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SMO highlights need for support network

Posted: November 23, 2009 2:26 p.m.
Updated: November 24, 2009 2:20 p.m.
 
It's true what they say - everyday you are writing a new page in your life's novel. After all, isn't it you living in your shoes? You can draft an original story from the malnourished bones of your childhood; you can flip the script and start a business after 20 years as a stay-at-home mother. Yes, you can!

What "they" don't say, what they leave in the fine print for you to look over at home, is that you must be brutally honest with yourself, focus on your strengths (everybody has at least one), and maintain a certain level of bullheaded determination.

But who has time for that jargon? In reality, many single moms are simply trying to feed their children, pay the bills, and stay afloat in a sea of responsibility. After working all day, fixing dinner, and keeping Jon and Kate from killing each other, who can muster the energy to be superwoman? The great news is that you don't have to do it alone.

Many success stories can make a person resemble a heroine with supernatural abilities, when in fact; while Mom worked and went to school, Grandma was watching the kids. That's why nearly every self-help guru agrees that a supportive network is necessary for success.

Having help doesn't take away from your accomplishments or make you seem less competent. It makes you human. It gives you someone to talk to about your frustrations and your successes. It proves that not only are you a hard worker, but you are also smart and resourceful - you accomplish more. And most importantly, you inspire others.

Christina Vadell is such a heroine. Full of heart, intelligent and kind, this single mother was once jobless, homeless, newly divorced and suffering from the aftermath of a 17 year old abusive relationship. Vadell embodied defeat.

"I was depressed and confused. I was hoping for direction in dealing with [my life]." Knowing she needed help, Vadell called Single Mothers Outreach (SMO) after a brief internet search. "I completely identified with the SMO slogan. DaAnne didn't interrogate me; she simply asked a couple of questions. The materials she handed me were exactly what I needed. She quickly added me to the network, which made me feel like part of something positive. It was encouraging to say the least."

Once Vadell shifted through the welcome packet of resources, she discovered something that she had never experienced before: domestic abuse counseling. "The domestic counseling was the best thing I ever did. I have never been to group counseling so it was great to be able to just share my situation with other ladies with the same issues."

Since becoming a part of SMO's network, Vadell was quickly steering her life in a direction that she could be happy about. After one meeting, she had already been empowered with a wealth of information. Vadell continued to use the variety of resources available and not only tended to her emotional well-being, but to her finances as well. Using the SMO job network, she decided to post her resume.

"That same day, within an hour, Rene Kennedy emailed me. She said her company was looking for a Purchasing Agent and asked me to send her my resume. I did and the next day, true to her word, she submitted my resume for consideration and I received a call within a day. I interviewed and within a week I was hired!" Renee described happily. "Now, I sit in my cubicle right next to my new friend and coworker, Renee Kennedy."

Christina speaks about SMO in a voice that can only be described as warm, passionate and grateful. She doesn't lack for kind words to say about DaAnne, the volunteers, or the program. Her appreciation shows in her desire build a beautiful life for her family and her need for others to feel empowered as well.

"I would encourage joining Single Mothers Outreach if only for the sense of belonging. Before joining I did not identify with anything in life. I thought I was going to either make the mistake of getting involved with someone too soon or just stay in a depressing funk for God knows how long. I strongly believe once you join [SMO] the interaction alone will lift your spirits. You are not being judged or questioned. Just accepted. You know if you have something to say it will be heard. That is something we all need and should have a sense of being part of our community."

Now as a volunteer and member of SMO, Vadell is able to give back to a community that continues to cheer her on.

"I have been inspired for the first time in my life to volunteer which is very spiritual and holds a lot of meaning for me. If I open my heart and mind, [I realize] there are others just like me doing the same on Single Mothers Outreach. Helping others is what it is all about.

"Vadell proves that no matter the situation, no matter your past; at Single Mothers Outreach, it is possible to write your own success story and to be a part of someone else's. Despite the added help, Vadell is conducting the symphony of her life. She is making choices, taking initiative, and being the strong woman she was always created to be." Prior to SMO I would say I was afraid and confused. I felt defeated. After SMO, I feel empowered, aware and inspired. I know I can make a difference in my world and that things can get better. I know that I will take care of my family."

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