PO BOX 294 Cranford NJ 07016 motherscentercnj@gmail.com

About Us


The Mothers’ Center of Central NJ is a non-profit organization committed to building and fostering a community of support and empowerment for all mothers. Established in 1978, we offer many opportunities for local moms to connect through daytime and evening activities. Our philosophy is built on a foundation of peer support and education. One of our moms said it best in one of our newsletter:

The idea of something for the kids and something for me is a little bit of why I need and enjoy the Mothers’ Center so much…it is a place that lets me be myself and my children have fun, too, and I don’t have to apologize for it. I can do Zumba or chat with my friends, and my children can play with theirs. The beauty of the Mothers’ Center is that it helps with the stress instead of adding to it – crazy, I know!! Another thing that I love about the center is that there are so many different types of women coming together, and in most cases, it feels like the center offers something for everyone.

Our Vision: Create and foster a community of support for all moms.

Our Missions:

  • Create a network of support and friendship through mentorship, playgroups and outings.
  • Foster a safe, inclusive and non-judgmental environment where moms can share the joys and challenges of motherhood.
  • Cultivate peer-to-peer support and be a resource to moms.
  • Pursue opportunities to make the local community a better place for moms and their children and partners.
  • Offer educational programs at all stages of mothering to prepare moms for the next steps.

Meet our Leadership Team

Co-chairs: Lauren Murphy and Cathryn Olson

Hello, I’m Lauren Murphy. I am a mother of two and have been a member of the Mothers’ Center since Fall 2016.  I was lucky enough to connect with MCCNJ when my oldest was still in the newborn phase and we’ve grown together through the years. My children and I have made many friends through the amazing programming MCCNJ offers. The mothers I have met have given me support and strength to be the best mom I can be and I’m so happy to give back to our members as a co-chair.
My name is Cathryn Olson. Eager to meet other moms after the birth of my first daughter, I joined the Mothers’ Center in January 2018. Nearly four years later, I’m still friends with the moms I met in the “Mom and Baby” group – and so are our kids! As a stay-at-home mom to two children, I’ve been so grateful for the community and programming the Mothers’ Center has provided, and am glad to give back to the Center as Co-Chair.

Treasurer: Allison Pereira

My name is Allison Pereira and I became a member of the Mothers’ Center in September of 2016 shortly after my first son was born.  My sister in law had recommended it as a low key way to get out and regain a sense of self amid the haze of early motherhood.  It was so nice to be able to bring my baby along to anything! Now I enjoy the opportunity to keep up with other moms through mom’s nights, discussion groups, playground meet ups and walking groups.  I am a former commercial litigation paralegal and current stay at home mom to two amazing boys.

Secretary: Sara Goldberg

I am a full time teacher and mom to two boys. Three months after we moved to Westfield in 2017, my oldest son was born. I was a new mom in a town where I knew no one. Joining the Mother’s Center helped me to make friends and feel connected to the community. I especially look forward to the Mom’s Nights Out and holiday parties for a social outlet during the work week.

Where is the Mothers’ Center?

Starting in 2021 MCCNJ partnered with Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim (TBEMC), conveniently located in the heart of Cranford. Many of our programs are housed at TBEMC but you can find many members meeting at playgrounds and restaurants around Union County.

History of our Mother’s Center

After reading an article in a sociological journal about a Mothers’ Center on Long Island, Carol Goodman advertised in the Suburban News, searching for women interested in starting a local Mothers’ Center.  Five women met in July of 1978.  At that time, no one but the moms themselves seemed to understand that motherhood comes with isolation and frustration as well as joy.  Through peer-facilitated discussion groups, moms could share their experiences with other moms in a trusting, respectful environment.

In February of 1979, the Mothers’ Center of Central New Jersey welcomed members with a workshop at the Scotch Plains Library on the “Stress of Motherhood.”  Thereafter, evening groups met in a members’ homes.  During the second year workshops and groups were held at the Westfield Public School Administration Building.  That same year we sponsored an all-day conference entitled “Mother Care: Viewing Motherhood as a Growth Experience,” a dramatic outreach to the community.

In June of 1980, in affiliation with the Westfield Y, we began offering daytime groups and childcare.  Our membership doubled.  Mothers’ Center of Central New Jersey (MCCNJ) became incorporated in 1984.  In 1985, MCCNJ received a $10,000 grant to begin an on-site babysitting program and we moved to the Crescent Ave. Presbyterian Church in Plainfield.  Also in 1985, our semi-annual kids’ stuff consignment sale started as the major fundraiser for rent, insurance, and babysitting.  Our membership boomed to over 100 women.  As an all-volunteer cooperative, it was difficult to keep up with the growing need while still fulfilling the mission.

After a 6-year search for a new home, MCCNJ moved in 2004 to Cranford United Methodist Church and then in 2006 to Trinity Episcopal Church.   In 2008, MCCNJ moved to Garwood Presbyterian Church where we have enjoyed a comfortable balance between nurturing our members and reaching out to others.  After three decades of growth and change, MCCNJ continues to serve yet another generation of moms.