WASHINGTON (DC News Now) –Mother’s Day is a day to honor and celebrate Mom. Sadly, a lot of girls can’t. Mother’s Day is a sad day for them.
But there is a unique organization in the DMV which reminds these girls they are not alone on their day to honor mom.
Aura Gallanar and Margot Cohen hang out a lot, both in and out of school. “We have a lot of fun together because she is my music teacher. I get to see her all the time, so I have fun with her all the time because we’re in class together,” Gallanar said.
Margot is one of Aura’s teachers at Wheaton High School. But they also share a special bond. One that is deeper than teacher and student.
“I get to connect with someone that knows exactly what I went through and there are just not a lot of other people like that when you first lose your mom,” Gallanar commented.
Aura lost her mom last year to pancreatic cancer when she was just 16 years old and a junior in high school. Margot lost her mother, too, one week after her 15th birthday.
“It’s been really nice to be able to help someone else who has a similar situation to me. I’ve been kind of isolated and it’s a very isolating experience to lose your mother at such a young age,” Cohen said.
Margot is a mentor to Aura through EmpowerHER. The non-profit connects women who lost their mothers when they were young girls with young girls who also lost their moms.
“My mom died when I was 9 years old. She had breast cancer and she was sick for two years. After she died, I’d say, the pictures sort of came off the wall and our family just moved on. I felt super isolated and different because this is the one thing that made you super different from everyone you’re in elementary school or high school with,” said Cara Belvin.
Belvin founded EmpowerHER from her Massachusetts home in 2013. EmpowerHER offers retreats and social gatherings throughout the year in cities across the country, including Washington, D.C. Plus, they offer a unique one-on-one mentorship program.
The goal is to make sure girls, like Aura, have what they need in their time of grief. “Finding an organization that supports people like me that has just recently lost my mom is just padding, like a mattress under my fall,” Gallanar said.
As of 2023, EmpowerHER serves all children who have lost a parent. There is a Luminaria at the Lincoln Memorial on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14th at 6 p.m.