Philadelphia Turnpike, 1941
Mother's Day 2020

The adults they will become!

Mother’s Day is a day set aside each year to celebrate a person who takes on the role of being a mom. In the ideal world, a nurturer, a fighter on our behalf. For some, Mother’s Day can be a time of warm thoughts... For others, it is a day to move past with regret and sorrow. And for others, it is a time to feel remembered for efforts in trying to be a parent - the good, the bad, and well, you know. 

So in a new twist, I am sharing with you something immensely personal. I’m remembering the life of my mother, Ruth Yulman Campbell, who would be 101 years old now.

I was a lucky kid.

An outspoken critic of limits placed on women, and a champion of civil and human rights for all, Mom helped shape my own foundation of critical thinking and resilience. She understood the importance of the playing field being level for all and pushed that envelope for years. 

She especially loved children and young people, (although at times, my siblings and I questioned if this applied equally to us). She had a keen sense of responsibility to them, and an understanding of what opportunity could mean to kids living on the margins in particular. Encouraged by her father and mother and others significant in her life, Ruth had opportunities during a time when girls were not always recognized for their talents and achievements. She started college at 16 in Brooklyn and gave a piano concert at City Hall, too. She ended her career as a social worker for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

During a time when so many of us are challenged in keeping our spirits high enough - putting one foot in front of the other to make certain we are caring for our loved ones well - I’m reminded of the courage and high hopes my mother demanded of me, and the support I had to meet my dreams at every turn. When I felt defeated, she encouraged me to look for new paths. I was so lucky as a girl, as a woman and a mother to have that experience.  

Other children are not so lucky.

Every child - especially those impacted by adversity - 
deserves opportunities to learn how to thrive and have access to resources and support that will enhance their lifelong well-being. 

Every child deserves an adult, whether it is their mother, father, or another strong caring adult, who makes that possible

I know it is a privilege to be the Executive Director of Friends of Children and help lead it in its 30th year of ensuring that children and young adults impacted by foster care have that support, are treated with kindness and respect, and believe in their own hopeful futures. Friends of Children fosters the dignity of children and young people in the child welfare system by persistently advocating for supports and services that promote their safety, security and success.

Every young person we support deserves what I received - someone who holds the highest hopes for who they can become and who will stand beside them for as long as it takes to achieve those dreams.

Volunteers at Friends of Children are teaching by example, always showing up for their young person, and believing in the best for what our children can become.  

Today, I’m making a donation to Friends of Children in memory of my mother and mentor, Ruth Yulman Campbell, and to honor every CASA, FOCUS, Foster Dignity and Children’s Union volunteer who gives their time, talent, and heart to the kids connected to Friends of Children.

Would you honor or remember the mother figure in your life who impacted yours? With your support, the young people Friends of Children champions will help shape our shared history for years to come! Thank you.

Warmest regards,
Jane Yulman Lyons

PS - We'd love to hear your story too!