Amy Paterson, Co-Founder
In addition to being a mother and a community volunteer, Amy enjoyed a long career as a public relations executive. Amy's experience in grant writing, fundraising and nonprofit boards, as well as  personal experience of the health care system as a patient greatly benefited MLWR. Amy received the Hello Tomorrow Fund award from Avon, the Pink Power Mom award from Kids II/Bright Starts, and a Points of Light Tribute Award for her work to bring drop-in child care to hospitals. She received her BA from Connecticut College. Amy lost her battle with cancer in November 2018. She's survived by her husband and son who live in Portland, Oregon.

Melissa Moore, Co-Founder

Melissa is also a mother, community volunteer and  communications executive. She is currently Director of Corporate Communications at NW Natural. Prior, she conducted communication campaigns for many national and local non-profits and private endeavors focused on children’s causes. Before that, Melissa spent 13 years in broadcast news as a reporter, anchor and producer. She graduated from the Honors Program at Washington State University where she majored in Broadcast News and was one of 15 students in the nation chosen for a fellowship at CBS Network News. She, her husband and daughter live in Portland, Oregon.

Stephanie Smith, M.A., Founding Board Member
Stephanie is the co-founder and COO of Carpenter Smith Consulting, llc, For more than 15 years, Stephanie has coached and consulted local leaders and companies to deliver stellar results, create greater impact and influence, and find greater meaning and purpose in both life and work. Before founding and running her own company, Stephanie held leadership roles in non-profits, university research settings, and mental health environments.  She has authored numerous articles, training models and curriculums. Stephanie has an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences and a B.A. in psychology.  She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.

Pam Grater, Board Member
Pam is the proud sister of Amy. She is a longtime community volunteer, parent of three teens, and currently the Director of Human Resources at local non-profit Education Northwest. Pam’s volunteer work focuses on local and face-to-face support on projects related to the eradication of cancer, career readiness and student development. Pam has worked in organizational development and human resources for over 20 years in a variety of sectors. She earned her M.A. in Organizational Communication from Purdue University and her B.A. from Willamette University. She lives in Portland with her family.

About Us

We are Oregon moms who see a need for drop-in child care at the hospital and are working to make it happen. We’ve been fortunate to encounter wonderful people along our journey, who’ve given us their time, feedback and support. Everyone we’ve talked to agree this service is needed and most say, “I can’t believe it doesn’t already exist!”

We are grateful to our fantastic partners who've helped bring this dream to reality: Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Providence Portland Medical Center and the Volunteers of America Oregon.

Our Story

My Little Waiting Room® was born out of a friendship between two moms. When Amy Paterson was 34-years-old, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Her son was two-and-a-half years old. Amy had support from her wonderful husband, nearby family and generous friends. Still, it was difficult to arrange child care every time she had a medical appointment. In fact, she had 144 medical appointments in that year alone. That meant the family had to arrange child care 144 before Amy could get to the appointments that would help her to get well.

Before Amy’s chemotherapy appointments, her friend Melissa Moore would drop off a card with a small gift and say “Happy Chemo Day!”  In the afternoons after Amy’s chemo, the two friends would take long walks. They often talked about the challenges of arranging child care on those walks. They soon realized there was a simple answer that could have helped Amy and could surely help hundred of families in the future.

Together, they began researching the idea for drop-in child care at the hospital, creating the concept, and forming the non-profit My Little Waiting Room™. 

Along the way, they invited their good friend, parenting coach and trusted advisor, Stephanie Smith, to join the founding board of directors and help lead their mission to bring drop-in child care to hospitals.

When Amy passed away in November 2018, her sister Pam Grater joined the MLWR board to honor her legacy. Also, Tricia Sullivan the former project manager of MLWR at Providence joined the board.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Coughlin and Portland Monthly magazine.