Celebrating Superheroes: Marne Levine & Her Mom

By LIFT on May 14, 2017

Categories: Our Work, Real Stories

This Mother’s Day, we asked LIFT National Board Member, and Instagram COO, Marne Levine to tell us about a superhero in her life. Here’s what she said…

“My mom passed away two and a half years ago but she will always be my superhero. My two young sons will periodically ask me how I learned to do something as a mother and my response is always ‘mommy school.’ I learned from the best. My mom poured her heart and soul into being a mother and I am blessed to have had her as mine.

One of the most important lessons in ‘mommy school’ was the power of gratitude. This was one of my mother’s many superpowers. She grew up poor and she never forgot it. Her biological father created a hostile and unstable home environment, and he walked out on his family when my mother was very young, leaving them in a difficult financial and emotional position. While my mother lived comfortably in her adult years, the experiences of her childhood made her worry about money throughout her life. She was always thrifty… always saving… but never cheap. She learned early on how to go to a bottom basement place and put together an outfit that looked like a million bucks.

Instead of focusing on what she didn’t have, my mother’s response was to love the people around her and what little she had to bits. As a young girl I saw the power that this approach could have; she didn’t have strong examples in front of her but she imagined and created the future that she wanted for herself.

As an adult, my mother put family first and never missed a moment to express herself. She constantly told her daughters how much she loved us, and she would find any excuse to wrap us in one of her hugs – her long thin arms would envelop us in warmth, giving us the confidence and security that everything would be just fine. Her love for me and my sister was only rivaled by her love of our dad. I was often embarrassed when I came into the house only to find my parents in the kitchen, closely locked, doing the jitterbug alone together. But they were unapologetic for creating their own happiness.

A speech pathologist by training, my mom helped support our family while my dad finished his medical training. Once he had developed his own successful practice, my mother decided to pour all of her energy into her community. And boy did that woman have energy. She was involved in everything. The local Jewish Federation. The Cleveland Ballet. The Red Cross. The Sight Center. Our schools. Our hospitals. Dress for Success. Even Catholic Charities (never mind that she was Jewish). Her life touched so many because she cared so deeply.

She knew that having the freedom to pursue the passions and causes she cared about was a privilege but also a responsibility. And so many of the organizations she supported were about reaching young families that were left in the kinds of situations in which she had found herself.

My mom would have understood the mission of LIFT because she lived it. It’s why I LIFT. I can see my mother in the parents and in the young children who walk into LIFT’s offices every day looking to change their future. I can see my mother in the volunteers who put in the time and effort to help young mothers and fathers find a new job and get the support they need to provide a brighter future for their children. I know my mother would be touched to know we are raising money and awareness for LIFT through her superhero legacy.”

Over the next few weeks, we’re shining a spotlight on the parents, spouses and friends in LIFT’s network who – like the hardworking moms and dads we serve – are true champions in their families’ lives.

This Mother’s Day, we hope you’ll consider giving your superhero a gift that gives back. Make a gift in their honor today and help make a real difference all year:

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