Bonding and building community with MYMOM


by Mira Dover


“Today we are here to talk to you about people. People are the point.”

Megan Moore, one of the guest speakers at Make Your Mark On Madison’s (MYMOM) closing banquet, let these words hang in the air before continuing with her co-speaker, Sarah Welsch. Both Moore and Welsch are alumni of JMU and past members of MYMOM, but the effect this program had on them is clear through their words, connection, and the fact that Welsch was Zooming in to speak from an entire continent away at 1 a.m. her time.  

“[MYMOM is] a ten-week program that takes students through self-authorship, developing a sense of belonging and building their self-awareness,” said the Graduate Coordinator for MYMOM, Gabriel Driver. “It gives students a great opportunity to explore themselves further and to explore the community that they have the opportunity to build.”

To junior Theatre and SMAD double major Sophia Tiedt, MYMOM means getting students involved in the community and helping them have deep conversations. “Everyone is so open-minded and willing to learn and willing to listen to others,” she said. “I think a big part of our society is that we do a lot of talking and we don’t listen. So they’re beautiful people to be around.”

This semester, MYMOM met once a week on Mondays from 7–9 p.m. For the first hour, a guest speaker covered a topic specific to that meeting, and then students discussed that topic within “councils” for the hour after. The topics ranged from difficult conversations to empathetic leadership to inclusivity. “I truly believe that you never really reach the full peak of being the best person you can be,” said Elizaveta Clarke, one of two MYMOM Student Directors. “There’s always room for improvement. MYMOM really embraces those values that I want to incorporate into my life.”

MYMOM is open to all students and is truly a representation of JMU’s diverse community. Students who choose to get involved will join a dedicated and insightful group that will have a long-lasting effect on them. “Like Megan and Sarah said in their speech, people are the point,” said Cuda Zmuda, the second MYMOM Student Director. “I have met some of my closest friends and people who are going to be in my life forever. It’s all about finding your own voice and empowering yourself to empower others.”

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Published: Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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