Madawaska woman devoted to helping children with disabilities named Maine Mother of the Year by national group
MADAWASKA, Maine — A Madawaska native who founded a non-profit organization to help families purchase supplies to improve the lives of children with developmental disabilities was named 2021 Maine Mother of the Year.
Lynn (Leclerc) Gierie, a 1983 Madawaska High School graduate who now lives in Scarborough, received the honor from American Mothers, Inc.
Along with her husband Robert Gierie Jr., Leclerc started Robbie Foundation, named after the couple’s son, Robert Gierie III, who lives with cerebral palsy.
Robbie Foundation helps families with children who have developmental disabilities by funding adaptive equipment, assistive technology and therapy not covered by insurance.
A middle school educator, Lynn Gierie was inspired to form Robbie Foundation in 2010 after networking with other parents of children living with disabilities.
“I came to realize there was really a need to bring awareness to this population and do something that made a difference in their lives,” she said. “Coming from northern Maine I’ve never been shy about working hard toward something and I felt all it took was hard work, advocating and coming together with a group of people to provide for these kids.”
The non-profit is Maine-focused and operated completely by volunteers, so 100 percent of funds serve the children by purchasing things such as safety beds, iPADS with software applications that allow non-verbal children to communicate, and all-terrain wheelchairs.
“We just don’t want kids to be limited and confined,” Lynn Gierie said. “We’re really all about optimizing a child’s growth and development and give them the same opportunities as a typical child; that’s really, really important to us.”
“So far Robbie Foundation has been able to make a significant difference in the lives of these kids,” Gierie added. “We still have a lot to do and a ways to go, but I think we’re making some headway.”
Eleanor Roosevelt founded American Mothers Inc., which has been recognizing outstanding mothers for 85 years.
“Lynn will be a great representative for Maine and our chapter plans to honor her and the 2020 Maine Mother of the Year, Adrian Phair of Oakland, along with all Merit Mothers, from both years, at a special luncheon this May,” President of the Maine Chapter of American Mothers, Inc., Lina Michaud said.