Today, there are 12 million single parent families in the United States. Single mothers head more than 80% of those 12 million families.
When Neferteri Shepherd’s marriage crumbled after 5 years and the birth of her two children, her life was immediately turned upside down. Gone were the days when she could leave her kids with her husband while she ran her daily errands; now a quick trip to the grocery store required complex coordination. Confronted with the new responsibilities that came with single motherhood, Shepherd felt vulnerable and overwhelmed.
That’s when Shepherd began to think a little bit more about what she could gain through being a single mother rather than what she could lose. She found that she was joining a powerful, unique community of women who were also raising their children on their own. When Shepherd realized that she wanted to connect with and further empower this community of women, she decided to found her own non-profit, Single Mom Planet.
Once Shepherd launched Single Mom Planet in June of 2013, she delineated her primary goals immediately. She decided that Single Mom Planet would focus upon empowering mothers in five different areas: relationships, self-image and beauty, financial literacy, spirituality, and service.
Today, in order to facilitate that empowerment, moms who join Single Mom Planet are immediately partnered with mentors who specialize in the area in which the mom seeks empowerment. If a mother wants to buy her own home, Single Mom Planet will partner her with a real estate agent. If a mother wants to work on her relationships, she will be partnered with a relationship expert. Single Mom Planet also has a large contingent of mothers and employees who write articles on their website, singlemomplanet.com, in order to encourage other single mothers.
These articles are filled with advice regarding how to enjoy “Girls Night Out”, how to “Get Fit With Your Kids”, and how to live according to the “Three Pillars of Health”.
Single Mom Planet does not focus solely upon the well being of single mothers. Currently, there are more than 22 million children being raised within single parent families. Single Mom Planet strongly considers the influence that mothers can have upon their children’s outlook on life. Shepherd emphasizes that, “When you transform the mind of a single mother and show her a brighter future, then her life will transform. And her children will transform as well. She will be able to bring more to the future of her children. Single mothers often take on this abandonment persona and they often manifest that feeling in their child. As a mom, maybe you possess certain flaws, but you don’t want your child to be limited by those same flaws”.
More than a year ago, Shepherd and the rest of her staff organized their first successful Single Mom Planet event, a brunch that allowed single parent families to unite and share their stories. “It makes me wanna cry right now just thinking about the brunch”, Shepherd recalls. “We had a 16-year-old girl talking about how she’s never seen her father. It’s so moving because you see how much hurt they have in their heart”.
The brunch was only the first in a series of events that Single Mom Planet has organized with the intention of healing single mothers along with their children. This October, Single Mom Planet is organizing a jazz festival in order to celebrate and honor single mothers and their families.
Above all, Single Mom Planet is a place where women can go to reclaim their lives. “Just know that you are so powerful”, Shepherd stresses. “Don’t let what life has shown you thus far take away your power. Don’t live in the past, move forward. Your kids are watching everything you do and everything you say. They love mama, there’s nobody like mama. We raise leaders, we raise people who change the world. What you do is not in vain. And you’re not alone. Single Mom Planet is here.”
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