Early Mother’s Day surprise: Meet Connecticut’s Mother of the Year

New Haven

It came as a complete shock for Karen Mowad. When she’s not busy being the town clerk, you can usually find her doing charity work or supporting her children at activities in the community — her biological child, her adopted child, and her three foster children.

 “We help them have a good life, too, and she also runs fundraisers,” her 11-year-old daughter, Makendra said. “Programs to help people in need.”

Karen says she makes it a priority to show her children the importance of kindness and giving back.

“I try to instill mostly charity and kindness in my own children,” Karen said.

Related: Dr. Patty Ann Tublin’s Tuesday Tips of Advice for Mother’s Day

And she likes to lead by example. That’s why when she volunteers at a local non-profit called the Wolcott Grange, she makes sure her children are with her, too. One special project of hers is helping to prepare the community garden there for Spring because the vegetables it produces will end up either at the food pantry or at senior citizens homes.

She’s also responsible for a clothing donation program getting off the ground and she started a program that recognizes acts of kindness.

Related: Stretch Your Dollar: The perfect tech gifts for moms on Mother’s Day

A good friend of hers named Jo-Ann Fonseca secretly wrote a letter to an organization called American Mothers nominating Karen for consideration of the big honor, and it worked. Karen won.

“It touches my heart because there’s so many good moms out there who do so many good things and a lot of the moms don’t get recognition that they deserve,” she said.

Karen just returned from Washington, D.C. where all of the outstanding moms from all 50 states gathered to get the recognition they deserve. And for Karen, the simplest of recognition may be the sweetest.

“I love you mom,” Makendra said. 

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