Two mothers sit in front of Honu Coffee chatting, enjoying their beverages. What seems like a normal occurrence to others brings a sense of accomplishment to Melissa Mann, Leandra Sanchez and Sydney Levine.
These two mothers met at Mann, Sanchez and Levine’s bi-monthly event – The Mom Walk Collective of Santa Clarita – and embody their goal through their events.
Mann is a stay-at-home mom who began her motherhood journey six years ago with twins.
“When I had my twin daughters, I was brought into this incredible group, it was the Santa Clarita mothers of multiples,” said Mann. “it’s still around, but I feel it was absolutely like a godsend when I got around those other moms that just understood what being a twin mom or a mother of multiples was like.”
Going from zero to two kids was a complete change for Mann. She jokes that she cannot recall the first year raising her daughters because it was so intense.
Five years later Mann had her third child. One of her first thoughts, “Where’s my tribe?”
Through Santa Clarita mothers of multiples Mann had received resources, connection and a sense of “I’m not alone” on her motherhood journey. Women just like her were going through the exact same journey.
Mann had an immediate need for connection.
“I needed to get out of the house. I needed to do something,” said Mann.
She began walking with neighbors and community friends, and the walks eventually turned into “mom’s night out” gatherings.
Mann started to build her sense of community again, then one day she saw The Mom Walk Collective.
She fell in love with the togetherness that it brought moms and decided to send in her application to start a chapter in Santa Clarita.
Within the interview process of approval, Mann met Sanchez.
Mann and Sanchez have mutual friends, but never met until they were both sending in applications to start a chapter in Santa Clarita. When asked if they would like to work together on the project despite not knowing one another, the two said yes.
The Mom Walk Collective Santa Clarita chapter started in November 2022, but since then has had more than 80 moms at once attend their walks.
One of the moms who attended their first walks was Sydney Levine.
As the chapter grew and more local businesses participated in sponsoring the walks, Mann and Sanchez knew they needed just a little more help. Levine was brought onto their team and now helps lead the chapter.
The chapter hosts an approximate 1-mile walk, twice a month. The walks start at various locations and are announced via their Instagram, @themomwalkco.scv. The walks are completely free to the mom attendees.
“It is really important to be able to get out of the house and not be wondering, ‘Could I afford it?’” said Mann.
The goal of the walk isn’t who completes the walk or goes the fastest, but to be together with a community.
“We are working to help provide moms a safe place and connections with the community and getting out of the house because I think postpartum and depression are very real things and really difficult things to go through and it can be so isolating,” said Mann. “Just motherhood in general, and so when you know you have somebody else that’s going through it as well, they feel like it just makes the whole process a lot easier and it makes you feel a lot less crazy. We just always are reminding ourselves like what is our No. 1 goal out of this and it’s to provide community.”
As Santa Clarita moms wait to begin their walk, tips, tricks and advice are shared while some younger children run around.
The first step on these walks is never taken alone. It is taken with a community of mothers raising the next generation.