Many single mothers face stigma and economic barriers due to a lack of support, despite 80 percent of single-parent families being headed by mothers. A third of this group lives in poverty according to a 2021 study.
Organizations like the Jeremiah Program of Fargo-Moorhead deploy a variety of initiatives and programs to disrupt this poverty cycle, two generations at a time.
Founded in 1993, the Jeremiah Program has grown its impact by simultaneously investing in single moms’ personal and professional goals and the education of their children, so they can re-author their family’s outcomes and act as a change agent within their communities.
Here are nine examples of how the Jeremiah Program of Fargo-Moorhead has launched single mothers and their children into leveling up their goals to create a purposeful and meaningful life.
1. They motivate single moms to go for their dreams.
Jennifer De Rose, a recent graduate of JP Mom Empowerment and Leadership Program in Fargo, described how she felt after she heard about the residential program.
“Overall, what I love and admire most about the program is that it opens up possibilities,” she says. “Possibilities that can be hard to see when you are caught in a cycle of simply surviving day-to-day as a single mom.”
The JP of Fargo-Moorhead opened a 20-unit housing campus for single moms and their children experiencing poverty in 2018. Single mothers who apply for the program and are accepted can receive a variety of services including warm and spacious apartments for themselves and their children.
2. They provide affordable housing with amenities.
Through a partnership with Fargo Housing, JP of Fargo-Moorhead provides a safe warm multi-use building where they can rent their own two- or three-bedroom apartment. These apartments have spacious closets, updated floors, laundry in the building, and a community room. From these amenities, single moms can provide a stable home to host family events, like their child’s birthday party.
3. Their staff and program alumni challenge the stigma associated with poverty or single parents.
Jennifer described the lack of empathy toward her at a women’s shelter she stayed at before being accepted into the residential program. Every day the JP of Fargo-Moorhead staff and program alumni remind single mothers of their worth, agency, and power.
4. They empower single months through an extensive course.
One of the first requirements, if accepted into the program, is a 12-week empowerment and leadership training course specifically designed for single mothers.
In 2021, the organization affected 207 lives of mothers and children in the Fargo-Moorhead area, an increase of 32% from the previous year, according to its website.
In addition to their leadership training, moms in JP of Fargo-Moorhead receive one-on-one family coaching to build their communication and parenting skills.
5. They provide access to childcare.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, parents struggled to find affordable and dependable childcare. The North Dakota Child Care Action Alliance describes North Dakota as a “childcare desert,” and statistics taken from North Dakota KIDS COUNT, a statewide resource for data on the well-being of children, show that the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated problems associated with childcare.
JP Fargo-Moorhead’s campus includes an onsite child development center with the capacity to serve up to 52 children. In 2021, they served the highest number of families in JP Fargo-Moorhead history including moms who lived both on and off campus.
6. They ensure children receive effective early childhood education.
According to North Dakota Kids Counts, most licensed providers – approximately 88 percent – do not participate in its Quality Rating and Improvement System (Bright & Early ND). JP of Fargo-Moorhead participates and ensures every child receives high-quality early experiences that help them develop the skills they need to be successful in school, work and life.
7. They create a pathway for single mothers to earn their degree.
According to a 2021 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, only 18% of student parents earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years. This can affect both the mother and the child, losing the momentum that some success generates and precious time with their child.
8. They provide healthy breakfast and lunch – even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jeremiah Program of Fargo-Moorhead has an on-campus food service provider who cooks healthy and delicious meals for children enrolled at their center. During mandatory closures due to COVID-19, they provided take-out meals for both residential and off-campus single moms.
9. They provide both summer programs and a childcare stipend to help with evening or weekend care.
All students need the time and resources to study. Single moms are no different. With the help of the Jeremiah Program of Fargo-Moorhead, moms can ensure they have the time to focus on their dreams and ensure their child has enriching and fun experiences.
Although the Jeremiah Program provides the necessary support for moms to begin the path out of poverty, the organization highlights that it’s the moms themselves who are the best architects of the solutions to their families’ challenges.
Support the Jeremiah Program by attending RDO Caters Taters, Wednesday, November 2 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Fargo. 100% of proceeds benefit Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead.