It Takes A Village: YourMomCares, A Conversation With Sharon Feldstein & Patsy Noah
Recently we caught up Sharon Feldstein (mom to Jonah Hill and Beanie Feldstein) and Patsy Noah (Adam Levine’s Mom), the celebrity mama duo (and lifelong friends) behind YourMomCares, an organization devoted to kids mental health.
In advance of our Mommy & Me event (details below) in which they play co-host at the HATCH Brentwood store on December 12th, we spent the afternoon discussing the vital work they do with moms across the country.
Here, with gratitude in focus, these stellar women reflect on the power of banding together as grandmothers and mothers, The Mobile Moms Fund they’ve enacted, how Michelle Obama dubbed YourMomCares, and why real change takes a village. @yourmomcares #YMC
How did Michelle Obama name your organization?
Several years ago, President Obama asked the mother’s of a few famous people, including JLO’s mom, Alicia Keys’ mother, and myself, to do a PSA for The Affordable Care Act. Patsy and I filmed a Q&A in my kitchen while playing Back Gammon, and the video went viral with a million hits in an hour! At the end of the video, Michelle Obama says, “We nag you because we love you #yourmomcares.”
I come from a career in branding and marketing, so I jumped on the slogan. The name was brilliant and perfect. I called the White House and asked if I could own the brand YourMomCares. We then got invited to the White House and had a meeting with the President in the Roosevelt Room and Oval Office. In the end, they let me trademark the name.
What’s the focus of YourMomCares?
We believe mental health is the most devasting issue affecting the world right now. Every major crisis happening in the world affects mental health. Usually, when I’m talking about this, I hold up a blank piece of paper and ask my audience if they see anything on the paper? The answer is always “no,” which is what mental health issues look like in kids — no one ever sees it or notices it until it’s too late.
You see an adorable kid with a smile, and the next day they attempt to kill themselves. Suicide is the number two killer in the US for ten years old, and up, second to car accidents.
“At the end of the video, Michelle Obama says, ‘We nag you because we love you #yourmomcares.’ And so began YMC.”
Current YourMomCares initiatives?
We have voices because our kids have notoriety and we must use them. We recently collaborated with Lingua Franca on a campaign called: It’s OK To Feel Blue. We want people to know they don’t have to be happy all the time. We all love social media, but it can be very destructive. We want to talk about social media in the way that it can connect people, but not in the way that it can make people feel alienated or less than, which is why It’s OK To Feel Blue. You don’t have to be happy, perfect, and beautiful every single day, but if it’s too many days in a row, then we want you to get help.
That said, we are developing and funding a cutting edge app with The University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital for the diagnosis of depression and anxiety. Depression can lead to violence against yourself and others, and we’re highly focused on nipping anxiety in the bud before it leads to depression. We’re also funding an anti-suicide app for college-age freshmen. Our work tends to be very specific in targeting certain groups at a granular level to enact real change.
Plus, we partner with vetted medical doctors or university organizations that have their own nonprofit or research center. What we do is not about helping people in a silo, but instead through the support and strength of the medical community. We are cutting edge in what we do, but how we do it is by the book.
“We’re very specific about targeting certain groups at a granular level to make real change.”
A charitable life?
When I was 27, I was on the board of a charity called Neil Bogart Memorial Fund for pediatric cancer and aids, a music industry charity started by Joyce Bogart. I was the youngest female member of the board. At a very young age, I learned a lot from Joyce, she was my mentor and hero in charity — she should be proud of the work I’m doing now.
I was the person that went to the hospital to visit the kids. One time I went every day for seven months to visit this little girl with cancer named Katie. Her parents worked, and she had other siblings, so she was often alone. This experience made me understand the intricacies in dealing with sickness. At the hospital, I had my own little “Make A Wish List.” If kids wanted to meet Whoop Goldberg, I would bring Whoopi down, and if they wanted to meet the THEN President, I would find him too. I learned at a very young age the power of celebrity, and perhaps that’s why I have two famous kids to do good and change lives with their influence.
Patsy also worked in charity before YMC with Maroon Five and their give back endeavors.
“I learned at a very young age the power of celebrity. Perhaps that’s why I have two famous kids, to do good and change lives with their influence.”
How do you raise money?
A small but fun part of what we do is make and sell bracelets that are beautiful conversation pieces. Plus, beading parties are being hosted all over the world in support of YMC which is a lovely trend that we adore. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of raising, and the bulk of our money comes through partnerships, our kids’ charity concerts for YMC, and campaigns with brand — we have one coming out for Mother’s Day with a cosmetic company. And, in the spirit of the holidays, we’ve curated a gift guide with YMC celeb moms (HATCH included) and proceeds go to YourMomCares. Shop here. This is a business, and we’re in the business of kids mental health.
“A small but fun part of what we do is make and sell bracelets that are beautiful conversation pieces. Plus, beading parties are being hosted all over the world in support of YMC which is a lovely trend that we adore..”
What does the money you raise go to support?
We are nimble which is key to our organization. Not only do we have the voice to amplify the conversation but we have a mental wellness emergency fund that allows us to determine the most urgent and timely issues of the moment to allocate funds accordingly.
Plus, we have our Mobile Mom’s Unit for emergencies. Through this fund, we have given dollars to lawyers to reunite migrant workers’ with their kids, and we gave to Flint Michigan.
“We have our Mobile Mom’s Unit for emergencies.”
Do you believe it takes a village?
It takes a village to support one another. Being part of a community makes everyone feel less alone which is key for mental wellness. Our YMC beading parties create community; there’s a comfort in being together. It’s also a meditation… four yellows, three blues. You have to concentrate. Meditate. Beading has the power to take your mind off your anxiety.