Mothers with a Purpose was formed in July of 2010 when Donna and Kelly learned they shared something in common.  Kelly was attending an AA meeting with her son, when she saw Donna’s son and realized that both children were struggling with the Opiate addiction.  Kelly called Donna’s cell while Donna was on vacation and the two had a conversation and decided to get together and talk when she returned home. When they talked, they both got updated on their children and  decided to attend a few Al Anon meetings to get some help.  Instead, it seemed they always ended up meeting at Barnes and Noble  or sitting outside Donna’s home talking for hours.  Finally, after keeping their feelings bottled up inside, they had someone to share their situation and found out their lives had followed a similar path and they had experienced a lot of the same issues.  Kelly had been reading a book called ‘The Lost Years’ and got the idea to start a group to bring other mothers together to form a support group.  Donna totally agreed and started recruiting friends and acquaintances from her neighborhood, health club, and community, which included several families she had met over the years while the children participated in youth sports.

The group quickly grew from 2 to 5, from 5 to 7, and then grew to 12 women.  In the beginning there was a lot of crying and consoling, with each telling their heart wrenching stories one by one.  No one had any answers, but this was the first time each had openly discussed their family secret, and that in itself started the healing.  As each new member joined, the new member would spend 20-30 minutes telling their story, while the others patiently listened, knowingly shaking their heads, and encouraging the new member to continue. It was common to hear the words “we understand”, “it happened to all of us” and “you’re not alone”.  The group had lots of energy and the conversations evolved from crying to rational discussion, and believe it or not, laughter.  No longer was each person living as a prisoner in her home, with her shades drawn, doors locked, and speaking in hush tones.  In isolation they felt helpless and powerless to do anything.  As the group got bigger and the women got to know each other personally, the energy and power grew.  It was really magical.  During the holidays, Kelly invited her brother, a recovery addict, to speak to the group. Most of the spouses also attended the pot luck “speaker” meeting.  Everyone was fascinated by what her brother had to say and he reinforced what the group had been learning over the last several months:  “we didn’t cause it, we can’t control it, and we can’t cure it”.  The addict had to want sobriety themselves.  This was a huge relief to everyone.

Although several members attended Al Anon and Nar Anon periodically, Mothers with a Purpose was their home.  They felt comfortable and safe and felt they could share anything without judgment.  As they started healing and gaining stability in their own lives, they wanted to help others in the same predicament and wanted to help prevent other families from spiraling down the path of addiction.  One of the members contacted a Vice Principal at Foothill High School and invited him to come to a meeting at Donna’s house.  The Mothers were all over this guy, asking questions, wondering why Foothill was “low profiling” this issue and asking him what could be done.  The gentleman was very honest and openly discussed the issues and challenges on campus.  They knew they had a problem but needed more community involvement.  A lot of parents were in denial and the students out numbered the faculty.  The parking lot, bathrooms, and other areas of the campus were too hard to monitor and the kids too hard to catch.  After two hours of discussion, I remember this gentleman, a young man with young kids in the district, saying he was concerned for his own family and for the children in the community and that someone, our group, needed to “blow this thing wide open”.  That was the major impetus for Mothers with a Purpose to be called into action.

The next week, Kelly and Donna were up at Foothill High talking with the principal and also attended one of Foothill’s  parents’ meetings on drug use and listened to ill informed participants; more denial and issues being minimized.  The principal agreed to let Mothers with a Purpose use one of the classrooms for a Thursday night meeting, because the group got too big for Donna’s house and more interest had been generated by the group’s January 7th article in the Pleasanton Weekly (listed on the websites home page).  The group had put together a Mission Statement (as outlined on our home page), and primary goals they wanted addressed by the school, namely, that the problem of drug use was not being addressed at an acceptable level at the school, student behavior continues unchecked without opposing forces (school, police, and parents), and community and parents are unsure of what to do or the need to do anything.  Donna and Kelly had a number of action steps, and things they wanted addressed, outlined for discussion. The principal was very receptive and agreed to let the group use one of the classrooms every second and fourth Thursday night for their meeting.

A local restaurant owner used his connections to put together a meeting with the City Manager, Police Captain, Superintendent of Schools, and Senior Director of Pupil Services, and invited Mothers with a Purpose to attend.  Two weeks prior to this meeting, Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County’s District Attorney, and a friend of one of the members of Mothers with a Purpose, attended the first meetings at Foothill High and pledged her support to the group.  Within days, Kelly and Donna were at Nancy’s Oakland office with each of her local DA’s (Oakland, Hayward, and Pleasanton) to talk strategy.  Each person in this meeting became more committed and excited to support the cause.  The District Attorney and her local Pleasanton DA joined the “Downtown” meeting, along with 6 members of Mothers with a Purpose.  It was a very productive meeting, with everyone gaining a better understanding of the issues with a commitment to help in any way possible.

Since that day, Mothers with a Purpose has been involved in various efforts and meetings, at Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, PTA board meetings, Community group meetings, and helped organize a “Prescription Drug Take Back Day” with the help of our newly promoted Pleasanton Police Chief and a very helpful San Francisco DEA field Agent.  People are listening and realizing that although Pleasanton is a wonderful place to live with very good schools and a great children’s youth program, that it too has a drug problem that needs to be openly talked about and addressed.

Mothers with a Purpose is thankful to have such great support from our community leaders, especially Parvin Ahmadi, Superintendent of Schools, and Kevin Johnson, Senior Director of Pupil Services.  These two individuals immediately understood our cause and have been supportive of our efforts from the first time we met.  We will continue to take our story to the streets to raise awareness, help educate the community, and provide resources to help make Pleasanton an even better place to live.