November Non-Profit Spotlight: Stacie Martin, Founder of Single Parent Advocate
Throughout the month of November, North Texas Kids will spotlight local non-profit organizations and the people behind them in our e-newsletter. This week, we are getting to know Stacie Martin, the founder of Single Parent Advocate (SPA).
Why did you start Single Parent Advocate? I started SPA because it broke my heart that kids of single parents have to “do without” due to the difficulties their parents face in terms of being spread thin with time and money, and heartbreak. When I was laid off, it felt like in order to get the things I needed for my son or our home, I had to lose everything first. It wasn’t enough that we had lost his father, and my employment – or – that I had exhausted my friends and family by trying to provide more for my son than was remotely possible for one person. It was a terrible place to be, but this place helped me to see a real need – in myself, and in families like us. I was convinced to use that time to create a way for single parents to navigate opportunities for assistance, work, and safe social support that would create something new where needed, and collaborate with existing resources, where possible, to speak to the specific circumstances these families face.
Single parents in the United States face a myriad of problems; however, those technically in the “middle class” are often not eligible for assistance as they don’t qualify for it. Right now, no one serves those in this “gap”. Single parents have to deal with financial constraints, hectic daily schedules, legal issues, , disability, fear of failure, and loneliness. Children from single parent families are more prone to suicide, teen pregnancy, behavioral disorders, crime, and school avoidance. They also suffer from parental tension, abandonment, effects of moving, fear of change, and losing attachment to their parents.
SPA is built on the inspiration and hands on help that was given to me and my son by family, friends, and coworkers when I was in that place.
What is the mission of SPA? To educate, equip, and empower single parent families with resource information, practical assistance, emotional encouragement, and social networking so that those who need help get help, and those who want to help, can help.
The focal point will be its website: www.singleparentadvocate.org. Overall, Single Parent Advocate is a resource directory, a social platform, and an advocate in the private, public and non-profit sector for single parents. The information, resources, and social platform will equip and empower single parent families and help them do more than they could alone. The three keywords for Single Parent Advocate are Help, Heal, and Hope.
I feel an urgency that single parent families – parents and children- need to feel loved, complete, and accepted so that they can love when love is not what they have received; help others as they help themselves, and in so doing, pass along a legacy that is positive and productive to their children. A family is a family no matter what it looks like – and we should not be ashamed or afraid of being single families. Nor, should we be ill equipped. The need for affordable childcare and temporary housing relief for single parents and their families in transition is staggering. Combine that with the economic squeeze our country is in – and you have a real issue facing 25% of America’s future citizens.
How can our community help SPA this holiday season? Short term we are gathering gifts for the children of 50 Single Parent Families. Some of these families also have dire needs like dental care, appliances, beds, etc. Most of the kids are pre-teens or teens, so they long for what their parents cannot afford.
Overall, and more long term, we need to raise funds and recruit volunteers, of course – like most non-profits. SPA is in the very unique place to be able to recruit like minded leaders that want to participate in building something new – pioneering spirits with quality core values, commitment, follow through and energy to collaborate with existing non profits, business people, and government officials around us to reach and effect positive, life lifting change to this fragmented and hurting population.