2014 State Young Mothers


Anita was born and raised in North Ridgeville, Ohio, a western suburb of Cleveland. She met her husband, of now 18 years, in a computer programming class at Bowling Green State University. She married, Bryan, in September of 1995. The next 8 years of being pregnant were a blur, as six little ones were added to her household. In order: Julia 1996, Jacob 1997, Jack 2000, Isaiah 2000, Grace 2002 and Garret 2003. The youngest starting school in 2008 brought new opportunities her way. She began taking in and caring for newborns through the foster system. This led to the miraculous adoption of her native Alaskan son, Ethan, in 2009. Two other precious infants have stolen a piece of her heart but moved on. She is greatly anticipating the arrival of another sweet baby within the month. She is excited to see where that leads.


Jill Geigle grew up in Mesa, AZ in a family full of love and laughter. Her mother taught her the important things in life while she was young, and Jill has tried her best to follow her mother’s teachings. Jill graduated from Brigham Young University in Communications. She married Jeremy Geigle and they have 7 children: Janie, Pete, Abe, Tessa, Marie, Hannah, and Faith. Jill was on the founding board for the Mesa Storytelling Festival. She and her husband started the Arizona Family Council, an organization that helps families primarily by fighting pornography and through internet safety education. Jill loves volunteering in cub scouts, classrooms, teaching music to children, and helping anywhere her children are experiencing life!


Jocelyn Hansen was born in Logan, Utah.  From age two through eight her family lived in Seattle as her father pursued his PhD in Audiology.  Her parents noticed her love and talent for music at age three, and began formal piano lessons.  Jocelyn continued with her piano studies after moving to California in 1987 and continued through 1996.  Jocelyn studied interior design at Utah State University.  She took a year off to study cosmetology, to pay her college expenses.  After obtaining her cosmetology license, she was hired by her beauty school to teach at night.  Jocelyn is still heavily involved in music, participating in and directing both adult and children’s choirs at her church, as well as accompanying special performances as requested.  She has an amazing talent as a piano accompanist.  Jocelyn and her husband have been married for 12 years and have 4 children; three girls and one boy.   Her family is her full time job, and she works as a hairstylist some evenings and Saturdays.


The oldest of five children, Kat Reynold’s parents taught her at an early age the importance of determination, love, faith, obedience, and work. Those virtues helped her when her mother became bed-ridden when she was thirteen. As a child her greatest loves included her family, church, reading, gymnastics, and being outside. She attended Southern Virginia University, a small liberal arts school where she met her husband. They had their first child a year and a half after they were married. Now in their fourteenth year of marriage, they feel blessed to be the parents of eight healthy and happy children, including two set of twins with one more baby on the way. With what little free time she has, Kat enjoys doing activities individually with her children, including riding their horses, hiking, games, and reading to them. After several moves and pregnancies, a few heartaches, and countless joys, her family settled into a home tucked in the mountains of Colorado.


Katie Hayden is married to LTC Steve Hayden, US Army Reserve, currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Her children are Dakota, 18, Brittany, 17, Levi, 8, Logan, 7, and Katie Brooke, 2. The oldest three are adopted. She attended Queens University of Charlotte where she earned degrees in Biology and Spanish. She also holds an masters in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Florida. She has worked in the Education Department at Callaway Gardens, and as a teacher at LaGrange Academy and in Monroe County, GA. Deeply involved with church and the community, she is currently a full time homemaker and thoroughly enjoys the responsibilities and rewards that are a part of daily life. The family lives on a small farm near Griffin, Georgia with six horses and a family flock of hens and are very close to extended family.


Originally from Kauai, Heidi Kim currently resides in Aiea, Hawaii. Heidi graduated cum laude with a Marketing degree from Santa Clara University. She and college sweetheart Edwin Sniffen married in 1997 and spent time in Oregon advancing their professional careers before returning to Hawaii to raise their children. Today Heidi enjoys a full life as a mother of three boys (Sam, and twins Simon and Eli), marketing executive at engineering firm R.M. Towill Corporation, and active supporter of community causes. She has lent her time to the March of Dimes, Girl Scouts, American Diabetes Association, and Kamehameha Schools parent leadership team. She is a founding board member of Move Oahu Forward, a coalition of Hawaii business and community leaders, and assists in the oversight of her company’s corporate giving program. Heidi believes in the power and responsibility of mothers to support positive growth opportunities for their children, families, and communities.


Laura Alvarez Schrag is a first generation Mexican-American. Laura’s gives thanks to her father and mother (deceased) for providing her with her strong Catholic faith and work ethic. 23 years ago Laura’s passions were her education and career. Being a wife and mother were not on the agenda. But then she fell in love with Tim. They have been married over 20 years and are blessed to be raising four incredible sons. Ever the Project Manager, each son was born a perfect three years apart. They are now 15, 12, 9 and 6. Laura strongly believes in a work-life balance and while owning a consulting firm with her husband requires extensive travel, the blessings in her life have also allowed Laura to further her passions for community service and family by serving on numerous community boards and also spending invaluable time volunteering at her sons’ school and sporting events.


Shawna Weber is mother to Jack and Lucy. She lives in Illinois with her husband, Zach, and their 2 dogs Taco and Clark. Prior to having children, she received her degree in Political Science from Illinois State University, and went on to start her Master’s degree at University of Phoenix. Shawna worked full time in the banking and insurance industry before and after she had children. Shawna’s life took a dramatic turn on December 26, 2010 when her youngest child, Lucy was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She spent the next 3 years taking care of her daughter, advocating for childhood cancer, and fundraising for awareness and a cure. Shawna has published a book “2 Kids a Taco and Cancer”, been guest speaker for numerous seminars for childhood cancer, and is a part of the 46 mommas, where she raised money and shaved her head for Childhood Cancer awareness.


Kandra Powell was raised on a farm in rural Iowa by her parents, Kerri and Alan Nicholas. She had two younger brothers, Skyler and Trever. When she was 5 they moved to Bedford. Kandra graduated high school in 1999 and then went on to graduate college with her Bachelors degree in 2003 from Northwest Missouri State University. In August of 2003 she married her high-school sweetheart Clint Powell. The couple moved to Omaha, after graduation where Kandra worked for Von Maur in their Executive Training Program, she went on to become a buyer for Gordmans in 2005 until 2009. The couple welcomed their first child a boy, Camden Bradford Powell in 2008 and Kandra decided to change positions a year later so she didn't have to travel so much and spend more time with her family. In March of 2009 she was hired as a Recruiter for Aureus Medical. In 2011 they made the decision to move from Omaha back to Bedford to raise their growing family. Their second son, Parker Alan Powell was born in October of 2011. Kandra became the Branch Manager of the Great Western Bank in Bedford and Clint was hired as a teacher for Clarinda Academy. Clint and Kandra and their two boys reside in Bedford, where both sets of grandparents live as well as their siblings and families.


Cassandra Normandeau was raised with two siblings, a younger sister who passed away of cancer after an eight year battle, and an older brother. Raised by divorced but loving parents, she became a mother early taking on her boyfriends newborn child. Three years later she became a mother again with a healthy baby boy, raising the two boys was difficult in an abusive relationship but she made due the best she could, finding a way to leave the abusive relationship with both children was a battle that she won, adopting the older child and making her way on her own. Three years later she was in a great relationship with a great man, and bore another son! Unfortunatly, the tragedy of her spouse's suicide hit the family hard. Cassandra continued to work two sometimes four jobs and take care of her three sons with the help of her parents, friends and family members.


Nikki Morgan Butler was born and raised in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended high school at Hillcrest High and graduated from the University of Utah. Nikki married her husband, Richard Butler in 1997 and before starting a family, helped open and manage a popular Salt Lake restaurant.  In 1999, Nikki’s first child, George James was born, followed by her daughter, Lulu La Pearl in 2002. In 2002 the Butler’s moved to Portland, Oregon and then relocated again in 2004 to the East Bay of San Francisco for Richard’s work. In 2006, third child, Ruby Nicole, was born and six months later, embarked on another family move to Henderson, Nevada. The Butler family has lived in Green Valley for over seven years and welcomed their bonus baby, Posie Pye in 2011. Nikki serves on the PTO, enjoys her callings in church and takes pride in being a stay at home mom to her children.


Lindsey Cottam Nelson was born and raised in Southern California as the oldest of six children. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors Degree in English and then went on to graduate from Brigham Young University Law School. She practiced law for a short time before marrying Matthew Nelson and having five children. (Four boys and one little girl.) She has enjoyed moving around the country with her husband and kids as he completed his medical training. They are now loving the adventure of North Dakota. Lindsey keeps busy with her children and their various activities, her role as PTL co-president at the boys’ school, church responsibilities, and her hobbies of cooking and interior decorating.


Stephanie Brady was born in Oklahoma to a very unique family. Stephanie’s upbringing was far from “normal.” Moving states often, raised with therapeutic foster siblings, spending time in third world countries, attending to daily needs of Alzheimer’s patients in her home and developing a passion for basketball developed character within Stephanie that prepared her with strength needed for adulthood. While playing basketball in college, Stephanie married her sweetheart. Tragedy struck that left Stephanie entering motherhood, alone. Trials and challenges of being a widowed single mother continued to shape Stephanie’s faith and character. Two years later, God’s faithful plan brought Rickey to Stephanie. Eight years later, Rickey and Stephanie are humbled by life’s course they are privileged to ride on. Blending a family, raising five children, leading Bible studies, marriage groups, young mothers clubs, teaching cooking classes, coaching basketball and much more are hopefully only the beginning of what Stephanie’s journey has in store.


Donya Stevenson was given a crash course in the emotions that come along with parenting when her daughter was born prematurely and spent 2 months in the NICU. Doctors discovered that her daughter had an extremely rare metabolic mutation, being only the 5th in the world to be diagnosed. While this situation has been extremely challenging, Donya has taken the approach that she was specifically chosen to be the mother of this special child. She spends her free time on the NICU Advisory Board of Penn State Hershey Medical Center working with the Neonatologists in the hope of being able to detect metabolic diseases much earlier in children. She also works very closely with the National Institute of Health to ensure every opportunity to learn from her daughter in hope of helping future children.  When she is not focused on research of metabolic diseases, Donya enjoys spending time with her family. She volunteers in several organizations and prides herself on being the best version of herself that she can be.


Zoely Figueroa García has dedicated her life to her family, civic service and her church. During her college years she married her high school boyfriend and best friend, Ricardo. In their 18 year marriage they have been blessed with four children. At the age of 27 she opened her own business successfully transitioning from a stay at home mom to a business women. Throughout her life she has volunteered to church and different organizations but after the sudden loss of one of her daughters she became more determined to help improve the quality of life of children in her community. Presently she manages a program in one of the oldest and largest non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico assisting pregnant teens, children with special needs, and battered women. She is currently establishing and managing her second program assisting at-risk youth and students with special needs that will launch in early 2014.


Tama Ledford is not only a mother, but a teacher, wife and mother. She graduated from Northwest High School in Whitfield County. Five years later she graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Early Childhood education. She took her degree back to her home city of Tunnel Hill, Georgia where she became a kindergarten teacher at New Hope Elementary. This is her thirteenth year in her school. Ten years ago she married Hayes Ledford and moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Tama and Hayes wanted to be parents, eight years ago they suffered a miscarriage but two months later was blessed with a new pregnancy, who is now our sweet Sydney. After three and half years of being a mother God blessed us with our vivacious Charlotte. Tama is one of the luckiest women alive to be so blessed with two of the sweetest girls in the world.


Jessica Merrifield was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She went to college at Brigham Young University Idaho were she studied Culinary Arts and Photography. Jessica met her husband, Will while attending there. Will and Jessica were married in 2006 in the Salt Lake City LDS temple. They have five children, Gabrielle and Kensington who are twin seven year olds, Cambrie who is five, William who is three and Manning who is eleven months old. Her hobbies are sewing, decorating, painting, drawing, watching movies while doing loads of laundry, organizing, photography, and pinning hopeful projects on Pinterest in the wee hours of the morning. She currently resides with her husband and children in Colleyville, Texas.


Breanne Bolingbroke Meline grew up in Granada Hills, Los Angeles, California, with her parents Michael Ralph Bolingbroke, Treena Jensen Bolingbroke and five siblings. After graduating from high school, Breanne attended Brigham Young University. She focused on serving a mission for the LDS Church and had her papers ready to submit when her now husband asked her to delay those plans until later in life. Breanne married Preston George Meline shortly after the proposal. Seven children later, Breanne could not be more in her element, teaching her children and learning the joys and trials that encompass motherhood. She understands what it's like to raise a dyslexic son, and has learned that challenges and trials bring strength. Breanne enjoys reading, running, quilting, and cooking with her children. She loves using idioms, quoting lines from random movies or songs, and given the chance, would leave tomorrow on a road trip with her family!


Sarah Passey was born in 1974 in California and was raised mostly in Utah. She was the oldest of 7 and became one of 14 when her cousins were adopted by her parents in 1992. Sarah married Jared Passey in 1993 and they are the parents of 7 children. They have lived in Washington twice, for a total of 11 years. Their oldest two sons are Eagle Scouts, and their oldest son is serving a church mission in New York and Brazil. Sarah has tried hard to remain a stay-at-home mom and currently works 10 hours a week from home as a medical transcriptionist. She has a 10-month-old daughter and loves being home for her 5 school-age children when they come home each day. She loves to read, exercise, teach her children, play games, cook, and go camping with her family. She volunteers as a church teacher for 12- and 13-year-old girls.


Amy spent much of her childhood happily busy with her nine younger siblings. A pianist, oboist, and academic, Amy graduated a year early from high school and attended Brigham Young University on scholarship. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English; she has worked as a writing tutor, editor, and research assistant and has published curricula for preschool through college levels. Amy currently focuses on supporting her husband, Eric, in his training as an ophthalmologist and on raising their five sons, including one with Spina Bifida. Amy founded and coaches a Geography Club and Math Olympiads team and actively supports Cub Scouting packs, including numerous community service projects. She helps lead the children’s worship service at her church and performs as the church organist. She personally reaches out to support moms and families in her community. Amy is a marathon-finisher, lifelong volunteer, and survivor of a debilitating autoimmune condition.