national office to allow for better tracking of how chapters are doing.

ONLINE MEMBERSHIP - We are also considering online membership for potential members who are unable to connect with a local chapter on the ground, but are interested in engaging online via private forums, virtual support groups/conferences, and Mocha chats.  

Questions? Please contact your chapter leadership, or as usual you may contact the National Office at

nationaloffice@mochamoms.org



The trademark Mocha Moms is a registered trademark of Mocha Moms, Inc.
The trademark Mocha Moms can only be used upon expressed written permission from Mocha Moms, Inc.