About the Metro Mothers Network
The Metro Mothers Network is a volunteer not-for-profit charitable organization which evolved from the YWCA Take-a-Break program.
We offer two types of programs to provide an opportunity for mothers to meet in a supportive group setting: women with small children (MumNet), and women with older children (MumVet).
Helping women face the challenges of motherhood by fostering their emotional, mental, and physical well-being in a mutually supportive, community-based group environment.
Statement of Values
The Metro Mothers Network will:
- Respect our Members, Volunteers and Staff
- Provide a safe and nurturing environment
- Support and connect women raising children
- Promote the physical and mental health of women
- Promote and enrich our communities
- Support motherhood and families
- Provide quality fitness and programming to meet the needs and interests of our members through a shared group experience
- Educate women about post-partum and maternal depression
- Provide volunteer opportunities, training, and recognition
- Provide quality childcare in our groups
Fundraising and Volunteering Key Part of MumNet Experience
MumNet offers great opportunity for personal development and leadership through our volunteer positions within each group and throughout the network. Fundraising is also an important part of the MumNet experience; to keep member fees affordable members participate in three fundraising initiatives each year.
Board of Directors
Metro Mothers Network is operated by a volunteer Board of Directors through a number of committees. The current Board positions include:
- Executive Director - Marjorie MacIsaac - Management
- President - Jennifer Campbell - Chair of Board and Executive
- Past President - Kerri Torrey
- Treasurer - Keltie Ellwood - Finance
- Secretary - Jennifer Tung - Governance & Legal
- Director - Kimberly Ross - Volunteer Recruitment & Recognition
- Director - Heather Lingard - Communications & Promotion
- Director - Jennifer Tse - Fundraising
- Director - Sally Kim - Fundraising
- Director - Lori Van Soelen - Social Media
In addition to the Executive Director, MumNet is staffed by three part-time managers:
- Office Manager
- Childcare Manager
- Fitness Manager
The Origins of MumNet
The roots of MumNet go back over five decades. Starting over 50 years ago, the YWCA sponsored a popular program for women called Take-a-Break (TAB). This program operated in many parts of the country and focused on group discussions, speakers, craft and cooking demonstrations etc., designed for low-income or single mothers who had no other means of getting a break from parenting.
In Toronto in the early 1960s, the model for TAB was changed to one based on group work principles, with group leaders trained to facilitate discussions and tailor the content to meet the needs of the participants. In addition, a fitness component led by a YWCA qualified instructor was introduced and childcare was offered.
By 1989, there were 18 TAB groups in Metro Toronto, with two paid part-time co-coordinators who worked three days each. In addition, a part-time child care supervisor was paid to recruit, hire, train and supervise the 54 sessional childcare workers. The co-coordinators were responsible for supervision of the child care supervisor, recruitment, hiring, and supervision of 18 sessional fitness instructors, recruitment, training and supervision of volunteer area supervisors and the administration of the program. Groups met in churches where there were facilities for fitness and childcare, and generally paid a small honorarium for the use of the space.
In late 1989, the YWCA in Toronto made the decision to cease funding the TAB program. For several months, efforts were made by many TAB members, volunteers and staff to convince the YWCA to reverse its decision, to no avail. In January of 1990, TAB was no more.
With the assistance of Marilyn Duncan-Morris, former paid co-coordinator of the TAB program, the groups negotiated to finish the year in their churches, as church programs. This support from the churches was most welcome, and strengthened the attachment of the groups to their facilities.
Marilyn Duncan-Morris, Joanne Pauli and Christine Jackson were at the core of the effort to keep the TAB program alive. These dedicated women eventually formed the Steering Committee in the summer of 1990, and they invited Frances Hodgins, Diana Stinson, Katherine Turner and Sheona Duthie to join them. By August 1990, a provisional structure was in place, with draft job descriptions, a budget and a long list of fundraising projects. The volunteer supervisors continued their work in recruiting and training new group leaders, so that the year began seamlessly for participants.
In June of 1991, the “Mothers Network” was born. The provisions of the Steering Committee were adapted to become by-laws and the first Annual General Meeting was held at Fairlawn United Church to elect the new Board of Directors, with Joanne Pauli as the Chair. The first by-laws included provision for representation on the Board from area supervisors and group leaders. When the New Year began that September, there were 15 day time groups with 254 members, three evening fitness groups with about 20 members, and one Wellness group with 11 participants. The first Board arranged for the incorporation of the organization, under the name “Metro Mothers Network”, and began the process of obtaining charitable status.
Today, MumNet has grown into a network that provides community and support to over 400 members. Through two types of groups – MumNet, for mothers with small children, and MumVet, for mothers with older children – the Metro Mothers Network continues to reach out and support Toronto mums.