The Christmas trees and decorations greet you at the doors of Costco. Hobby Lobby already has their Christmas ornaments on sale. Hallmark Christmas movies begin in two weeks. The holidays seem to begin earlier each year. Personally, I don’t mind. It reminds me of all I have to be grateful for; family, friends, and joining SPARC Hope’s staff in March.
The last six months have made me aware of the challenge it is to work, go to school and raise children as a single parent. There are 24,000 single parent families in our Louisville community. On average, 30% of them live at the poverty level. Since 2013, SPARC Hope has assisted over 500 single parents and over 1,000 children. 71% of our single moms and dads are considered low income and 14% are barely above that level. It is our mission to relieve their stress as they pursue a postsecondary education to improve their career prospects and end their dependency on federal aid and their cycle of need. In addition to financial assistance, SPARC Hope offers mentoring, life skills coaching and financial education. We want to give these families a “hand up”, not a “hand out”.
In July we had our Back-to-School event. Our moms brought their children, from infants to high school seniors, to Shoe Carnival to select a new pair of shoes for the school year. Through generous donations we were able to pay for these shoes in addition to provide them with 3 outfits, a new backpack, and school supplies. It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of these young people as they shopped. But what moved me was the pride the high school age students had in their mothers. They talked about doing homework together at the kitchen table. The high and middle school students were telling us about their plans for the future, including postsecondary education. We’re not just changing the lives of single moms and dads; we are changing the future of their children who have seen the value of determination and education.
Our End of Year Giving Campaign has begun. It takes $12,000 to support a family of three for one year: $1000 a month or $250 per week. As your making your Christmas gift list, won’t you remember SPARC Hope’s families? Share your blessings with others! https://www.sparc-hope.org/eoy/
Other ways to connect
Check out some of our other blog posts here, for tips and tricks for single parents, budget hacks, inspiration and more information about what we do here at SPARC Hope.