Inspiring Mothers with Art

Women United Plan Spring Art Activity

by Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director – United Way of Charlotte County

Today is bittersweet, honoring my mom on Mother’s Day without her here. Her plants and hydrangeas were everything to her. Remembering her in her gardens, I always knew that was her happy place. She found beauty and peace there. On a recent visit to her home, I sat in the backyard and enjoyed every moment I was able to soak in at her happy place.

On the other hand, my mother-in-law and my daughter find beauty in arts and crafts. It is incredible what they can create from cotton balls, ribbons and cardboard toilet paper rolls. Between their two creative minds, art has been made from the simplest of things. 

I do not consider myself particularly crafty, but the Women United Spring Art Event always excites me. The variety of ways Women United members use their creativity to empower local mothers is inspiring, and always a great time!

Annually, Women United members gather to do an activity to meet their mission to empower mothers to raise healthy children. We have crafted journals, assembled recipes for a cookbook, provided inspirational quotes and created welcome bags. This year we will once again create welcome bags by painting blank totes with artistic designs and encouraging words.

The welcome bags are given to expectant moms who have suffered some set-back and are searching for help. The help comes through the United Way of Charlotte County (UWCC) funded Community Collaboration, Kids Thrive. Kids Thrive and Women United have taken an active role in providing these expectant mothers encouragement and support.

Painting welcome bags is one of my favorite activities because it is awesome to see the creativity people have as they design a unique bag for a special mom. Everything is provided so if you are not the artsy type, like me, you can still create a beautiful project to be donated. We provide stencils, stampers, fabric paint and the canvas totes. After Women United members decorate the totes with inspirational quotes and beautiful designs, they are stuffed with items that a new mom needs.

While this isn’t the first time Women United has painted canvas totes for Kids Thrive moms, they have been so appreciated, we felt it was time to make more. Cyndee Oathout, Navigator Advocate for Kids Thrive said, “The bags were a big hit and mothers loved receiving them.”

Women United Member, Diane Ashworth, stated, “I love the opportunities we have in Women United to mentor young moms and provide many forms of assistance.”

You are invited to join us as we make another round of welcome bags for local moms. The Women United Spring Art Event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 25 at the Charlotte Desoto Building Industry Association, 7984 Toledo Blade Blvd., Port Charlotte. 

Women United will be providing snacks, wine and other beverages. Please plan to bring $25 per person to cover the cost of supplies. You will be able to decorate one or two totes which you can rest assured will go to a mother in Charlotte County that will be grateful for some inspiration. Consider bringing your favorite quote, Bible verse or special saying to inspire a young mom.

If you are unable to attend but would like to help, we are looking for donations of items to include inside the bags. You can drop off items to our UWCC office, 17831 Murdock Circle, Suite A, Port Charlotte, throughout the month of May. Requested items include diapers (sizes newborn and 2-5 years), baby wipes, diaper rash cream, small development toys, sleep sacks, hard cover books for 0-5 years, and gas cards.

While this is a Women United event, you do not have to be a Women United member to attend. To learn more about Women United, please visit

For more information about United Way of Charlotte County’s mission:  Mobilizing the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty, please contact Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director. She can be reached at