Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Mothers of Malverne is looking to gather members and former presidents from the past 40 years to honor them at a special dinner. The group has helped connect local mothers in the village to share the experiences of motherhood.
“I just wanted to get out of the house,” said Mary Ann Frauenberger, the group’s co-founder, who recalled being pregnant with her first child, Jeanine, in 1976. “The majority of the population at that time was senior citizens. It was frustrating not having a group of people that you could form a community with, and there weren’t too many women in Malverne with small children at that point.”
Frauenberger, who lived in Malverne for more than 50 years, said she and co-founder Christine Tarpinian came up with the idea of creating a group for village mothers. It held its first meeting at the Malverne Public Library in 1978. Seventeen mothers attended.
“We decided at that point that the organization should not only be about our concerns as young mothers, but also opportunities to have fun,” Frauenberger said.
From there, the group developed several committees, including one for children’s programming, another for social plans and one for couples’ activities. Since the first meeting, more than 300 mothers have taken part in the group’s activities.
“There’s a thread that has connected all of us through the 40 years,” Frauenberger said. “It’s nice to see that other generations are finding the same experience.”
The group has enjoyed many of the village’s activities through the years, including the Memorial Day parade and Breakfast with Santa — and members have coordinated their own events, such as an annual Easter egg hunt, a yearly yard sale and Moms’ Night Out. The group has also taken part in philanthropic activities, and recently partnered with Bethany House, a nonprofit organization that aids homeless families in Nassau County, to help collect clothes and other items once a month.
“We have women of all ages, women of all races, and it’s a nice, diverse group that just embraces the power of women and motherhood,” said Kathleen Nolan-Kasal, a mother who has been with the group for more than a decade. “That’s the most important thing that we have in common.”
Nolan-Kasal said that traditionally, the group was for mothers with preschool-aged children. As the kids have grown up, she said, some of the mothers have moved on. Many of them, however, have maintained close friendships.
“In this day and age, when you don’t always have family close by and you need somebody to provide a little extra support,” Nolan-Kasal said, “it’s nice to know there’s a group out there. The membership has its ebbs and flows through the years, but the friendships I’ve made have continued to grow.”
“This is just a really exciting time, because it just shows the commitment to the community and the value of friendship,” said Sonia Bicocchi, co-president of MOMs. “The one thing that’s really awesome is hearing women say, ‘I met some of my best friends in this group 25 years ago, and we’re still friends.’ That’s awesome to me to see those little moments.”
Many of the mothers come from surrounding communities, including Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Hewlett, Oceanside and Rockville Centre.
“I feel that having not grown up here, the MOMs group has been such a big force and network of people,” said Elicia Corbett, a former president of the group who moved to Malverne from Brooklyn in 2009. “It’s been such a rewarding experience, and I’m looking forward to chatting with the past members to hear about their experiences.”
“It truly has held a very special place in our hearts,” Frauenberger said. “It’s really amazing that an organization that was just kind of founded on necessity becomes something that you want to stay connected to all these years.”
Bicocchi added that the goup is looking forward to catching up with fellow mothers, and that members can’t wait to celebrate what she described as the hardest job of all: motherhood.
The Mothers of Malverne will hold its 40th anniversary dinner on May 3 at the Stewart Manor Country Club.