05-22-2017


Every day is Mother’s Day for United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Women of Cole. The Women of Cole drive their daily efforts to support Clayton County Board of Public Health’s M.O.M.S. (Making Our Moms Successful) program. Through volunteer and philanthropic support, they rally around United Way’s efforts to provide an integrated, seamless system of care for moms and their families through social supports, housing stabilization, medical coverage and developmental screenings through the M.O.M.S. program.

Below, Women of Cole Cabinet members Gayle Cabrera and Aly Pirio respond to questions about motherhood, philanthropy, United Way involvement and child well-being. To support Women of Cole’s M.O.M.S. Diaper Drive starting May 25 on Amazon Smile, click here! Make sure to select United Way of Greater Atlanta as your charity of choice to give a percentage of your purchase back to the organization.

• What does it mean to be a mother? What is the role of mothers in society?

Gayle Cabrera – To me, being a mother is about caring, loving and nurturing our children so that they can grow up to be caring, loving and nurturing adults. 

Our role in society is to care for our children, be present in their lives, lift them up during lows, and support and applaud them during their best moments. It is our job in society to show our children how to be caring and empathetic to other people.

• How has your involvement with United Way shaped your feelings about community and about child well-being in Greater Atlanta?

Gayle Cabrera – United Way of Greater Atlanta has reinforced to me how important community is for our children. When my father died when I was eight, my mother had a large support system to help care for my sister and me. Although she worked long hours to ensure she could send us to college, we were never latchkey kids because my grandparents were present to bring us to school and pick us up. My grandmother was able to cook dinner every night so that we could eat as a family when my mother got home from work. Having a stable household and my grandparents’ help is a large part of why I was able to go to college.  United Way is a way for me to help others who may not have the immediate support system my mother had.  It allows me to help those and let them know that they are not alone and that we are a community here in Atlanta!

United Way has taught me so much in the realm of child well-being.  When I first got involved with United Way with volunteerism and not just financially, the focus of Young Professional Leaders was education. Here, I learned a lot about how this affects the well-being of children. Because of what I learned, it doesn’t matter how tired I am after work, I make sure my son is read to every night!

Aly Pirio – My involvement with United Way has opened my eyes to what is going on in my broader community and impressed upon me the great need that exists to do more to improve child well-being right outside of my own front door.

• How has the Women of Cole’s focus on MOMS changed your viewpoints on motherhood for yourself and others?

Gayle Cabrera – Women of Cole has reminded how blessed I am!  It has reminded me when I think I am failing as a mom, I am not. As long as we love our children and do the best we can, it is enough.

Aly Pirio – The timing of Women of Cole’s focus on M.O.M.S. was perfectly aligned with events in my own life since I had become a first-time mom only a few months earlier. Being a mom, I now have a personal understanding of the challenges that moms face and a greater appreciation of the need for resources in our community to help mothers navigate these challenges.

• Why is every day Mother’s Day?

Gayle Cabrera – Every day is Mother’s Day because we never stop being a mom.

Aly Pirio – Being a mom is the best job on Earth and it’s something I am fortunate enough to get to do every day.  Until I became a mom, I didn’t have an appreciation for how challenging a job it can be.  The call to action for all moms should be to do something every day – no matter how small – to support other moms and continue to build our community.