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COVER STORY | Generations of Mom Power


WEST SUBURBAN MOMS SHARE ABOUT THE STRONG BOND GENERATIONS IN THEIR FAMILY SHARE • CLICK HERE TO VOTE! FOR YOUR FAVORITE FAMILY BEFORE MAY 15, 2018

One Featured Family will win Brunch for 10 Catered in their Home by Belgio's Catering and a Glancer Magazine photographer to capture your special day. To Vote, Follow Our Main Page on Facebook Here, View the Gallery at the Top of Glancer Magazine's Page and Click "Like" on Your Favorite Photo from this Feature. Deadline to Vote is May 15, 2018 at 5pm/

#1 Stephanie Salansky & Family of Downers Grove

A Strong Love for Family Alexandria’s grandmother was always a leader, letting her opinions be known even if others did not approve. She was also extremely intelligent, attending the University of Illinois at 16! She instilled in all of her children that knowledge is power and was so proud that each of her children excelled in school, graduated from college and continued on with post-graduate studies. Alexandria’s mother, Stephanie took her studies and launched a career in the medical technology field as well as the educational sector; yet, also managed to be very involved with church activities, the PTA, and community service as an active member of the Downers Grove Junior Women’s club. “The women in this family are extremely independent and capable of achieving high success in whatever they do,” Stephanie says. Before kids, Alexandria continued the working mom tradition as a school social worker, but left her career to work part-time at the Starbucks Reserve Bar in Naperville so she could have the flexibility to be home with her daughters. “Family is very important to me,” Alexandria says. “I was raised very closely with my extended family. Family is my foundation and I’m not sure I would get through many of life’s challenges without the support of my family.” As Alexandria’s daughters grow, she hopes they mature into supportive, empathetic, and loving young women and realize they too can do anything they put their mind to.

PICTURED: Stephanie Salansky of Downers Grove with Granddaughters and Her Daughter, Alexandria Gohla of Naperville.

#2 Alyssa Lebo and Family of Naperville

Mom Power In a New Generation Nothing speaks more powerful than a new mom who works full-time as a middle school special education teacher for the Chicago Public School System while earning her masters in educational leadership. Jennifer represents the epitome of Mom Power in the new age.

“I am so proud of all my daughters’ resilient work ethic, confident independence, strong character, inner beauty, and unconditional love for their family,” says Jennifer’s mom Doreen. “I love watching my daughters be a part of a new generation that are receiving higher paying jobs, allowing them to be self-sufficient and independent.”

Doreen learned the importance of traditions and high standards from her mother Phyllis who always ensured her kids were at church and together for family dinners on Sundays. Doreen treasures her memories of going to the Jersey Shore with her mom when she was young and now looks forward hanging out at Harbor Chase with all the seniors each week!

Life can bring tough moments too, but according to Alyssa she learned from her mom Doreen to never give up. Jennifer agrees that her family has always acted as her roots and is always there to pick her up whenever she is down, ensuring to always create the best memories ever.

PICTURED: Alyssa Lebo and sons Christopher and Connor Kim of Naperville; Doreen Lebo; Phyllis DiFranco of Downers Grove/Naperville; and Jennifer Lebo and son Jacob Frazier, Chicago

#3 Hailey Berendt & Family of Oswego

Cherishing Time Spent Together

Who knew that back in the day when Mary had to drive her mom to the grocery store every Tuesday it would become her most treasured memory of time spent; or when Kim and her family moved in with her mom Mary while their home was being built - that this too would become a blessing in disguise. “She helped me raise my kids during that time,” Kim says. “I am very proud of the adults my children have become; they are hard workers and are becoming very successful.” Kim sees the respect they have for others and knows she and her mom had a strong hand in cultivating that reverence. To Kim, Mom Power is knowing you have a job and making sure everyone is taken care of – clothes on their backs, food on the table. She believes she gave her daughter Hailey all the right tools to help her raise her daughter, Ella, but will always be available to help her whenever because that’s what mom power is all about. Family means forever love and support to Hailey and she is grateful for the close relationship she has with her mother and grandmother. She values their traditional Sunday dinners and hopes they continue for years to come. Hailey looks forward to building new experiences with Ella and can’t wait for the day she joins them all to get their nails done!

PICTURED: Hailey Berendt, Ella Bayer, Kim Berendt, Oswego Mary Pesce, Huntley

#4 Caryn Camp & Family of Glen Ellyn

Women of Strength Caryn identifies Mom Power with being a strong woman having values while raising her four children (ages 7, 10, 25, and 28) to be the best they can be and never give up! “They can do anything they set their minds to and I want them to achieve the highest values in life experiences and learn that life will not always be easy but to continue to fight for what you believe in and what you want,” Caryn says. Caryn’s mom Jacquelynn passed these strong core values on while also teaching Caryn to fully appreciate good manners and morals. Jacquelynn also sees empowerment through high-tech advances; and although she sees how technology and social media have created some stressors for kids today, she also believes these developments have provided great influence if used correctly. Caryn believes she and her kids have taken advantage of the advances and used them wisely as she has successfully owned and operated a Medical Business with her husband for the past 18 years and her oldest daughter Brittany is a 1st Grade ESL teacher moving onto her Masters. Caryn believes that the power of success runs deep and is certain moments like her daughter Courtney spending time at the museums and enjoying walks in the park with her two young children will be the foundation of carrying on mom power for generations to come.

PICTURED: Caryn Camp of Glen Ellyn and Daughters Brittany Smith of Glen Ellyn & Courtney Rose of Wheaton. Jacquelynn Hilliard from Schaumburg Is Also Pictured

#5 Jennifer Koch & Family of Batavia

Do-It-All Mom Power Prior to being a stay at home mom and part of the Batavia Mothers Club Foundation, Jennifer worked as an executive administrator in office management. She is a firm believer that Mom Power means doing it all.

“Being sick and still taking care of your littles - sacrificing things for yourself to give to your kids; networking with other moms for support and to help get things done,” Jennifer says. “There are no limits to Mom Power!”

Jennifer’s mom, Linda loves watching her daughter value the importance of family and embracing everyone’s differences. She believes that women today are much better mothers than years ago. “I know that my daughter is one of the best mothers I’ve ever seen. Women today are totally invested in their children, especially in their most formative years, which ensures a better, brighter future for all; children that are confident who will thrive because of that loving force always there for them,” Linda says.

Taking a little something from each grandmother, her mother, her aunts, and her cousins, Jennifer says she learned a lot growing up from all the generations of moms in her family. She feels they have helped shape her into the mom she is today and hopes their family traditions of being there for each other through the tough times and celebrating holidays together lasts forever!

PICTURED: Jennifer Koch and Her Children Nicholas & Charlotte, from Batavia with Her Mom, Linda Kaper of Elmwood Park

#6 Joan and Jayce Benedetto of Batavia

Grandma Extraordinaire

Most grandmas have been married a long time and have lots of grandchildren; but unlike many, Joan and her husband, Ray have full custody of two of their grandsons due to a very unfortunate circumstance.

Jayce was only eight days old when her daughter, Stacey collapsed. She had a defect in an artery to her heart that no one knew about. Joan was with Stacey when she passed.

“When Stacey died, my husband and I just knew that seeking custody of Jayce and his brother was the right thing to do,” Joan says. “While Jayce knows that his mother is in Heaven, and we are really his grandparents, we are ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ to him.”

Joan has three surviving children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She has been married 47-years. She credits her very strong faith and supportive children for the ability to sustain such a tragic loss in her life.

There are, of course, tough days, but Stacey lives on through Jayce. He has his mother’s eyes - an unusual blue/green. “It is eerie sometimes, looking into that sweet little face, but comforting at the same time,” she says. “He has a deep love and appreciation for nature and for all things of the sea just as Stacey did and he loves holiday decorations and office supplies. That is so her!”

When Jayce was only 18 months, Joan faced another curve ball after he had been battling a viral cold. Because he was so little, he couldn’t tell her of headaches and blurred vision for example, so his cold looked just like a cold. It wasn’t until he woke up from a nap with labored breathing that they went to the emergency room suspecting pneumonia; only to find out he was experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a serious complication of Type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes is a very fluid disease. There are so many factors that affect blood sugar such as types of foods eaten, activity level, type of exercise, and even the weather, so it is Joan’s mission to create awareness through her involvement with the Beyond Type 1 Prevent DKA Campaign about the warning signs of diabetes which include excessive thirst, frequent urination, bedwetting, vision change, headaches, rapid weight loss, increased appetite, irritability, mood changes, fatigue, weakness, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fruit breath odor, and heavy breathing.

Learn more about the Prevent DKA Campaign at www.beyondtype1.org/our-dka-campaign/

PICTURED: Joan and Jayce Benedetto of Batavia

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