Sara Binkley-Tow / Co-Founder and Executive Director
Sara’s passion to help families developed through her own personal experience. Sara did not have the physical and emotional support in place after her daughter was born and after her son was born 21 months later. She struggled in her new role as a stay-at-home mom and was discouraged by the competition and judgments that existed with other moms. She struggled with high anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and intrusive thoughts. Like many new moms, her confidence was low, and she questioned her abilities as a parent. Only through her further training and education did she self-diagnose herself with postpartum depression. With no history of mental illness in her family, she realized all families were vulnerable to this illness and she did not want another mom to suffer like she did…in silence.
Sara eventually found support and solace through a group of women that gave her positive feedback and provided the nonjudgmental physical and emotional support she needed. The women-to-women, mother-to-mother connection was vital to Sara’s confidence as a new mom. Sara is also grateful for the time her own mother spent with her after her children were born. Her mom did not live in the area so she traveled to spend a week with her family. She cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, held the baby so she could nap or shower and emotionally supported her. It was the little things that made a difference to a very insecure mom and was part of Sara’s inspiration to start MomsBloom.
Sara has been in the nonprofit world for over 20 years in a variety of industries. She has a master’s degree in Family Studies from Michigan State University. Sara is also a certified infant massage instructor, postpartum doula and Happiest Baby on the Block educator. Sara has served on a variety of boards and feels the best part of her job is building meaningful relationships and advocating on behalf of family issues. Sara welcomes you to connect with her on LinkedIn.
Angie Walters / Co-Founder, Program Director and Cameron’s Garden Coordinator
Angie wears many hats at MomsBloom. She is not only a co-founder and Program Director, she also coordinates Cameron’s Garden as a volunteer. She is a big believer in Ghandi’s thought, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Angie has witnessed the powerful impact that women can create by supporting each other. She is honored to help facilitate this type of support.
Angie earned her master’s degree in education from Michigan State University and enjoyed teaching elementary school before her children were born. She stayed home with her two sons before helping launch MomsBloom. Angie struggled at first as a new mom. She felt cut off from civilization (both boys were born during winter) and felt inadequate and overwhelmed. Family support was a few hours away.
Angie was thrilled to find a support group for moms and began to form her support system. She found comfort and strength in her peers. A community of women can be so empowering and nurturing.
Angie went on to become certified as a Postpartum Doula (DONA) and when Sara approached her with the idea of MomsBloom and the thought of offering free services to families, she knew this was her next calling. Angie enjoys her role at MomsBloom and says, “My job as a volunteer coordinator has allowed me to meet many mothers, volunteers, fathers, and children. I am awed on a daily basis at the giving nature of those in our community. I hope to continue to help many more moms bloom!”
Katie Reitemeier / Family Coordinator
Katie comes to MomsBloom to honor the many gifts and lessons that Motherhood has to offer. She has a master’s degree in Medical Ethics from Michigan State University, works as a Professional Massage Therapist at Spectrum Oncology and happily considers her role as a parent her highest calling. In an effort to promote the importance of parenthood, she first joined the MomsBloom family as a volunteer Board Member, working to support the mission of MomsBloom through educational and fundraising efforts. As she came to know more of the MomsBloom families, she expressed a desire to work directly with families because she too had experienced, in her early parenting years, the feelings of isolation and vulnerability that many mothers face today. As the Family Coordinator, Katie feels a strong sense of purpose in encouraging new mothers to trust their inner wisdom as they navigate the early months of parenthood, and to additionally feel empowered to ask for and receive help in order to make the transition into parenthood a healthy and joyful one. In the bringing together of volunteers and new mothers, an amazing exchange of gifts occurs in which everybody benefits. Moms get a sense of support and encouragement and rejuvenation, and volunteers witness that their presence and hands-on partnering can make a difference not only to the vitality of the new mom, but to her whole family. In this way, the vision of MomsBloom helps build an enhanced form of community – one that recognizes and affirms that our interconnection through each chapter of life make us part of the One Village. Katie considers it an honor to work with all the women and families who contribute to this vision.
Rachael Hamilton / Program Assistant
Rachael has been volunteering with MomsBloom since 2011. With her first match a family with a single newborn, her second twins, and her third triplets, she was ready to bring her involvement with MomsBloom to a new level and is excited to be in the role of Program Assistant in addition to volunteer. She has a double major in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies from Grand Valley State University. Through her work she seeks to increase support in a world where community can be elusive, encourage education of women’s health, and listen to women’s stories.
Erica Guthaus / Doula Liaison
In early 2004, working as a full time nanny, Erica quickly understood that the rest of her life would be dedicated to equipping, encouraging and supporting growth in families and the amazing people who work with them. After the birth of her first child in 2005, she realized just how challenging the transition into parenthood could be. She was exhausted and lonely. Making connections usually meant stretching so far outside of her comfort zone that it often didn’t feel worth the effort. How amazing it would have been to receive support from MomsBloom back then!
Now, over 10 years later, Erica has personally experienced the trials and excitement of bringing home a new baby four times and walked alongside countless growing families. As a doula, she has had the privilege of learning from some of the most experienced birth professionals in West Michigan as well as studying with Childbirth International and Mercy In Action. Erica works hard to blend her personal and professional experience into being a doula that works with a welcoming heart and open mind. As a result, she is passionate about making doula support accessible to everyone, regardless of personal circumstances and works tirelessly to further that mission. She is excited to join the MomsBloom team and bring that energy to the Community Based Doula Pilot.
Jenn Palm / Social Media Manager
Jenn joined MomsBloom as a volunteer in 2012, when her son was only one year old. She had experienced great support when her son was born and wanted to “pay it forward.” Volunteering with Flourishing Families with a young child was a difficult balance, so she looked for other ways to support MomsBloom. Jenn graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations, and is now completing the graduate program in Communications. Her graduate research interests include narratives/storytelling as a means of healing, women’s issues in the media, and social media’s impact on social justice issues. She uses her knowledge of social media, digital marketing, and technical writing to help forward the MomsBloom mission.