Our mission is to create a movement providing direct support to empower working single moms of NEPA and beyond filling the gaps with a network of sustainable resources and support to enhance their quality of life so they can be the best version of themselves to thrive as moms and women of our community.
We are doing this through community engagement, comprehensive mentorship programming to fill the gaps on real-life challenges of personal well-being, finances, relationships, and career enhancement, and social and emotional enrichment experiences for both mom and children throughout the year.
The AASM Project provides a path of encouragement, inspiration, and engagement with hope and healing.
What’s the GAP? The single mom's in this 'gap' have two primary challenges. The most prevalent gap of single moms is lacking an adequate support system for social and emotional support with them often feeling isolated, loney and unsupported. They are the one's who lack the financial resources to get through a financial hardship and yet make too money to receive financial assistance from community and government funded subsidy programs.
It is my passion to help others feel empowered regardless of the life situations they face. We all feel more powerful and confident when we are appreciated and valued...and that's what this project aims to achieve.
Donna Nelson Founder Adopt A Single Mom Project
OUR FOUNDING STORY
Adopt-a-Single-Mom Project is a grassroots non-profit founded November 2017 inspired by a similar adopt-a-mom program by one of founder, Donna Nelson's friends in upstate New York who provides gifts to mom's at Christmas. She was inspired by the idea and recognizing the huge need in her own community of Northeastern Pennsylvania that she felt compelled to adopt a program specifically for working single mom's in her area who fall into the invisible gap.
I started with an idea to buy Christmas gifts for the single moms who work, and from my experience get over looked at Christmas time. I felt compelled by this knowing the truth that often single moms do not have gifts under the tree for herself...unless she used her own money to put them their.
It had been Donna's vision to make a social investment that aligned with her coaching and consulting business to uplift the women who have lived and struggled in many of the same ways as I had as a working single mom. She wanted to share the tools, knowledge and experiences used mentoring and supporting her clients to inspire, empower and enhance the quality of life for the working single mom so she can connect to her purpose and flourish as a woman in her role as mom, co-worker and community member.
The single mom's in this 'gap' are the working moms one's who are above poverty yet can lack the resources for financial security and sustainability, as well as, lacking meaningful social and emotional support.
They are the families overlooked as needing support by the community.
She is the single mom who shows up to work with a smile on her face hoping the school doesn't call to come pick up a sick kid because she can't afford to lose time off work.
She often suffers in silence from loneliness, social isolation and often depression because she doesn't have the connection and social outlets that other mom's have with more family and financial resources.
OUR FOUNDER'S SINGLE MOM JOURNEY
When I got pregnant with my first son my plan was to be a single mom...and then I met a guy who was definitely not 'the guy'...2 years later divorced and broke as a single mom. After pulling my sh*t together and re-grouping on a new life direction, I decided to go back to school and get a degree in Psychology.
In the midst of that I got pregnant with my second son. He was born a preemie 3 lbs. 2 oz. at 35 weeks and with an unexpected rare genetic disorder. Nearly two months in the NICU, and my older son got to spend every weekend at the Ronald McDonald house (of which we broke all the rules because we had too) - we had no family nearby so he could stay home. Three years of joy, a revolving door of caregivers and frequent hospitalizations...Lucas died just after his third birthday in 2010.
Once again, back to pulling my sh*t together!
Most of my single parenting years I spent working multiple part-time jobs and a several entrepreneurial ventures in an effort to stick to my values of not wanting to put my boys in daycare 40-50 hours a week. I was in constant opportunity mode looking for ways to make side money so I could provide above the basic needs for my boys. Having the opportunity to go to private school, summer camp, play recreation sports, play dates, big birthday parties and new clothes when they actually needed them was important to me. I gladly did without so they could have...like most single mom's.
As a single mom when fathers are not present in the home or absent for some reason – in some ways we fill both roles of the mother and the father. By the way, in case you're wondering a mother cannot replace a father or the role of a second parent.
As a single mom there’s no one to back you up. There’s no one to edify you. There’s no one to discuss decisions with. There's no one to help with homework. You run all the errands. You do all the cooking. The budgeting. All the doctors appointments. THE WHOLE THING.
I remember a time when I needed brakes on my car and didn’t have the money to get them replaced – I went through a yellowish (maybe red) traffic light and a cop didn’t like it – while we waited for him to my approach the window, my son said 'mom do you think if you tell him you need brakes he’ll understand?'
Here's the thing...my story is NOT unusual. There are thousands of mom's right here in our community that could write something very similar.
And that's exactly why this became a passion project. Because single moms who are giving their all. Doing their best. Should not do it alone. Should not feel isolated in their situation. Should not struggle because of lack of support and resources which ultimately has a negative impact on her health, and the life and health outcomes for her children.
WHY WE NEED TO YOUR HELP
2016 Statistics There are 14,376 Single Mom families in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties of Pennsylvania.
7,664 of them are in the GAP above poverty level.
THESE MOM’S OFTEN ARE INVISIBLE AND FALL OFF THE RADAR OF THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE THEY DON’T QUALIFY FOR MANY OR ANY SUPPORT SERVICES AND SUBSIDY PROGRAMS.
I know this mom profile all too well because it was me. Living just above broke, and over compensating with my boys to make up for the lack in other areas of their life.
Single mom's often sacrifice their own health and well-being because they lack family support and community support to take the time and money.
These are the mom’s who are the over-givers and very often will become sick because of chronic stress and worry, and her self-care is sacrificed.
She is living paycheck to paycheck. Any kind of out of the ordinary expense creates a financial hardship. The car breaks down; unexpected illness and missed time from work; layoff from business relocation or down sizing (it happened to me), death of a spouse or child leaving them with expenses and loss of income (yup, my youngest son died at 3 years old); divorce and absentee fathers (yup! x2 on the deadbeat dads).
They tell their kids NO way too often for things that are really common for most other kids like field trips, seeing the latest and greatest movie, hitting the McDonald’s drive thru just for fun or because moms too tired to cook, sports activities because they are too expensive...or they rely on grandparents and credit cards to cover these "extras".
This occurs in part because often family is far away or not available to help take the edge off with taking the kids for a few hours or a few days – leaving mom’s always 'on' in referee and caregiver mode.
Often she can’t afford a babysitter to get time away to relax and reboot, or worse she feels guilty and undeserving.
Beyond Community Outreach...It's a MOVEMENT!
The fact is, this is a need much bigger than NEPA. Ask any parent and they will tell you raising children has many challenges. Doing it alone brings it to another level of complexity with a myriad of roles to navigate, financial struggle, starting and ending relationships - these can all take an emotional toll on single mom's.
In the United States single mom's are head of household to 17.2 million children under the age of 18.
In reality though, many children over the age of 18 are still living at home or being supported financially in some way by their mom's. The point here is that emotionally and financially the responsibility doesn't end at age 18 very often.
For this reason we created a community support group on Facebook to connect and support single mom's everywhere. Come join us and LIKE our page to stay up to date and get inspired and support.
HOW WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
It is our hope and vision that our small contribution of support to encourage, inspire and engage will express to these mom’s they are not forgotten, and that they are valued and supported. That they in fact are not invisible - we see them, we understand, and we care.
As women and important contributors to our society, we want to give them a nudge of encouragement, and hope they feel inspired to keep going and being the best they can – and when they can, they’ll pass it on...and with that, we have started an important shift in connection with humanity that will change our community in countless ways.
To learn more about being a sponsor, community contributor, make an in-kind donation, volunteer or learn more about this project and how you or your organization can get involved contact Donna Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be mailed to Donna Nelson c/o AASM PO Box 338 Mountain Top PA 18707. Makes checks payable to ADOPT A SINGLE MOM PROJECT
Adopt-a-Single-Mom of NEPA Project © 2019