As a single parent, you may often wonder if your child is less happy than families who have both parents in the picture. But a new study shows that "Broken homes" may not be broken, after all.
A group of researchers from the UK analyzed data from over 12,000 7-year old children, and found that children from single parent families are just as happy as those living with two biological parents, or one biological parent and one step-parent.
"It is not the family composition that matters- but the quality of the relationships at home".
What do you think of this study? Please leave us feedback, we love to hear from our members! Also, please remember to look through the many useful resources and information on SPAOA.org
Sarah is a single mom working as a waitress at Ruby Tuesday. Two customers came into her work during her lunch shift, in their national guard uniforms. She overheard them talking about how they wanted to order something small, since they were low on cash. They also mentioned that this was due to the government shutdown, which was messing heavily with their income. Being a single mom, Sarah also knew what it was like to go through financial hardship. So out of the kindness of her heart, she covered the lunch for both of the customers. She also left a note, which was posted to facebook by the customers. This small act of kindness got so much attention, and it even received the attention from Ellen Degeneres.
Even as a single parent going home with $8 dollars in tips in her pocket, Sarah went out of her way to show kindness to others who were also suffering through hardship. She is a wonderful example to do well unto others. No matter what situation you are in, never forget to be kind to one another, and to reach out to others in need. You never know how the universe will reward you.
God Bless you single parents, and remember to "Be kind to one another".
Here at SPAOA we often hear about financial and personal hardships that our members have faced or are still currently experiencing. Some of these hardships include homelessness, or difficult situations such as abuse where a parent has no choice but to remove themselves and their children from the dangerous situation. Some even just need a temporary place to stay until their housing situation improves. For people in such desperate situations it can be hard to have any hope with such limited options, especially when families don't want to rely on a last resort which is usually homeless shelters. Homeless shelters are not comfortable, and there may be rules and regulations that can be very irritating to follow, but you must if you want a place to sleep outside of the elements.
Another option can be to stay in a motel, such as motel 6. Motel 6 offers a clean, comfortable room and great service, and they are also pet-friendly. Also, children 17 and under stay free when occupying the same room with an adult family member. Now at Motel 6, YOU CAN SAVE WITH YOUR SPAOA MEMBERSHIP.
Motel 6 has partnered with SPAOA to provide all SPAOA members a 10% discount at any of the 1,100+ Motel 6 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Motel 6 has the lowest price of any national chain, and the discount will help you save you even more, making it easier to afford a comfortable place to stay for you and your family.
To learn more, please CLICK HERE
One of the biggest factors to homelessness in America is the lack of affordable housing made available to individuals who simply are not making a large enough income. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, over 640,000 people experience homelessness on any given night in the US. Some of these individuals are chronically homeless, which is a term given to individuals that experience long-term or repeated times of homelessness, and they are often the public face of the homelessness issue. A survey of 29 cities in the U.S. found the homeless population to increase by 6% from the previous year. Some of these homeless individuals suffer from some form of mental illness. Veterans who have selflessly served our country often end up homeless due to mental and physical disabilities they have taken home from the battlefield, such as Post-traumatic stress.
Anyone can end up homeless, whether they're suffering from financial hardship, bad circumstance, or even mental illness. We see these people often if not every day, at local parks, grocery stores, alleys, or anywhere they can find some form of shelter, because they do not have a home to go to where they feel safe. Maybe at times we imagine what it must be like, or maybe we've even experienced homelessness for ourselves. So maybe we'll hand them a few bucks, or go buy them some food and water. Other times we might walk past them as if they do not exist, simply because we do not have time to glance. Or maybe we even look at these people with disinterest because in our own eyes they are not working for the essentials they need in life. Most importantly, we often forget that this person is a living human being with a heart and feelings, and we will never understand the path that lead them to where they're standing now.
Now imagine walking down the street on your way to an appointment, and you see a homeless individual sitting on the ground. You don't want to be late, so you look away and walk on by this person. But what if this homeless individual wasn't a perfect stranger? What if it was your mother or father? Brother or sister? Friend or relative? Had you have known this person was someone you personally care about, would you have made time to stop?
This question was asked, and tested on individuals as a social experiment by the NYC Rescue Mission. The question begs to ask us all, "Have we made the homeless invisible?", and have we really numbed ourselves so much to such a real problem? See what happens in the video in the link below when the family members of the test subject are dressed as homeless people to see how they would react. We hope you enjoy the video and that it touches your heart.
About the NYC Rescue Mission:
- The objective of the New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM) has remained the same since its founding in 1872: to provide spiritual hope, food, clothing and shelter to people in crisis in New York City.
- Overnight guests are offered nutritious meals, housing, spiritual guidance, medical/social service support and clean clothing.
- Long-term residents are offered career development assistance, job placement, financial and job skills training, internet and e-mail access, and GED preparation courses.
- The men in the Recovery Program receive weekly individual and group counseling, as well as faith based study and discipleship.
- The rescue mission now offers an emergency women’s shelter to handle the growing number of women in homeless distress and offer them help and life changing program opportunities.
- New York City Rescue Mission is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, all donations likely tax-deductible.
Kelly Griffith-Bauer was rejected by her parents, friends, and the community when they found out she was expecting a child, leaving her with feelings of loneliness and betrayal from such thin relationships. "The varsity cheerleader got pregnant", they all thought. At the time she was fortunate enough to rely on her grandparents for support, and managed to graduate high school even after giving birth to her son, Braxton, her senior year. After she graduated, she needed a new place to escape the cruel judgements from her hometown. So in a bold move, she packed her things and moved to Portland to stay with a family member.
She was woken up in the middle of the night and given 10 minutes to grab her things and leave. She hoped to stay with a friend in a teen-mom foster group, but could not live there permanently. She later on pooled money together with relatives and friends to rent an apartment. This wasn't comfortable. She had nothing, not even a bed. So she would sleep on the floor, making baby blankets into pillows. For the next three years, she worked at a jewelers in downtown Portland, dropping off her son with a neighbor she barely knew. She felt scared and sad every time she had to leave her son to go work, but knew that she had to be able to support them financially. She lived on food stamps, free health care and donated clothing. But when she heard about a job opening at phone company, she was more than ready to move on.
Unfortunately, her job was eliminated but they offered a choice: keep her position and move to Arizona, have a different position in Portland, or accept a severance package that included career counseling and two years of tuition reimbursement should she return to school. With a craving for knowledge, she chose the severance package. It was the riskier of alternatives, but she was brave enough. She wanted to be premed.
There were points that she had to go back on food-stamps, but in the long run all her hard work and courage paid off. In 2006, she graduated from PSU, and says it is one of the proudest moments of her life. That year she also met her husband, Jeremy Bauer, a forensic biomechanist. They met in downtown's Kells Irish bar, where Bauer played Irish music and she danced. She was accepted in medical school the following year after she made herself a more attractive candidate by learning Spanish and working on a mobile clinic for migrant workers.
She endured hardship for 16 years, and you can now call her Dr. Kelly Griffith-Bauer. If her story is not one of inspiration, I don't know what is! Let this be a message that anyone can accomplish their goals and dreams.
Utility bills are expensive. On top of the Green Movement, the importance of energy conservation has popped up on Americans' radar screens in a major way after oil-price spikes in 2008. This caused utility companies to add fuel surcharges to customers' bills. Not to mention droughts and water shortages in many regions of the country that forced strict water use restrictions. There's plenty of incentive to save money on utility bills any way you can.
So in honor of yesterday being Earth Day (April 22nd), we've provided some tips in this blog post to help you save on your utility bill. Plus you can feel good about your household going green!
- Paint Your Roof White:
A 1999 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Heat Island Group found that in sunny climates, buildings with white roofs required up to 40 percent less energy for cooling than those with black roofs. At current utility rates, that means you could save $120 or more per year in cooling costs. This is because darker colors typically absorb more heat than lighter colors. Black absorbs more heat than any other color. An inexpensive white, elastomeric roof coating will do the job and can be found at most hardware stores. Not to mention elastomeric coating is durable, flexible and waterproof, and offers the fringe benefit of helping to increase your roof's life span and water resistance!
- Do a Nightly Sweep:
Leaving fans, lights or appliances on at night while you sleep wastes increasingly expensive energy. So save money and do a nightly sweep through the house to make sure all your electrical devices are turned off before you go to bed. It's a pain, but if you make it a habit it's a simple way to save.
- Set your water heater at 120 degrees:
Heating your water too hot create the danger of scalding, and it can cost you. It's estimated that a heater set at 140 degrees or higher can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses to keep water at that temperature, and more than $400 to bring fresh water up to that high temperature. So turn down the heat and save!
- Don't let money slip through the cracks:
- Keep track of your utility bill:
Utility workers make mistakes just like the rest of us, and when they make mistakes reading your meter, it can be costly. So make sure your meter and utility bill match up. Even catching subtle errors can save you.
We hope these tips are useful to you, and that you start saving on your bills!
Being a single parent is a very busy life. With obligations like work, errands, appointments, and other duties, it can be very hard to get time for yourself. Plus lets face it, sometimes it would be a lot easier and faster to do all these things without your children present, not to mention the need for some well deserved rest and relaxation is a must! You may already have a support system established, such as family members or a reliable friend who doesn't mind helping you out with occasional babysitting jobs. But when a circumstance occurs where your friend or family member cannot watch over your kid(s), it can completely throw off your day, or even get you in trouble with your job.
This is why it's very important to have a reliable nanny. But finding a nanny can be hard, especially when it comes to trusting someone with your little ones. So we gathered some very useful tips to assist in your hunt for the perfect nanny!
WHERE TO LOOK?
- Ask friends and family: One of the best things about being so connected through social networking is that you can round up their recommendations pretty quickly. So make a few phone calls, post a few facebook statues, and ask away! You never know who will have a great suggestion, and you might even find a great candidate! Or even have your friends and family spread the word that you're currently looking for a nanny to hire!
- Go through an agency: There are several well known nanny agencies, all of which offer parents the chance to select nannies in their area, and even look over posted resumes of skills and previous experience.
- Remember: You are perfectly within your rights as a parent to question the character of the person who will be caring for your child in your absence. So be picky, but remember to not judge.
- Check their references: Don’t be shy about following up on every lead you’ve been given. Past experience is a very important indicator of someones character, and can help you make better decisions on who is the most suited candidate.
- Do a thorough Internet search: Thanks to Facebook and other social networking tools, you can easily unearth scandalous information. Again, don't judge. You're just making sure this person is a good influence to be bring into your home.
- Pay for a professional background check: When talking about the safety of your child, you can afford to throw some money towards a background check. It’s possible to find inexpensive basic background checks that will unearth anything you might want to know about your potential nanny.
- Previous work experience: Look at how many previous childcare jobs they’ve had. If the stays seem short, you may want to ask why. You’ll want to find someone who can commit to a decent amount of time and who is reliable, considering kids get very attached!
- Education: If one of your requirements is that your nanny needs to do occasional tutoring or help your child with homework, it's essential that your chosen candidate has a solid educational background.
- Childcare qualifications: Make sure you have a set job description for the candidates to see, including duties and salary/pay. CPR and first aid certification a must? Would they be willing to obtain it upon hiring? Cooking skills? Do you want a non-smoker? Will they have to be willing to be silly, and make arts & crafts with your child? No qualification is too small for your child, so list them all! You want the PERFECT nanny for your child.
- Test out a few scenarios: What would they do if your child was injured? Refusing to eat? Throwing a tantrum? Test these scenarios, and ask for responses from your candidates. See what they come up with and check that they are along the same lines as you would want them to react in that situation. You want to make sure you're on the same page with your nanny.
- Creativity and ingenuity with entertainment: What kinds of things would they do with your kids? Ask for specific examples and see if they line up with your own ideas and ideals. Maybe even ask for a test run day if you trust the candidate enough with your child. Be present for this test run, and watch as your potential candidate interacts with your child. Once the candidate leaves, ask your child simple questions like "Did you have fun today?", and see how your child responds. You want to make sure your child is comfortable.
We hope these tips helped you, and wish you single parents the best of luck in finding the right nanny for you! Below are some additional links that help with child related things that you may find useful. Also, remember to visit SPAOA.org for useful resources!Information regarding W.I.C.:
Information regarding diaper bank network:
Women of any age can become single parents through many unexpected circumstances, such as death of a spouse, divorce, abandonment or choice. Being a single mom can be difficult, especially when you're taking on two roles while focusing a lot of your attention on your children. But it's very important as a mother to maintain mental and physical health, and to thrive as an individual so that you can nurture your children to the best of your ability. Here are some tips to help make surviving a single mom easier!
- Your health and well being is vital!
- We all know that single moms are super heroes. You're holding down the fort and taking care of your little ones. But it's very important to remember yourself as well, and to take steps to ensure that you are still a priority. If you are struggling and feeling depressed don't be afraid to seek help from friends, family or a health care professional. Or even just take a moment to unwind! Soak in a bubble bath, watch your favorite movie when the kids are asleep, or catch up with a friend on the phone for some much needed girl talk. YOU ARE IMPORTANT TOO! It's perfectly fine to relax and have "Me time".
- Remember yourself as a person, and what you value:
- As a single mom, your mind is always racing. You're a selfless, caring woman who puts the needs and feelings of your children first. Along the journey you may feel like you're sacrificing a lot of who you are, but it's very important to take a moment to remember who you are as an individual. Maybe make a list of positive things that you like about yourself. Every individual is unique, and has traits and skills that make them who they are, so remember how awesome you are! It really helps put your focus on the positive, and to see how incredible you are as a person.
- You are not alone!
- This can be very hard to remember, especially with being a single mom. But just because you do not have a partner does not mean that you are alone, so establish a support system! Society has many outlets of good, kind, loving people. Connect with friends and family, or maybe even reach out to a support group. You can even get online and connect with other single mothers going through similar circumstances. Just remember that life is a beautiful thing, and it's important to reach out. Maybe you'll inspire and touch the hearts of others! Also, Look to close family, Universities and social agencies for assistance with food, clothing, medical needs, shelter and future education for yourself. Use state funded grants for housing and food if necessary, there's no shame in asking for help!
- Take responsibility, not blame.
- Be selective. Do not think that constraints with limited funds allow anyone to take advantage of or force you into a decision. Being a single mom is a tough situation, but remember you're a strong mother. As long as you have love for your child, your morals are intact and you behave in a responsible manner, all should work out for the best.
- Leave if you are in a bad neighborhood or an unhealthy relationship.
- Don't feel pressured to stay somewhere, or with someone who is unhealthy for you just because you're scared to be alone. The safety of your child should always be a priority. Remember, you're strong and able enough to stand on your own two feet! Don't settle for less than what you think you deserve in a relationship or living situation.
- Believe in yourself!
- It may take a while to accomplish all your goals, but you CAN do it! Always, always, ALWAYS have faith in yourself, and keep moving forward. Giving up is not an option for you strong single mothers!
- Ignore people who are critical of you.
- No matter where you go in life, there's always going to be criticism and negative people. Ignore these toxic influences in your life, and continue forward. YOU know how strong and amazing you are, so never let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Stay clean and healthy!
- Even super moms get sick, but being a single mom is a full time job in itself. So prioritize your health and hygiene, and the health of your children. Cleanliness means health!
- Be knowledgeable and Independent!
- You can never know too much information as a mom. So go to school, take some CPR classes, or parenting classes. Knowledge is power!
- Remember to enjoy being a parent!
- Being a single parent is a learning experience until the end. So enjoy it! Learn about your children, and let this experience shape you both into better people along the way. This is your own journey, and it's always important to treasure it.
For information on resources for single parents, please visit spaoa.org! To learn more! CLICK HERE
Today is April 2nd, which means it's World Autism Awareness Day, and we hope you're all wearing blue to show your support! In honor of this wonderful day of awareness, we're going to put the spotlight on Autism Speaks, and Temple Grandin.
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. With passion in their hearts, and the help of a longtime friend named Bernie Marcus who generously donated $25 million to help financially, they finally launched the organization. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization. They're dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism by increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. The goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.
Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two in 1949, is an animal behavior expert and author of The Autistic Brain, and considered an inspiration to many. In 2010, Grandin was listed in the Time 100 list of the one hundred most influential people in the world where she was placed in the "Heroes" category.
“I am different, not less.”
“If I could snap my fingers and be non-autistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am.”
Single parents need a reliable form of transportation for their every day activities, whether it's a trip to the store, taking little ones to school, or getting to your job. But with the expenses that come with taking care of a family on your own, it can be very hard financially to afford a car. With no car, the single parent could end up having to use other forms of transportation, such as a bus or other public transportation. Those who use public transportation know that the schedule is never exact, which could result in you being late to work or an appointment. Another thing to keep into account is emergency situations, such as your child being injured or ill. As a parent you want to get your child to help as soon as possible, which can be hard when you do not have a vehicle to transport your child in. You can call an ambulance, but that could cost anywhere between $500-$2000 depending on where you live. Another option would be to rely on friends and family for rides, but it can be a difficult situation when you have to rely on another person to get you to where you need to go.
Overall, not having your own vehicle can be very inconvenient. Fortunately it is not a problem that goes unnoticed by Free Charity Cars, which is a is a 501(C) (3) non-profit charity with a mission to "To engage in activities that will uplift humanity". The organization’s main focus is to provide free donated vehicles to struggling families to assist them in their transition from dependency to self-sufficiency. The Original 1-800-Charity Cars operates the largest free non-profit car-donation / distribution program in the nation and has awarded over 4500 free vehicles nationwide. Among its many awards, the organization is honored to be a past winner of the prestigious Walt Disney World Outstanding Community Service Award. It has also received local and national publicity being featured on shows such as Oprah, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News, and more! The steps are as simple as:
- Create your profile: This is an opportunity to explain why you are the most deserving candidate and why everyone should vote for you. This allows for you to personally tell your story.
- Generate votes and promote: This is a crucial part to receiving a Free Charity Car. By generating votes your profile attains a higher page rank, thus moving you up the list to have your application reviewed when a donated vehicle becomes available in your area. This promotes the idea of "Paying it forward" and helping others.
- Bond with supportive friends and apply for a free charity cars: As you develop friendships and vote for others, you receive votes in return. Many members report that they find the process of simply sharing their story very therapeutic, which also allows for you to reach out to families in similar difficult situations, and to not feel so alone.
To learn more about Free Charity Cars please click the link and go to www.freecharitycars.org