by Erin Sweeten
It’s our 35th anniversary this year! That is three and a half decades of moms of multiples supporting each other. Some of us were not even born yet (and I was in fourth grade) when Judi Sonnier Morgan Castete organized some acquaintances into an official group in 1984. Think of all the friendship, advice, reassurance, and just showing up for each other that has happened through the years because of PVMOM. This group’s positive impact stretches through generations, visible in the stories we tell about problems handled, families made happier, and strong friendships formed. This month on the blog, we go back to the beginning. President Beth Gervitz connected me with our founder, the indomitable Judi Castete, and she filled us in on all the details.
When and why did you start a moms of multiples group?
Judi: We started PVMOM in 1984, with a group of moms that met while shopping with our twins at Paradise Valley Mall.
What was the original name of the group, and how did it change over time?
Judi: Our original name was Paradise Valley Moms of Twins, and then it changed to Paradise Valley Moms of Multiples. It was not named after the city of Paradise Valley-- the shopping center where a lot of us had met was Paradise Valley Mall.
How did you know how to start a mom’s club?
Judi: Before I moved to Phoenix/Scottsdale, I had started a mom’s group in San Diego. I had a 14-month-old son, and didn’t know anyone there. So I put an ad in the Penny Saver to find other moms with little ones who were interested in forming a playgroup. I literally got about 50 ladies!!! We divided the list into age groups and formed many playgroups and a babysitting co-op. Then, when I was pregnant with my twins, I bumped into another mom with twins. She took one look at me, asked me if I was having twins, and brought me into her Moms of Twins Group. The rest is history. When I moved to Phoenix/Scottsdale in December of 1983, I was trying to find another Moms of Twins Club. I went to the Glendale club meeting once-- it was so far for us (and shhh… it wasn’t very friendly!) so I contacted the Mothers of Twins headquarters and asked them how to go about starting a new club. The ladies from the Mesa club came up to my house and met with the mothers I had met and got us started.
How did members communicate with each other?
Judi: We communicated by phone. There was a newsletter. It was monthly and I typed it out, made copies at office supply store and mailed them out.
How long were you an active club member?
Judi: I left Phoenix/Scottsdale in 1991. By then I was no longer an active member in the club-- I was president of the Laguna Elementary PTA. I’ve only kept in touch with one other founding member. It’s been fun to share the beginnings of the club with you!
Thank you, Judi, for being the first to bring the MoMs of our area together. Your skill at creating organizations that are built to last has made an enormous positive impact on families in the Phoenix area. In 35 years, the club has grown to over 200 members that live all over the valley, from Chandler to Peoria. They connect via playgroups, Mom's nights out, book clubs, family gatherings, workshops, and a busy Facebook group (plus many sub-groups based on birth year, location, and special interests). We don't use printed newsletters or classified ads any longer, but the original spirit of community support survives.
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