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state mother of the year
Marlene Peterson, 2024 Virginia Mother of the Year.

Marlene Peterson

February 13, 2024



Marlene Peterson and her husband, Brent, are the parents of eight daughters and one son and grandparents of twenty grandchildren. A graduate of Brigham Young University in Child Development and Family Relations, Marlene is president of Libraries of Hope and finder of the Well-Educated Heart philosophy of learning. She believes in the power of the Arts to heal our troubled world. She has shared her message in numerous conferences, including the World Congress of Families IX held in Salt Lake City. She has collected over 250 volumes of stories for families as well as compiled a manual for Restoring the Art of Storytelling in the Home. She is the President of a non-profit, Belle Ame Center for Artful Living and co-founded a community of mothers, Mothers of Influence. She interacts daily with nearly 14,000 members of her Well-Educated Heart Facebook group. She and her husband enjoy peaceful country living in Virginia, blissfully surrounded by the stories of history.

Parenting Philosophy

My parenting philosophy is simple: Love your children and trust in God. Love covers a multitude of inadequacies and heaven somehow makes up the difference. Loving means paying attention to them and enjoying spending time with them. I can honestly say there hasn’t been a single stage in the lives of my children I have not enjoyed and been grateful for. I loved them as babies and I loved them as teenagers. And now that all of my children are grown up, they are my best friends. Every day I am on the phone with at least one of them as we work through struggles and celebrate successes and life events. As our family circle grows, so does my capacity to love. I delight in the emerging personalities of each one of my grandchildren and cherish time spent with them. I will never tire of their hugs and giggles.

Motherhood and Community

For the last 20 years, as President of Libraries of Hope, my message has been that Mothers matter because they are closest to our world’s most important natural resource–the hearts of our children. Over 14,000 mothers have gathered from around the world who seek to preserve a culture of faith, freedom and family and a love of the good, the true and the beautiful. We use the Arts- Music, Story, Visual Arts and Poetry- as well as a love of nature to do our work. I created Libraries of Hope to house free resources that carry a message of hope, including the Forgotten Classics Family Library where I have collected over 250 volumes of stories from a Golden Age of Children’s Literature as well as a curated library of over 4000 books that can be read online, for free. I have recorded hundreds of hours of audio stories, listened to by many young people who know me as Grandma Marlene. I love to share what I have learned about using the Arts in a free course called Catch the Vision of the Well-Educated Heart which leads to a Mothers University for deeper study in the Mothers of Influence community. Recently, I spearheaded an effort to create an online community platform called Belle Ame at Home, the fundraising arm of a non-profit charitable organization, Belle Ame Center for Artful Living. This center will be a beautiful home campus to continue our work, through which we will share the message that great things can be accomplished through small and simple means.