JoLynn Haley


What is your story?

I am originally from Lawrence, Kansas. I attended the University of Kansas, where, as luck would have it, I first met another MAP mom, Karen Carter Lynch. Karen and I have been friends and neighbors for more than 35 years (yipes!), and it is a real joy that we are now members of MAP together. I attended Northwestern Law School after college, and worked as an associate and then a partner at a large law firm for 13 years. I am married and have three children. My youngest is in high school; my middle child is in college; and my oldest is living and working in the Czech Republic. I have a lived a blessed life, which has included surviving through triple-negative breast cancer, and I am very grateful for everything I have (especially my two dogs).

How do you deal with violence in Chicago?

Everyone who lives in Chicago deals with violence. Violence in any of our neighborhoods is violence in the city that we all share. It affects and diminishes all of us. It robs peace and hope from all of us. So it is a scourge that we all share, and that we all have to address and work to eliminate. That includes me. Everyone is entitled to a fair opportunity for education, job training, employment, and access to good healthcare. Violence stands in the way of those opportunities, and shatters the peace that allows those opportunities to grow. I am grateful for any small part that I can play in working to restore peace and opportunities in all our communities.

How did you become a member of MAP?

I became a member of the MAP group through my long friendship with Deirdre “Dede” Koldyke, the founder of EarthHeart Foundation. Dede and I have known each other since our children were in preschool together, and my involvement as a MAP mom has been a natural outgrowth of our friendship. Dede has introduced me to so many wonderful women, and I am honored to be a part of the MAP group.

What does being a member of the MAP group mean to you?

Getting to know the MAP moms has been a privilege and blessing for me. They are all amazing, strong women who have taught me so much about faith, hope and love. We truly enjoy each other and help to enrich each other’s lives.

What is your goal for MAP?

My goal is to make a positive difference however I can, big or small, on an individual basis or at a community-wide level, in the Woodlawn and Englewood neighborhoods. I know that whatever I can give through the MAP group will be returned to me many times over. The more I can try to help in others’ lives and work for greater peace in our communities, the more my own life is enriched. It brings me real joy to work with the MAP moms and to become even a small part of their lives and community. Whatever we can share and build together is a gift.

What does being a mother mean to you?

Being a mother has allowed me to experience the strongest bond and love that you can have with another person. The depth of emotion that I feel for my children is something that I cherish and nurture every day.

What do the MAP mothers provide for each other?

We try to provide each other with unfailing support. We are always there to help and encourage each other, no matter what. And we give each other that help openly and freely, with no strings or judgments attached. Our community of moms tries to be a model for peace and mutual respect and affection. In that way we try to give each other what we need the most – a loving foundation on which to build better lives.