2017 Utah Mother of the Year
LouAnn Newell Christensen has faced many challenges throughout her life including divorce from an abusive relationship, single parenting, graduating from a university with three young sons (ages 2, 4, and 8), working as a single parent, re-marrying and blending two families that included eight children ages 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16, the joy of a new baby with her new husband, a daughter diagnosed with juvenile diabetes as a nine year old, and the tragedy of four step children passing away.
Although life’s challenges have been very difficult, she has faced them with optimism and become an advocate and leader for families in her community. Serving her city for fourteen years, six of those years as a council member and eight years as mayor, she was an advocate for strengthening families. Working in leadership positions on numerous state, regional, and local boards allowed her to make her case for families.
Thoughts on Parenting
Creating a stable home environment allows a child to grow and flourish; however, when tough times fall upon a family it is difficult making it through each minute or hour of each day. Facing turbulent times you do what you can to survive, then pick up the pieces and move forward. Relying on a higher power has given me strength to travel the rocky paths of loss.
Healthy parenting provides a child with opportunities to develop talents, acquire the ability to make good choices, appreciate the importance of responsibility, acquire the skills of service, discern the importance of honesty, feel the accomplishment of success, discover it’s OK to lose, create an enthusiasm for learning and most of all feel loved.
I believe that you do your best every day to be the best parent you can be and then get up the next morning and vow to do better.
How Motherhood Has Impacted My Life
Motherhood has taught me how to:
- love unconditionally
- stand strong in the face of adversity
- appreciate joyful moments
- suffer through overwhelming emotional pain
- speak softly when facing an angry teenager
- negotiate options for good and bad behavior
- organize schedules, parties, and chore charts
- accept that a child’s agency is essential in learning to make wise choices
- watch for payback moments that come over time through hidden blessings
- recognize the importance of faith
- know that without a doubt God is in control
- and never, never, ever give up!
LouAnn has been every involved in her community to create programs that supported the family and youth and address
- Compassionate Friends of Box Elder County – After losing two teenage daughters to a car-train accident, she and the mother of another girl who died in the same accident formed a support group to help other grieving parents who had experienced a loss. Parents came to monthly meetings where they were able to discuss grief and related topics.
- Community Pro youth Organization (CPYO) – LouAnn struggled recognizing that her children’s friends had a stronger influence on them than the parents. She worked with a group of concerned community leaders and formed this non-profit organization with a core mission to strengthen families. Prevention areas included teen concerns: teen suicide; teen pregnancy; drug and alcohol abuse; child abuse; and family violence. These groups also addressed illiteracy and the creation of a youth activity center.
- Founder Brigham City Youth Commission – As a Brigham City Council Member, LouAnn presented an ordinance to create the Brigham City Youth Commission. The mission was to collaborate with youth advocates and find ways to strengthen families. Focus areas were: Safety, Education, Recreation, Health and Youth.