Mommy Mentors Project
Women thrive at Mommy Mentors

A former stay-at-home mom offers inspiration to others in her situation.
Special to The Herald
October 23, 2005

Barbara Theodosiou of Davie knows all about staying home to raise children. She has four between the ages of 5 and 17. She knows that it is fulfilling -- and isolating.

She always wanted to be a therapist but put her ambitions on hold. At 43, she thought it was too late to think about a new career -- until she met a therapist who told her the average age of therapists is 52.

Inspired, Theodosiou went back to school, got her master's degree, and plans to get her doctorate and become a family-marriage counselor. She also began an organization called Mommy Mentors, which is dedicated to helping women expand their horizons by learning from one another and growing.

''By hearing about what other women do, I learned I could make my world bigger,'' Theodosiou said. ``I needed the courage to make a career for myself. I thought maybe there are other women who need to hear it, too.''

Mommy Mentors recently co-sponsored Inspirations: A Women's Event at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie. The program included notable women from the community who recounted things in their lives that inspired them.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, shared the challenges of balancing a family with work, asserting that things could be easier if employers made the workplace more family-friendly. She believes mothers of sons should teach the concept of equality and not raise boys in the stereotypical way.

''We have to lead by example,'' Wasserman Schultz said. ``You have to think about what you want for your children and show them that you can have it all. It requires perseverance, persistence and determination. You can't give up.''

A high school softball coach inspired Linda Alexionok, a former bank president and now director of the Universal Pre-K children's campaign.

''I was told I wasn't smart enough to go to college, and my coach was shocked,'' she told the crowd of more than 160 women. ``She told me the desire to learn was more important than anything else.''

After author Lisa Delman's mother suffered a heart attack, she realized there were things left unsaid between them. She began writing letters to her ailing mother and gave them to her after she recovered. Those letters helped them grow closer. The idea of the letters led Delman to create the Letters From the Heart project five years ago, in which women share things with their mothers, living or not.

''It fulfills a need for these women,'' Delman said
Yusila Ramirez, a reporter with WFOR-CBS 4, is inspired by her 7-year-old son, who has forced her to focus on the positive things in life.

''He helps me center myself,'' she said.

Theodosiou has been inspired by other women's stories, so much so that she is writing a book, Awakening From the Mommy Coma.

Mommy Mentors is starting a new group, Mom's Business Mastermind Group, where moms will discuss business ideas and listen to guest speakers. It will meet at the Posnack JCC once a month.

For information, call Barbara Theodosiou at 954-309-0992.

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