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Latter-day Saint named Young Mother of the Year

By Rhett Wilkinson

Mormon Times

Published: Thursday, May 26 2011 5:30 a.m. MDT

Earlier this month, Shawni Eyre Pothier of Gilbert, Ariz., was named 2011 Young Mother of the Year by American Mothers, a national organization that seeks to "honor moms who make a difference," according to its website.

Pothier was recognized for, among other things, "striv(ing) to promote joy in the journey of motherhood." Her American Mothers online profile page also mentioned her efforts as a speaker in Time Out for Women, a retreat organized by Deseret Book; her work in writing "A Mother's Book of Secrets," which she co-authored with her mother, Linda Eyre; and for her graduation from Brigham Young University with a degree in social work.

Pothier was also recognized for her efforts to save her daughter from the effects of gradual retinal degeneration. With donations of friends and family, she recently raised nearly $28,000 for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a program she calls the I Love Lucy Project. Her blog, which comments on life, home and family, has also gained popularity.

"Shawni is strengthening America by her diligence in the home," said Andrea, the president of the San Antonio chapter of Mothers on a blog on the San Antonio Express-News' website. Andrea did not disclose her surname on the website. "Her children will grow up and already know how to make a difference in the world. She is a wonderful example of what it means to be an American Mother."

Pothier is one of several LDS mothers who have recently been recognized by American Mothers, Inc.

Last year, Diane Callister was chosen as the American Mothers state representative for California, and later as the national Mother of the Year during the annual conference that was at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The location is where the first award was given in 1935 to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt.

"I feel honored to promote our values and be a voice for traditional values," Callister said at the time in the LDS Church News. "I hope to be able to carry the responsibility wisely and promote the good values that we stand for."

Callister also holds positions as president of the Singer Foundation and as executive director of Project Give, Reuters reported in May 2010.

This year alone, nine LDS women were chosen as their state's mother of the year, while eight were selected as their state's young mother of the year.

Among the recipients was Sharlet Bouchelle, the mother of the year for Virginia. Bouchelle said she was overwhelmed when she found out she received the award for her state and tried to submit a new list of candidates to the search committee chair but was told they were confident in the choice they made.

Bouchelle did not know any of the other nominees prior to the convention, but after getting to know them, she felt honored and humbled to serve with them.

“They have already had a large influence in their families and communities with their involvement and service, and now their children are following their examples and doing much to make this world an even better place,” Bouchelle told LDS Living.

Other mothers, including Jacki Hunlow from Oregon, agreed that they felt both honored and overwhelmed when they were notified of their nomination.

“When I found out that I was selected to be the Mother of the Year for the state of Oregon, I was humbled and honored because of the wonderful women who have gone before me,” she told LDS Living.

American Mothers also honored LDS mothers the previous year. In 2010, 12 were chosen as state mothers of the year, with 11 being chosen as state young mothers of the year.

Email: rwilkinson@desnews.com

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