“All I am, my mother made me.”
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, when we have an opportunity to celebrate everything mothers are and do. And on this day, it’s especially important to recognize the challenges many mothers face every day of the year as they work to raise families below the poverty line in America. A mother’s work is never done, and neither is the work of equipping mothers with the tools, skills and resources they need to achieve sustainability for themselves and their families.
About a third of American children are living with a single parent – the majority with a single mom. And of these single mothers, roughly a third are living in poverty. By providing support to these women and their families, we can break the generational cycle of poverty.
Working with these moms to build successful, independent lives is a year-round, ongoing job that’s as rewarding as it is challenging, and we’re proud to partner with some of the most effective organizations around the country that are devising innovative new approaches that help mothers and children across the country find stability and purpose.
This Mother’s Day, we’re delighted to shine a spotlight on their work and give you a glimpse into the lives that are being transformed each and every day through the work of some of our Catalysts:
WiNGS is a Dallas-based program that’s been helping first-time moms create a better life for themselves and their children since 1908. Staffed by trained volunteers and professional experts, it focuses on three core program areas: 1) Finance & Career: women learn how to stabilize and grow towards financial goals, 2) Women's Enterprise: women gain an entrepreneurial mindset and the courage to strike out into their community with a business venture, and 3) Nurse-Family Partnership: it can be difficult to regain your financial footing as a first-time mom, so WiNGS provides trained nurses to help mothers between pregnancy to two years post-delivery. The success metrics are remarkable: 86 percent of participants increase their savings within a year (by an average of more than $2,000), and 10 program graduates have launched or grown their own small businesses, with another 85 training members actively working to start their own company.
Jeremiah Program strives to break the cycles of poverty that trap women and their children for multiple generations – moving families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time. Jeremiah Program works with determined single mothers and their children to provide affordable safe housing, empowerment training and life skills, personal career coaching, early childhood education and a supportive community. Where other programs focus on either the parent or the child, Jeremiah Program welcomes both into its program and empowers both towards academic success. A recent survey of Jeremiah Program alumni showed that 100 percent of surveyed graduates are living in safe housing, 91 percent are employed or continuing their education, and 81 percent of their children are performing at or above grade level. Plus, more than three-quarters have lowered their reliance on public assistance.
Hope House comes alongside single mothers in Denver, restoring their vision of what they and their children can become. In addition to operating a residential program for single-mother families, the organization gives Denver residents a variety of options to choose from, including a GED program, a College and Career Program, a Career Partner Program, classes that strengthen parenting, relationship and life skills, job-readiness workshops and certified counseling. With this approach, program participants find the strength and healing to turn their lives around. Ninety percent of graduates from the residential program are financially self-sufficient within five years, and 80 percent of GED program participants earn a GED (contrasted with 50 percent of their non-participant peers).
Teen Success, Inc. sets out to tackle one of the toughest challenges single mothers face: high school graduation. Nearly 60 percent of teen moms fail to earn their high school diploma, virtually guaranteeing that they’ll remain in poverty for the rest of their lives. Through a combination of one-on-one mentorship and peer group learning, they’re set on the road to graduation and lifelong success. Ninety-three percent of women in the program graduate or are on track to graduate, and each of them spends at least 15 minutes reading to their child each day, forming stronger parent/child bonds and setting the child up to thrive in school.