ShanghaiMamas was founded in April 2006 by Lynda Quintana, an American mother who had recently arrived in Shanghai from Texas. She quickly found that she was missing a social support system connecting her to other international families, and created ShanghaiMamas as a Yahoo Group where parents could meet online and ask questions, provide emotional support, organize playgroups, swap/sell baby products, and meet friends.
Lynda was famous for chasing ladies with babies around Carrefour to invite them into her new group! Her tactics were successful and combined with word-of-mouth ensured that membership to the new group grew rapidly.
Within the first six months, the group had attracted almost three hundred members and forum discussions were very lively. Although it was mostly an online community, Lynda hosted holiday get-togethers in her home for Halloween and Easter, and the first official event was the group’s first birthday party in 2007. Over the next three years, under Lynda’s guidance, the group became a key resource for parents in Shanghai. At the third birthday party in 2009 (photo below), hundreds of families came to show their support for the group. Many talked about how ShanghaiMamas had made a huge difference to their life in Shanghai because it had enabled them to form lasting friendships and find support for parenting issues.
In 2009, having left Shanghai a better place through her efforts in creating ShanghaiMamas, Lynda and her family moved back to the USA. She passed her friend, Melanie Ham, custodianship/moderating responsibilities of the ShanghaiMamas Group.
In early 2010, membership of the Yahoo group had grown to over 1600 members, and so www.shanghaimamas.org was formed by Melanie Ham, Lynda Quintana, and Rose Zhang. The large membership needed an independent space where conversations could be organized in forums, mamas could easily find others with common interests, and the community could connect through social networking capabilities. The partners spent many hours envisioning the needs of the growing community and formed a dedicated committee of volunteers to assist with steering the direction of the new site. The new site was born through volunteerism and the amazing talents of the members of our group.
ShanghaiMamas has since grown from strength to strength, and today we are widely recognized as the largest community for international families in Shanghai. Since 2010 we’ve grown to over 5,000 members, held many coffee mornings, parties and fundraising events. We outgrew our previous website and launched a second, held our tenth year anniversary in 2016 and have no plans to slow down in the future!
ShanghaiMamas will always remain a non-profit group sustained through donations and volunteers. If you would like to support the group with your time, energy or money, please contacts us.
(May 2009 Anniversary Party)