Sadie Brooten and Ada May Foster are inviting all mothers in North Idaho and Eastern Washington to become involved in the Washington and Idaho Association of American Mothers Inc. at the first combined state convention June 11 at the Red Lion Templin’s Hotel in Post Falls.
The precept of AMI is a simple one: “To strengthen the moral and spiritual foundations of the family and the home.” The organization’s first Mother of the Year Award was presented in 1933 by Sara Delano Roosevelt, the mother of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and also the organization’s first honorary chairwoman. Since then, a National Mother of the Year has been named annually from among the state Mothers of the Year.
The keynote speaker at the Post Falls convention will be Joy Weller Miller, the group’s current national president, who happens to be from McCall, Idaho.
“This is the first time we’ve had a national president from Idaho,” Foster said.
Miller recently attended the national convention in Houston, and will share some of the insights she gleaned from the larger convention.
Both Brooten and Foster have had the honor of serving as the Idaho Mother of the Year – Brooten in 1985 and Foster in 1987. Brooten has four children, six grandchildren and a brand-new great-grandchild. Foster has five children and six grandchildren.
“This started under the golden rule,” Brooten said. “Mrs. J.C. Penney was one of the first (mothers of the year). We want more members from North Idaho. We had more members 10 years ago.” Dues are $25 per year.
Candidates for Mother of the Year must be nominated by a service organization or a church; they cannot be nominated by their family. Criteria and applications will be available at the convention in Post Falls. The current district president, who covers an area from Moscow to the Canadian border, is Needie Kennedy of Sandpoint.
AMI reaches out to all mothers regardless of their religion or political beliefs.
“In order to be a mother, you do have to support your state and your local community and have to have a certain amount of faith or religious dedication,” Foster said.
The application form is quite extensive, enveloping aspects of church, community and family. Sixty percent of the judging, however, is based on how a mother has raised her children.
AMI sponsors various projects, such as a National Literacy Program, the fight against pornography, ABC quilts for at-risk babies, mothers against abuse, parenting education classes, a mother mentoring program, assisting AIDS victims and, more recently, helping out victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami. AMI for the last two years has sponsored an essay contest for fifth-graders called “What my mother means to me.” The winners receive monetary awards.
There are two categories: the mothers of the year and the young mothers of the year, for those mothers who are 45 or younger.
The June event includes a luncheon that costs $15, and reservations must be made by Wednesday by contacting Brooten at 664-6337 or Foster at 667-0471. They expect 40 to 50 women will attend and stress that everyone is welcome.
“More than ever we need American Mothers and the principles they stand for,” Brooten said. “Every project is really a worthwhile project.”
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