Single Mom Strong: Helping Women in Roseville Find Their Wings
Can women "have it all?" Not easily if they’re single moms, says Tara Taylor, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Single Mom Strong, which supports women raising children alone. According to census data, that’s one-quarter of all households in the Sacramento area—households that often struggle to provide their children with basic needs.
As a single mother herself for 18 years, now remarried, Taylor dug into her own life to develop a program that would offer the personal and professional support she knows could have benefited her and her daughter. "I thought about my experiences and challenges and wanted to find a way to make it easier for other moms," she says. In just two years, Single Mom Strong has undertaken an impressive agenda of activities, and 240 single mothers have participated in at least one of them. What’s more, there are no dues or attendance requirements either. "If something interests you, [you can] just come on out," Taylor says.
The organization kicked off in December 2016 with an Adopt-a-Family event that provided holiday gifts to single moms and their kids, an activity that has continued annually. "The holidays can be overwhelming," Taylor says. "A lot of moms go into debt for their kids." This past December, the group gave presents to 16 families and, from the generous donations, had enough toys for four more families.
On Valentine’s Day this year—"a day that can be tough for single moms"—the group held a kid-friendly Love Your Life celebration, featuring a gourmet meal, champagne, and guest speakers.
Single Mom Strong’s core program consists of a minimum of four events per month, with childcare provided where needed, and include:
MOTHER AND CHILD: An activity such as roller skating or visiting the zoo that promotes affordable bonding time with children and one another.
MOM’S NIGHT OUT: A fun evening to give single moms a much-needed break.
EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOPS: Courses offering moms resources and life skills, such as goal setting. time management, and self-defense. Taylor, a life coach, leads some of the classes, while other single mothers and industry professionals lead ones in their respective areas of expertise.
New programs set to start this year include:
MEN’S MENTORSHIP PROGRAM: Provides positive, caring male role models for the children. Men are trained and commit to one activity per month.
SUMMER CAMPS: Helps solve the problem of finding summer day care with affordable weeklong camps based around different themes; expected to open in June.
EMPOWERMENT CENTER WITH CO-OP DAY CARE: Single Mom Strong's new home in Citrus Heights, slated to open in May, features an atrium with an indoor playground. The day care center, open from 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. for full-time or drop-in needs, is staffed by a paid teacher and parent volunteers.
What else is in store for the future? According to Taylor, expansion to other cities. “There’s nothing like Single Mom Strong anywhere else in the country.” She’s already developing a manual for starting other chapters. If it seems like she’s moving fast, it's because she has to. “I’m trying to keep up with the speed of my dreams.”
By Linda Holderness
Photos by Dante Fontana