SingleMomzRock takes on the Missouri Capitol!
On March 7, 2017 something happened that I never would have imagined for myself or for SingleMomzRock. I stepped foot in the Missouri State Capitol building and was among a group of single mom’s that was honored to testify on behalf of the “CLIFF” bill that is trying to get passed in our House of Representatives.
On the drive from Springfield to Jefferson City, we mostly talked about what we were expecting for the afternoon hearing with none of us ever having been a part of something like this. We were nervous, excited and a bit intimidated. Would the Representatives we were talking to be kind to us? Would they be asking us questions? What were we supposed to say exactly when it was our turn to talk?
We all knew about the term “Cliff Effect.” For those that do not, it means when a small hike in wages leads to a loss of government assistance and you end up making less than if you would have not taken the wage increase. We talked about this a lot and who had experienced this. Each story is different but every one of these women did NOT want to live off of assistance when they had to. They wanted to work, and get paid for the work they were doing. They wanted to take the raises they were given. But they also knew what that would mean for them if they did. Sometimes to the degree of losing everything they had.
I know some of you won’t understand what this means. I wish more people didn’t have to understand what it is. What it means to have to choose between working and paying for childcare. What it means to choose to better yourself even if that means you won’t be making ends meet for quite some time. Right now, the way the system works it does not make it pay to actually work harder. It actually incentives you if you don’t work.
Six of us were able to tell part of our stories and why we are in favor of the “CLIFF” bill. The Representatives listened to us. They asked questions even; good questions. They emphasized with us. They really saw us. And that’s all we really wanted. To be seen. To be heard. To be listened to.
The conversations on the way home that night were a little different than coming. We talked about how we each can make a difference. How empowering it felt to be a bigger part of change and how we were so glad we had each other to experience it all with.
Thank you to Rep. Crystal Quade for making this happen and for working with our moms. For seeing us. For hearing us. For listening to us.
By Janelle Reed.
Working, single mom receives car donation
A few months ago, Nikki Underwood's 11-year-old daughter Kyra became very ill and needed to see the pediatrician. But Underwood — a single, working mom who is also a full-time student — hasn't owned a vehicle in more than 10 years.
She helped Kyra onto a city bus for the two-hour trip across town.
"She was so sick," Underwood recalled. "She threw up several times on the bus."
Underwood shared the story with the News-Leader while sitting in the driver's seat of a new-to-her 2005 Chevy Malibu. She had just been given the keys and was overwhelmed at times with emotion.
No more two-hour bus rides.
"It's going to be a blessing," she said of the car, which had been gifted by friends Sandy and Rodney Nance and repaired at no cost by Friendly Ford in Springfield.
Rodney Nance drove Underwood to the dealership Thursday morning to pick up the car. He and his wife have known Underwood for about six years. Their daughters are friends, he explained.
"She needed a car. We saw her life and how busy she was and all she did," he said. "We thought it would help make her life easier."
The car had been inoperable and sitting in Nance's driveway for some time. Rodney Nance said someone suggested he reach out to SingleMomzRock, a support group for single moms, to see if there were any resources available to repair the car.
SingleMomzRock's founder Janelle Reed was happy to help. Reed called Friendly Ford service manager Joel Westerfield, knowing the dealership had supported SingleMomzRock in the past.
"The car needed a little bit of work," Reed said. "Friendly Ford was generous enough to do the work and provide the labor."
Reed, who was also there Thursday morning when Underwood was given the keys, said connecting single moms with resources is part of her group's mission.
"We are super excited that she doesn't have to use the bus anymore," Reed said.
Westerfield said the car had to be towed to Friendly Ford. Repair and maintenance work included a new subframe, steering gear, brakes, wiper blades, new wheel covers, oil change and detailing. Westerfield figured the total value of the work and parts was about $1,200 — but free for Underwood.
Folks from radio station 88.3 The Wind were also there to greet Underwood, surprising her with balloons, snacks and a box of CDs to listen to in the vehicle.
Underwood began to cry when she walked in the doors and saw a crowd waiting for her.
Between getting her daughter to school and activities, getting to her job at Walmart and to school at Ozarks Technical Community College, Underwood guessed she spent at least 10 hours every week riding a bus.
With the vehicle, she said she'll be able to do volunteer work and her daughter can participate in sports.
Underwood graduates in May with an associate's degree. She said she'd like to transfer to Drury University, but Missouri State University might be a more affordable option. She plans to pursue a master's degree is social work with a minor in psychology.
When asked what sort of work she'd like to pursue, Underwood smiled.
She wants to find a career that allows her to give back to those in need.
"I know what it's like. I've been there," she said. "There were times I felt like, 'You know what? I'm ready to give up.'
"But God don't put no more on us than we can handle," Underwood continued. "I felt like he didn't want me to give up. He kept putting these people in my path and encouraging me."
"I'm leaning on God to guide me," she said later. "I'm open to whatever he shows me. It's not my plan. It's His plan."
3/16/2017 Article by Jackie Rehwald
For Full Article and Video please click here.
SingleMomzRock partners with Evangel University students on policy regarding the "Cliff Effect".
SingleMomzRock's Founder, Janelle Reed, partners with Central Assembly to co-create Empowered for Life, a pilot program for single moms living in poverty.
SingleMomzRock, a support group for single mothers, and Central Assembly of God in Springfield have teamed up to create a program to help people out of poverty." Empowered for Life," the pilot program, will focus on single mothers in poverty and started this week. Organizers hope to expand the services to men and entire families.
Ten local women were chosen to participate in a series of educational classes and are paired with community mentors to help them develop and implement a personalized action plan to lift them out of poverty.
"It puts people in a position that they can better themselves," said Janelle Reed, founder of Single Momz Rock.
Participants will follow lesson plans and textbooks from the Getting Ahead series by Philip E. Devol. Every week participants will learn about different topics like social classes, causes of poverty, how to build individual and community resources, and create a personal plan to getting out of poverty.
"For example, even just like a small thing for somebody in poverty to be able to communicate with their kids' teachers or principals. That is a big issue for a lot of them," said Anthony Matrone, outreach coordinator at Central Assembly. "They are used to being talked down to. This will give them the confidence to know how to talk."
Central Assembly paid for the textbooks and is providing childcare and dinner for the participants. The program is modeled after the Circles program in Joplin, which Reed said has proven to be successful. Circles was launched in 2012 and according to UnitedWayMokan.org, the program "creates a framework for people to build intentional relationships across class and race lines with the goal of ending poverty."
Want to help?
Empowered for Life needs women to serve as mentors — or allies — for the participants. Because the pilot program is focusing on single mothers, Reed said she hopes to find middle or upper class moms who might have struggled with poverty issues in the past. Mentors will touch base with the participants on a weekly basis for at least a year.
"It's not about (the mentors) paying for things or providing for them. It's about helping them provide for themselves," Reed said.
To see the full article please visit here.
Sick Day Survival Guide - Janelle Reed
Waiting on God
As a single parent, we go through many different seasons during our journey. Some seasons of mountain top highs, others of devastating lows, but mostly of expectantly waiting. I feel these are some of the most challenging times of being a single parent; waiting through the storms.
What exactly are you waiting for? The next paycheck so you can pay rent or maybe you are waiting for the next blind date to work out so you can finally be in a relationship, what about for the kids to be out of the house. Most importantly, are you waiting on God?
If you are anything like me, you tend to get caught up in the waiting period that half of the time you don’t even remember what you are waiting for. During the last four years of my life I have waited a lot, for many different things, and to be honest I am still waiting. I have finally come to the point where I am seeking His will for my life; everything else after that is just a bonus.
When God laid this ministry, SingleMomzRock, on my heart I was in a season of waiting. I realize that certain things have happened so I can give my full attention to building this ministry the way God needs it to be. God has called me to serve in my waiting season. Do I know how long I will be single…no. So I am going to give it all I have.
We all are going to go through many seasons, even many seasons of waiting. But what you do during those seasons of waiting is what God is trying to build; faith and hope in Him. Give thanks to Him even in those devastating lows you will go through and be content right where He has placed you for such a time as this. Psalms 62:5 says “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”
God will see you through those waiting seasons. He continues to do so with me. See what happens when you recklessly abandon your plans and follow only His. You never know, they may be far greater than you would have ever imagined for yourself.
This article was featured on The Life of a Single Mom Ministries website on March 2, 2015.
By Janelle Reed.
- Our founder, Janelle Reed, was honored to be a part of the 2nd Edition copy of "Overwhelmed: The Life of a Single Mom" by Jennifer Barnes Maggio-The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. If you have yet to read her story, please order this today! It will give you hope when you feel hopeless!