An interview towards helping single mothers

I can’t even remember exactly when I held the interview – but at least eight years ago I called up Penny Weaver the local director of the New Life Pregnancy Center (NLPC) in Decatur and started asking her what the single mother needs. Penny was very gracious to spend time with me and she gave me a list of the needs of a single mother.
I hastily took notes and stashed the paper in my Bible. Today, at least eight years later I still have that paper and I look at it often as I think about ways to help the single mothers in our community. Using that old paper I’ll reconstruct as best I can the interview in hopes that some of you will gain some good use out of it.

tcblack: Penny, thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions, I’m becoming more and more aware of single mothers in my own community and I want to ask your expert opinion on what we can do to help them. Can you give me an idea what the biggest needs of single mothers are?

PW:* I’m happy to help, this is what we do in Decatur and if we can assist you in your community we will. So many of the girls that come to us are high school age girls who got pregnant. While there are many individual needs like counseling them to keep the baby instead of aborting it; the biggest need many of them have is encouragement to stay in school. You and I both know that children need lots of care and going to school with an infant isn’t very practical which means they are going to need safe childcare they can rely on.
*This is a reconstruction not an exact quotation

tcblack:Ok, Childcare is one thing. What about the fact that most of these girls are kids themselves?

PW:* These girls definitely need support as well as basic training in parenting skills. One of the things we’ve done here is to provide a single mom’s support group. This helps by providing some social interaction – A single mother has to do the job of two parents which means they seldom get to be with another adult. The Support group helps just by giving them a place to be around other women.
At the support group we try to have some women who know what it is to be a mother in order to help mentor them. We will start with a simple devotion and provide babysitting in another nearby room while they meet. Some of the girls come just because it’s something to do, and others because it’s genuinely valuable to them.
We also try to line up something special for each meeting with some community professionals.

As a sort of “reward” for the girls coming we give them coupons which they can save up and use to purchase something from our boutique.
*This is a reconstruction not an exact quotation

tcblack: Any specific suggestions for what we could do as a church?

PW:* One local church collects items that every mother with a newborn is going to need – everything from a package of diapers to burp rags and a devotional book for mothers; and they are right there with a packet for new mothers.
I’ve already mentioned mentoring but these girls desperately need a godly mentor; someone they can call up when they are frustrated or tired or when they need to know how to check for a temperature.
*This is a reconstruction not an exact quotation

There you have it, it was a much longer interview but that is the important part I can reconstruct from my ancient coffee stained notes. If I could sum up with one word the major need that came across it would be mentoring.

Know any godly women? Those are the ladies who really can be helpful in reaching out to single mothers.