Southern Illinois Chapter2018-12-12T02:41:36+00:00


Our Mission Statement: We serve to empower widows to “lean into life,” build resilience and release their potential to make a positive difference in the world.

Southern Illinois Modern Widows Club is designed to create a safe and private environment for widows to lean into life together through the journey.

Chapter will officially launch on February 14, 2018.

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  Meet our Leaders

Chapter Lead – Jenn Fortune

At the age of 28, there was a knock at her door and she looked out and saw 4 Military Personnel. Her heart sank and in that moment her life was shattered. Through the years in Women’s Ministry and as a Professional Photographer, she has had the unique opportunity to minister and empower women through their personal journeys.

With a heart that desires to reach women with love and compassion, her desire is to give them that safe place she needed when her husband died.

Chapter Co-Leader: Jessica Sergeev

Jessica lost her husband suddenly in 2014 after a stroke. Ivan was 26 and Jessica 29. They met at church in 2010 while they were both attending SIU.  She was finishing her Master of Architecture, and he was completing his Master of Quality Engineering. After dating for 2 years, they were married in 2012. One afternoon in August 2014 Ivan had a stroke at home. A few days later during surgery he had another, which he did not recover. The morning of his memorial service she learned she was pregnant with their first child. Her first year she learned how to be a mother, a widow, and to continue on without her husband. She is grateful there is a community like MWC to encourage and empower women who have lost so much, yet can still find joy in life.

Chapter Co-Leader: Aimee Williams

Aimee Williams began dating her husband Chris while in high school, though they did not go to high school together. They married at the age of 20 on June 10, 2006. He got a degree in film-making and she became a registered nurse, working in labor and delivery. They welcomed their first child Abbi, on January 31, 2013. They found out they were expecting another baby on St. Patrick’s Day of 2014. June 24 of that year, Chris was killed instantly in a car crash while on a mission trip with their church. He was 28 years old. Aimee was 18 weeks pregnant, left with a 16-month-old daughter who could not understand why Dada wasn’t coming home. Those early weeks, every time toddler Abbi heard the garage door open she would squeal “Dada!” and run to the door only to find it wasn’t him. Every time they came home she would search the house for him. Finally it clicked in her brain that he wasn’t coming back and she began having night terrors. All Aimee could do was go in and rock her screaming toddler, crying with her, and say, “Mama’s here, mama’s here, I love you.” Then on November 19, 2014, Aimee had to give birth to Aurora without her husband’s presence. By the grace of God she did it– surrounded by a team of loving supportive people.

A few months after having Aurora, Jenn approached Aimee about starting a local chapter of MWC. While interested, her life was mad chaos at all times. She was getting ready to return to full-time night shift at the hospital (a childcare nightmare), was breastfeeding, and had two kids under the age of two. Aurora was a cranky baby as well– she screamed constantly.

When they revisited the idea around a year later, the kids were older and much more manageable and Aimee had a modicum of sanity. Aimee had also dropped down to part-time at work after the exhaustion had led to multiple episodes of falling asleep in traffic on the way home from work.

She is currently pursuing further education in the hopes of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. She balances this with working part-time and raising her two girls who continue to get easier to care for the older they get.

In the early days of her grief, Aimee didn’t know who to turn to or talk to but needed other widows, particularly those who could relate to parenting young children. She found some other widows online and this became her lifeline. Having a chapter of MWC locally is so important because the idea that women can connect with, support, and encourage one another in person is even better than having it remotely. It’s something she would have liked to have, appreciates having now, and wants to help facilitate and provide for other widows.