When school authorities tell a single mother of two that they “aren’t required to assist” her 6-year-old daughter with special needs, what is a mother to do? One particular mother decided to become an authoritative figure of her own organization and help her daughter in her own special way.
Jaye Wilson; a self-driven mother of two young girls ages 6 and 9, drives her family around town on a crisp spring day, chuckling at a joke her daughter made during our phone interview. Animated and exuberant, Jaye’s youngest daughter Ava can be heard in the back of the car squealing in delight as she plays with her sister, Nadiyah. Only Ava wasn’t always the talkative young girl she is today—just seven months ago she hardly spoke at all.
“I think for me it was difficult to see [Ava] very withdrawn because she’s a very vibrant kid,” Jaye states somberly, recalling her daughter’s first year in elementary school. Taking a deep breath, Jay continues: “But when she started school she was afraid to speak because she could hear that she sounded different.”
Unbeknownst to Jaye, the usually bubbly Ava would become bashful and reclusive when approached by other classmates at school.
Internally tormented, Ava confessed she didn’t like going to school when prodded by her mother one day after school.
“I didn’t like it,” Ava would tearfully confess before going on to say “[the other children] didn’t even know what I was saying — I don’t want to speak all!”
Feeling frustrated, Jaye turned to her daughter’s school board of education for assistance with Ava’s developmental delays and learning disabilities, even writing a letter to the mayor of New Jersey.
“I got nothing back in return, nothing,” Jaye says, her voice full of disappointment.
Having minimal support from her children’s father, and with extended family in an entirely different state, Jaye suddenly had an epiphany.
With personal funding, Jaye created a company called Melinated Moms – an organization set out to connect different single mother’s worldwide to support one another through social events, women empowerment seminars, and mommy and me gatherings.
With the support of other single mothers like herself, Jaye found that she no longer had to be alone and could confide in and lean on others, who in turn would do the same for each other.
Melinated Moms now has over 1,477 members, and not only provided ways to meet and support other women going through struggles of being an independent parent of a child with learning disabilities but led to acquiring different techniques to try with Ava with assistance from the Children’s Specialized Hospital.
“[The hospital] show me how to do certain verbal exercises with Ava, like position my mouth a certain way when sounding out certain words,” Jaye says with pride.
Within just nine months, Ava began to vocalize her words without struggle, and truly found her voice — Jaye even found a new school to for Ava to transition into with ease.
Jaye found that she owed a lot of Ava’s improvement to the constant support of the sisterhood of mothers in Melinated Moms, and assistance from The Children’s Specialized Hospital.
To pay it forward, Jaye decided to assemble her team of mom’s to participate in The Children’s Specialized Hospital’s 12th Annual Walk n’ Roll Charity Walk in New Jersey this upcoming May, to help raise money for over 30,000 children with health care needs; much like her own daughter’s just one year ago.
The charity walk encourages all invited to donate what they can, and take a step towards aiding children affected by developmental disabilities. As for the best part of the charitable cause for Jaye?
“I am excited to be apart of this with [my] kids,” said Jaye.“It means a lot to know I can lean on so many other women as well – it keeps me motivated.”