Karen has been living in Chicago for over 30 years. Originally from Kansas City, she attended the University of Kansas along with fellow MAP Mom, JoLynn Haley.
What is your story?
I am a filmmaker and have worked on movies, commercials, documentaries, and shorts. I’m married to an architect and have two children: a girl, 21 years old, and a boy, 18 years old. I am so thankful that so many of my dreams have and are coming true.
Where do you think the problems in Woodlawn and Englewood stem from?
Wow that’s a big question…I think a lot of problems have to do with not being able to forgive and move on. We carry anger and resentment around and those feelings get bigger and bigger. I read that if we can’t forget old memories, old hurts, then we repeat them. In our head, in the neuro-pathways, those old hurts get stuck. An unexpressed feeling is like a rubber band-it gets stretched with tension and eventually snaps and we are back into anger, which deep down is fear.
How do you deal with this?
Well this is not easy, I struggle with old stuff all the time, but the key is to be in the present. I’m always reminding myself to breathe and it helps take me back to the present. I get in trouble when my mind goes too far into the future – that creates fear. So if I can ask myself, “What’s the next right step?” – it helps. Oh, and being of service…I like to shine the light on other people…that makes me feel happy.
How did you become a member of MAP?
I’ve known Deirdre “Dede” Koldyke for a long time. Our kids went to school together. She asked me to come and film some of the MAP meetings in hopes of making a documentary for EarthhHeart. And I was hooked from the beginning. I love building bridges and community. I always gain new insight from each meeting.
What does being a member of the MAP group mean to you?
First off, I am honored to know such strong and faithful women. We all have struggles raising our children and just surviving life’s challenges. One of the best moments was when we broke off into small groups to share our histories and our stories. When we were finished, we looked at each other and realized we’re so much the same…we’re all searching for love and acceptance.
What is your goal for MAP?
I would love to get more like-minded mothers to join our group.
We want to break down the barriers that keep us apart.
What does being a mother mean to you?
Wow, it’s one of the hardest jobs there is. I know how lonely it can be because my mother raised three children on her own. As mothers, we are not validated or thanked very often. Being a mother is highly undervalued in our country, but it is the most important job that we can possibly do in our lifetime. PERIOD. And that is why we have to come together and support one another. You know what they say, “When the Mother’s happy, the family’s happy”!
What do the MAP mothers provide for each other?
We provide friendship, support, fun, faith, hope, and new ways of at looking at life.