Janada “Mimi” Batchelor
Janada L. Batchelor, who was affectionately known as “Mimi”, was a spark of life. Anyone who met her was an immediate friend, her smile brightened your day, and her laugh filled any room. As an avid traveler, Janada actually visited all seven continents in her lifetime. However, for some reason, from the time she remembered studying Africa in elementary school, she had always been fascinated by the continent. When she heard her grandson, Mainsprings Founder & CEO Chris Gates, stand up on kindergarten Career Day and say that he wanted to be an exotic animal veterinarian in the Serengeti, it gave her the perfect excuse to finally travel to Africa. She then promised him that one day they would travel to Tanzania together.
Mimi told Chris he could go to the Serengeti, but that as a condition, he had to volunteer at a center for street boys first. He reluctantly agreed because, well, he really wanted to go on a safari! However, it took no time at all for him to fall in love with the people and culture, and came back to that same center for years. Ultimately, he felt called to do more. It was that trip in 2002 that started what would eventually become JBFC and then Mainsprings.
Mimi’s friendship to everyone, no matter their background or walk of life, and her drive to make this world a better place is why Mainsprings exists today. She was stubborn, ornery, funny, loving, understanding, lovable, and an all around character who brightened everyone’s world around her. She had three children and eight grandchildren, and taught all of them how to live their lives with compassion, conviction, and class.
Today, her name and legacy live on, not only in the official name of the organization, but also in our residential program, affectionately named “Bibi Mimi’s Girls’ Home”, a name chosen by some of our older residential girls who grew to know and love Mimi- as so many people around the world did. Her inspiration is truly changing our world, one child at a time.