That’s a wrap Madison!

by takeylabenton on May 15, 2016

Through the stores we share at Listen to Your Mother we are connecting to each other. Building bridges and finding friends. Sharing stories that stick with our soul…

All photos by Johnny and Marie Justice

2016 LTYM Madison cast by Johnny Justice

Ann Imig, Brandice Hatcher, Iya Dunni, Opal Tomashevska, Takeyla Benton, Oscar Mireles, Lisa Estrella Yang, Kate Auger, Rosita González, Michelle N. Watkins, Amber C. Walker, Sarah Jedd, Nuria Vega Moffat, Vida Groman

None of this could continue to happen with out the support of our sponsors and you, the LTYM community.

Thank you SheKnows #BlogHer16, Luvs, The Century House, Pasqual’s Cantina, Dragonfly Hot Yoga, Black Belt America, Half-Pint Resale, Brava Magazine, Lakeside Press, Happy Bambino and our photographers Justice and Justice Productions.


Katie Auger

Katie quote


Opal quote










Nuria Vega Moffat

We are proud to have raised over $1000 for our local charity, Literacy Network. This puts them a little closer to raising the funds needed to move into a larger space where they can provide more services to more families in the Madison area. If you are still interested in donating more or volunteering, visit Literacy Network online  for more information.



Vida Groman

Lisa quote


Sara quote

















Iya Dunni

Nuria quote










Come back to visit us this summer when all 2016 LTYM videos get released on our channel! Ann, Darcy, Susan and I thank you for another amazing year!



2016 LTYM Madison production team: Takeyla Benton, Susan Yong, Ann Imig, Darcy Dederich

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With this year’s show right around the corner, we’re down to our last cast spotlight. We asked Oscar Mireles a few questions to learn a bit more about him…


Oscar Mireles is a published poet and he is also the Editor of three anthologies titled “I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos In Wisconsin”.  He was recently appointed the “Poet Laureate” of the City of Madison for 2016-2018. Mr. Mireles has received numerous awards and recognition for his service to the community. He is the Executive Director of Omega School, where he has been employed for the past 21 years. Omega School provides GED preparation and adult basic education services to Dane County young adults, who do not possess a high school diploma. During his tenure, he has personally assisted over 3,000 students with earning a GED/HSED credential.


Are you looking forward to the show? Scared? Or both?

After reading about the first LTYM event in the Wisconsin State Journal a couple of years ago, I thought it was an incredibly creative idea to have an event to celebrate a national holiday about Motherhood. It is astonishing to believe it has grown so large in such a short time. A Colombian writer friend Alexandra Rosas helps coordinate the Milwaukee show and her enthusiasm for LTYM is contagious. I had almost convinced myself, that it was a female writer only show, so I got the nerve to ask Ann Imig if that was the case, when we had a reading together a couple of months ago. Much to my surprise it was open and I auditioned, and probably worried more about not getting picked, despite their assurances that as the City of Madison Poet Laureate I had earned a little credibility…

The LTYM process that Ann and her collaborators have instituted with rehearsals, informal get-togethers, more rehearsals leading up to the final show has bonded all the writers together in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Being the only male writer in the show I must admit is a little daunting and a wee bit scary, but I feel so supported by the other writers…so I am looking forward to being on the show….

What are the 3 things you can’t live without?

Three things I can’t live without is high school wrestling, salsa and Zumba dancing and the Latin@ community.

High School wrestling taught me the importance of hard work and determination, gave me a sense of my physical strength and limitations and after immersing myself in the sport of wrestling, I now understand the value of Dan Gable quote, ‘Once you wrestled, everything else in life is easy”. It was a support my brothers and I participated in and I remember going to Madison Memorial High School in 1970 to watch y brother Carlos wrestle. Two of my sons Diego and Sergio wrestled and both were state-caliber wrestlers representing Wisconsin on the National Freestyle and Greco wrestling teams.

Although I am Mexican and know how to dance the Mexican polka (or rancheras) it wasn’t until I moved to Milwaukee in the 1980’s did I learn how to Salsa dance with a co-worker named Maria Correa, who loved to dance and she was nice enough to put up with my mistakes and missteps. About five years ago, I discovered Zumba Dancing with two great instructors at the local health club, Melissa Ganshert and Monica Stephenson. Their enthusiasm, energy and dancing ability got me back into shape, and I find myself moving body parts I didn’t know I had. My new Zumba instructors Melanie, Gio and Trish have kept my interest and each adds their own twist which had kept me going back twice a week…

The Latino community is my inspiration and hope. I have the opportunity to mentor three young adults at different stages in their lives. Fabian, a sixth grader and I are paired in the Dane County Big Brother program. He has a big heart and cares about others, his family, and the world. He has been patient with me and over the past three years has gained confidence in his abilities and improved his grades in school. Evelyn, a high school junior is a Sanchez Scholar and lives near Omega School, and we hired her to help out with childcare with our students. She is bright , confident and well grounded for a 16-year-old. Christian is a college junior and a Rotary Scholars and is in the business school at UW-Madison. he is a first generation college student and has excelled in school and looking forward to graduating college next year.

If you were to give a TED talk, what would you talk about?

I would talk about the “power of second chances” and “overcoming challenges and fear of success”.

I have been fortunate as the Director of Omega School for the past 22 years I have had the opportunity to meet incredibly smart and talented people who did not fit into the mold of the traditional high school setting. The GED Diploma provides an access point for post-secondary education, entry-level employment, and apprenticeships.

I would share the story of our County Executive Joe Parisi, who earned a GED Diploma and graduated from Omega School, attended Madison College and earned a degree from UW-Madison. Or Maudie Garrett, an African American woman who arrived from Chicago with three children and completed Bachelors and Masters Degrees and is completing her Ph.D. Or Kisha Ralston who recently graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Chemistry and now work in a biotechnology company and no longer working her weekend catering job she has had since she was 16 years old. Each student in their own way, time, and space created a path to work their way out after not graduating from high school.

Join Oscar and the rest of our cast on Mother’s Day 5.8.16 3PM at The Barrymore Theatre!! Buy your tickets online, by phone at (608) 241-8633 ($2.00 convenience fee), at all Barrymore outlets, Happy Bambino, and The Century House Gift Shop. 10% of ticket proceeds to benefit Literacy Network, and we will fund-raise day of the show on their behalf.

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Spotlight on Madison Cast Member: Vida Groman

April 29, 2016

Vida is up next in our series of posts spotlighting cast members of our LTYM: Madison show! Vida means Life in Spanish and Beloved in Hebrew. So to Vida Groman, her name means Beloved Life and her work reflects that energy. She has worked as a therapist, life coach, and healer with individuals, couples and small groups, and as a teacher and facilitator with organizations for over 25 years and still loves it all ( Her work is about guiding people to connect with their heart so that they can live with authenticity, courage, joy and passion. And part of Vida’s passion is “writing from her soul”. She is currently compiling her writings for a book. *** Are you looking forward to the show? Scared? Or both? I am so looking forward to this show. As for being scared… is more like bubbling excitement that forgets itself from time to time and shows […]

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Madison’s Hidden Gem: The Century House GIFT SHOP

April 28, 2016

If you’ve ever attended a LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: MADISON show, you’re familiar with our exquisite sets designed and furnished by local sponsor The Century House: You might also know that Century House is Madison’s premier destination for modern Scandinavian interiors.   But do you know about their hidden gem? My absolute FAVORITE place for gifts at any price point? Be it jewelry, textiles, home decor, accessories, handmade art, cards or prints, The Century House gift shop at 3029 University Avenue creates a cozy shopping destination with a great selection of unique quality gifts. Better yet, they’re offering a giveaway to one lucky LTYM fan! Comment below by WEDNESDAY MAY 4th NOON CST for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate PLUS two tickets to the 7th annual LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: MADISON show on Mother’s Day! We’ll pick one lucky winner at random and share the news on social media Thursday […]

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Spotlight on Madison Cast Member: Lisa Estrella Yang

April 27, 2016

Next up on this week’s Madison cast spotlight is Lisa Estrella Yang! We asked Lisa some few questions to learn some more about her… Lisa Estrella Yang is a UW-Madison and a Niam Laus Niam Hluas (Hmong Sisterhood) alumna whose life mission is to empower women through pro-self-esteem. In conjunction to being a pro-self-esteem activist, she was recognized by Sally Hansen as one of the top 4 nail artists in the nation during a competition of over 16,000 competitors. Consequently she is building a press-on manicure brand to ignite the minds of women, daring women to dream and to love themselves unapologetically. *** What are the 3 things you can’t live without? I cannot live without nail polish remover, a base coat polish, and a top coat polish. My shelves are full with them! If you were to give a TED talk, what would you talk about? The TED talk that I would […]

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