There are so many occasions in a mother’s journey where she feels helpless, tired and fresh out of support systems. This is true for the average mother but when you add the burden of being poverty-stricken it becomes nightmarish. The times when she has no partner, no transportation, no way to pay the rent, not enough money to pay utilities, struggling to stretch a food budget. Add in the common bouts of depression that, even though millions suffer through it, few are willing to discuss it openly when it looms heavily. It can take only one catastrophe to bring an entire family and another generation to a cycle of despair.
Having been a single mother by way of divorce, I still remember the countless sleepless nights I had with what seemed to be never-ending hurdles, roadblocks and the challenges of each new day. At the end of my book, A Mother’s Manual – I give thanks to God first and then to an extensive list of the people I call My Village. A village that I enlisted, many volunteered for and all without whom I do not think my children would have fared as well as they have. Seven years ago, my son helped to support us after he graduated from college before he turned 21. This year I have 3 children in college. Two will graduate this May. One holds two crowns as campus queen and overall HBCU Queen. One will graduate from Columbia University with more than a 4.0 GPA. My youngest will be interning in Washington, D.C. with her eyes on a future in politics.
It has been a long road for me and I know there are countless other single mothers, especially Black mothers, who are going through what I’ve gone through who are struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel. When I came across a Huffington Post article dated October 29th, 2017 I could feel my excitement as I read the title - To Stop The Cycle Of Poverty, We Need To Invest In Mothers. I was reading phrases that I had never read before when talking about helping women like me. Things like: Invest in mothers; keeping families afloat; the basic necessities of life…
When I read that the Wayfinder Foundation was founded on the principle that if we invest in women, we will change the world, I knew I had finally found an organization that shares my beliefs. Their mission is very close to the slogan on the back my own business card which reads MOTHERS HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD! As a longtime advocate for mothers, parents, guardians and children, I have often felt like a lone soldier. Nonetheless, I have dedicated the rest of my life as an elder, I am 57, a mother of adult children and a survivor of multiple challenges, to doing whatever I can to empower, inform and encourage other mothers to stay the course and win. I know absolutely that I could not have raised children who have excelled and been outstanding in so many ways without the assistance I had. Public assistance is not enough. The quicksand of poverty is not easily escaped. In fact, I see people sinking every day.
As I read and researched more about the Wayfinder Foundation, I realized that I had found my people. Another village where I could belong to continue this fight for mothers’ sustenance and children’s wellbeing and futures. I am an author and a parent mentor but as I write this piece, I am considering adding yet another title to the work I do – Mothers’ Advocate. ad·vo·ca·cy[ ad-v uh-k uh-see] NOUN [PLURAL AD·VO·CA·CIES.] 1.the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal: She was known for her advocacy of mothers’ needs.
I am most thankful that I tracked down the author of that important and possibly life-changing post by Chris Stewart, President and CEO of the Wayfinder Foundation. It was urgent that I let him know that there was at least one like-minded mother with boots on the ground and ready to enlist in his corps. As I continue this journey to find and harness all the MOTHERPOWER available to make the necessary changes in my community and in our world - it is so wonderful to have found my way into the village of the Wayfinder Foundation.