Have you ever wondered why New Beginnings is important from a research perspective? This blog provides the facts!
New Beginnings: A Home for Mothers is important for Milwaukee because its focus on helping single mothers to develop the skills needed to find good jobs, learn parenting skills, and grow in their faith will benefit both their children as well as the community. In Milwaukee, about three quarters of all families in poverty are headed by single parents, and the risk of poverty is nearly twice as large for families headed by a single mother than those headed by a single father. Nearly ninety-two percent of the families in Milwaukee County who were earning less than $20,000 a year were single parents. (Quinn & Pawasarat, 2012) Not only are single mothers more likely to be poor, but also their children who grow up in poverty are at a much greater risk of being poor as adults as well, as well as being more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to find good jobs (Williams & Hegewisch, 2011). The population that New Beginnings serves tends to face financial challenges that affect future generations’ ability to obtain a higher level of education and to find self-sustaining jobs, which contributes to the continuation of poverty in the Milwaukee area.
One reason why single mothers often struggle with poverty is because they tend to work in lower-paying occupations, such as in food service, child care centers, hospitals, discount stores, and department stores (Quinn & Pawasarat, 2012). Many of these kinds of jobs, which do not require much education, do not provide the wages necessary to support the single mothers and their families. This suggests that further education and job preparation would have the potential to lift single mothers and their children out of poverty by preparing them for a wider variety of careers. New Beginnings provides the opportunity for mothers to further their education and improve their job options so that they are better able to provide for their families. This benefits Milwaukee because the opportunity for further education will allow the residents of Milwaukee to escape poverty and better give back to the community, utilizing their talents to advance Milwaukee economically and as a whole.
Single mothers in general tend to have less social support than married mothers have. A study has found that single mothers had less emotional support and less support in their parental roles than married mothers had. Moreover, they experienced a greater number of stressful life events than married mothers experienced. Increased parenting support predicted better interaction between mothers and their children for single mothers. (Weinraub & Wolf, 1982) Increased social support could help those served by New Beginnings to better deal with stressful life events and to form better relationships with their children. Mothers who have more social support also tend to have more positive attitudes, and their children’s behavior is also better (Özbey, 2013). Social support is less common among single mothers than among married mothers, yet it is beneficial in promoting better parental interaction, better attitudes, and improved outcomes for the children. New Beginnings provides that social support for single mothers in order to help these families to succeed.
Furthermore, New Beginnings’ emphasis on promoting the spiritual development of the residents is beneficial to Milwaukee because religious faith has a protective effect against behavior problems and leads to higher academic achievement. Religion has been shown to be a factor in increasing resilience especially for those who are from higher-risk families. Adolescent mothers who were more involved in church received more education, and had higher self-esteem and less depression than those who were not as involved in church. In addition, studies have shown that adolescents who grow up in areas that are high in poverty stay more on track academically if they attend church regularly. (Kim, McCullough, & Cicchetti, 2009) Because parents’ faith tends to have an effect on children’s faith when they grow up, both mothers and children are more likely to be able to overcome life challenges and have higher resilience because of New Beginnings’ promotion of the spiritual development of its residents.
In summary, New Beginnings: A Home for Mothers is beneficial for the community of Milwaukee as a whole because it provides for the spiritual, educational, economic, and emotional development of single mothers and their children. This allows these families to be more likely to escape poverty, more resilient, more physically and psychologically healthy, and able to give back to the community of Milwaukee and use their various abilities to be productive citizens of Milwaukee. The benefits of a program such as New Beginnings do not solely affect the mothers who immediately receive the benefits of the program; instead, the effects of New Beginnings can carry on into the future and leave a lasting impact on future generations.
Kim, J., McCullough, M. E., & Cicchetti, D. (2009). Parents’ and children’s religiosity and child
behavioral adjustment among maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Journal of Child
and Family Studies, 18(5). doi:10.1007/s10826-009-9262-1
Özbey, S. (2013). Effects of parents’ marital adjustment and perceived social support on
preschool children’s social skills. Educational Research International, 1(2). Retrieved
Quinn, L. M., & Pawasarat, J. (2012). Income changes during the recession for “working poor”
single parent families in central city Milwaukee.Retrieved from
Shaw, B. A., Krause, N., Chatters, L. M., Connell, C. M., & Ingersoll-Dayton, B. (2004).
Emotional support from parents early in life, aging, and health. Psychology and Aging,
19(1). Retrieved from http://alysonkay.com/pdf/emotional_support_from_parents.pdf
Williams, C., & Hegewisch, A. (2011). Women, poverty, and economic insecurity in Wisconsin
and the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis MSA.Retrieved from
Weinraub, M., & Wolf, B. M. (1982). Effects of stress and social supports on mother-child
interactions in single and two-parent families. Retrieved from
Hello, my name is Julie and I have had my share of moving around a lot from place to place. This last time, I lost my place altogether. It wouldn't have been so bad, but I was pregnant with my son. For a little bit, I was bouncing from friend's house to friend's house. I was looking for resources and help.
I prayed, and I had not done that in a very long time. It felt great! I prayed that the last resource number I had, would answer my prayers. I called and God answered my prayers!! I talked to the lady and she asked if I had tried any places in Wisconsin. I told her that I had not yet but was willing to try. She gave me the email and the number for New Beginnings.
I moved in on May 25th, 2018. A burden was lifted off my shoulders that day.
Since I have been here at New Beginnings, I have had my son, George. I have started school again, which I never thought I could do. I have also grown in my faith. I have been fixing myself for the better and making a great life for myself and my children.
It is nice to know that we have a roof over our heads and I don't have to stress so much about how to survive from one day to the next. Since being here at New Beginnings, I have learned not to dwell on things I can not change and to change the things that I should. I am also proud to say that I have finished my first semester in school and am working on my second semester.
None of this could be possible without all of the supporters and donors that the New Beginnings Family has.
Thank you so much for a better future!
God Bless, Julie & George
Julie has been a resident at New Beginnings since May 25th, 2018. She is continuing her education to make the best new beginning for herself and her children. Baby George was born on July 12th, 2018 and has been baptized into the Lord's family of believers.
If our pasts are filled with parental figures who did not behave in our best interests, loved ones who abused our right to a safe childhood, or other events which we were too young and impressionable to properly process, your ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score will most likely be extremely high.
Although a tough childhood can severely affect our ability to make close relationships, getting to know God is a relationship that has endless rewards and is a great place to start if you feel you’re in a pattern self induced isolation. God gives us strength and can help us shed our angry exteriors and allow us to see the world as a place of possibilities and not just an obstacle course of hardships. Once God changes our outlook, the wounds of our past will in time heal, and in the place of these wounds, scars will form which show our strength, perseverance and just how far you’ve come.
If you would like to take the test for yourself or share it with some one you love, click the button below.
Emily Fossick is a former marketing intern that spent some at New Beginnings. She is a student at UWM and was always willing to help out and provide some excellent insight.
Those who sit in the pews during church services seem to have an easy job. They show up, listen while the pastor does all the grunt work and afterwards they might enjoy a snack and connect with some community members. Attending church is not a show, it’s a chance to challenge and fully engage with your faith, to ensure that our trusted leaders are doing their jobs correctly. As Martin Luther preached “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it."
If I’m a Lutheran, why can’t I take communion at all Lutheran Churches?
Communion is designed by God to be taken with one’s chosen church community. The Bible explains a group expresses a oneness when it communes together just like there is one loaf. Individuals are to learn the Bible and check out whom they commune with and not all Lutheran churches are the same.
At what age should someone start taking communion?
There is not a definite Biblical age where communion should be taken. Different churches decide different processes one must go through in order to take communion, but there is no solid answer. Biblically, one must be able to understand what communion is as they take it. Pastor Steinberg told us a story about a man living with dementia who could not understand the communion process sometimes while other times he could. This man was only given communion during the periods where he could fully understand why he was taking communion.
Can I give my child more than two godparents?
Absolutely, godparents are not mentioned in the Bible once. The origins of godparents stems back to early Christianity when persecution was common, and followers of Christ had to keep their church services secret. When a new member wished to join they would not be taken to the secret church service location right away. Instead, a “godparent” would tutor the hopeful member on scripture for a number of months until that new person could be trusted. Once the new member was deemed trustworthy, their tutor would vouch for them in front of their church as the new member's godparent. Because godparents are more or less a nice tradition now, it's okay to create your own guidelines for choosing the godparents of your child, weather that be 4 godmothers and no godfathers or simply one godfather, it’s completely up to you. Pastor Steinberg did note that godparents are not legally recognized, for this reason he highly recommends making a will to make sure that your children are left in good hands in the event of your passing.
Many thanks to Pastor Steinberg for taking the time to answer our questions, pushing us to stay curious and making us more knowledgeable followers of God.
Group Night is held at New Beginnings. Every Thursday, we meet as a group to discuss important life skills and educational topics. Discussions are led by community volunteers and can cover a broad range of topics.
The experience of becoming a first-time mother has put a lot of things into perspective for me. It amazes me how our bodies react to the baby growing inside us: morning sickness (that name is so deceiving), sore boobs, bleeding gums, stuffy nose, headaches, itchy legs, utter exhaustion, and so much more. I really had no idea how difficult it could be! With symptoms like these it would be so difficult not to have the support of someone you love. My husband has been my rock through this experience: he has taken on extra chores around the house (including emptying the litter box *I was thrilled to give that up*), cooked for me, listened to me complain, and helped me when I felt sick. The fact that many of the mothers that come to New Beginnings do not have support from anyone when they call us breaks my heart now more than ever.
Please continue to pray for all mothers that they may find the support they need both in Jesus and through friends and family. For those of you who currently support expecting or new moms, on behalf of all mothers I would like to say THANK YOU! You are a blessing.
Brianne Hansen is the Executive Director at New Beginnings. She grew up in Marshall, WI and graduated from Lakeside Lutheran High School. Brianne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UW-Milwaukee and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys singing, camping, spending time with her dog (Bella) and cats (Mufasa & Jasmine), and going on adventures with her husband, Daniel.
Doctor of Chiropractic, Camille Berger, visited New Beginnings to discuss the benefits of visiting a chiropractor and the overall importance of proper spinal care. Chiropractic care allows your body to function as God intended, for you to live a life free of pain in order to maximize your full potential.
The spine is the controller of the entire body as it is the first system to receive signals from the brain on how to operate. Receiving chiropractic care can lead to all-over bodily benefits like increased fertility, arthritis relief, and improved sleep, so seeing a chiropractor is not limited to those with ailments of the spine.
Group Night is held at New Beginnings. Every Thursday, we meet as a group to discuss important life skills and educational topics. Discussions are led by community volunteers and can cover a broad range of topics.
This week for group night we welcomed Chris, an RN who is also a licensed nutritionist. She showed us the importance of paying attention to what we eat. It is possible to be at the right weight without medications and just by eating a healthy, balanced diet. At fifty-six, Chris is the same weight as she was when she was thirty-six and had her last child. Your body is a gift from God and we must be good stewards for the gifts he has given us.
Nutrition is important because we need to have energy to do daily tasks. We need to maintain a healthy body weight and it also lowers the risk of health problems such as heart disease. A few easy things to start doing are to watch portion sizes and eats lots of foods that are dark green, red, and orange. Look on the packaging before eating any food because portion sizes are often smaller than they seem.
What is exactly is stress? Stress is a chemical reaction in response to a negative reaction. It’s your body telling you that it doesn’t want to get hurt. This isn’t always bad; it helps keep you safe. However, too much stress can get you stuck in a negative state of being. When people are over-stressed, they typically worry too much about silly things or become desensitized to problem areas in their lives.
What are symptoms of being too stressed?
Stress has many symptoms and here are a few: increased heart rate, feeling lousy, feeling overwhelmed, forgetting things, loss of focus, and high blood pressure. Being stressed is much worse for pregnant mothers because the baby feels everything that his or her mother feels.
How do I deal with stress?
A big part of dealing with stress is recognizing it so you can plan for before, during, and after the fact. Many people only recognize what stress made them do after-the-fact. When you feel like you’re overstressed, give yourself a moment. Realize you’re having a rough time and get a fresh start. There are many simple ways to help relieve stress: write in journals, take a walk, bathe, color, listen or sing to music, pamper yourself, use a stress ball or something similar, read, take a nap, make lists, or exercise. Be proactive. When you’re really engaged it’s hard to think about all the extra stuff. Crying may not be a bad thing because it makes you feel better afterwards. It’s easier to spiral than to stay at a bottom. Everybody’s life is different. Everything has different meanings to different people. Hold yourself accountable by doing activities with others, such as working out. Get to a place where you can even compromise. Somethings will come with time. Take care of yourself.
Mind full vs. Mindful
Mindfulness is doing actions with purpose. Your mind is sometimes so cluttered that you don’t realize what you’re doing and live life on autopilot. You’re too busy thinking about the next thing that you neglect what you’re doing in the now. Focus on your breathing two minutes a day. Clear your mind. Learn awareness, self-acceptance, and letting things go. Set apps with reminders to force you to pause throughout the day. Close your eyes and take very deep breaths. Be aware of the noises around you. Open your eyes and say five things you can see, five you can hear, five you can touch, and try to find five things to taste and smell. Be at peace. Accept things the way they are.
How to prevent stress
Find things that are important to you and make time. Say no to a new responsibility when you need to. Make sure to make yourself laugh every once in a while. Seek out that person who always puts a smile on your face or re-watch your favorite comedy. Intentionally build things into your day to brighten it up. Make your own day. Take long breaths—quickly count 1,2,3,4. Be aware of the right now and intentionally focus on what’s around you. If you need further help with your stress, many hospitals offer courses. A stress-free you is the best you!
For this blog I interviewed one of my friends, Alexis. She’s 25 and the mother of Lola, who’s almost three. Alexis recently finished her associate’s degree and is continuing her education. She’s one of the strongest people I know, and I couldn’t wait to get some of her insights on what it’s like to be a single mother.
What’s something you wish you would’ve known when becoming a mother?
Alexis wishes her father would’ve told her how hard it was to have a split family. She has one full brother, plus a sister from her father’s first marriage and another sister from a different relationship. Things never worked out with Lola’s father, but she remains in regular contact with him and Lola sees him often. However, it is so hard to make everyone happy. She’s trying to make it work, but there’s always something that doesn’t sit right.
What’s the best part about being a mother?
Alexis’s favorite moments are those quiet nights. Lola is always quick to announce her affection with an “I love you mom,” “Thank you mom,” or “You’re safe now.” “You can just tell by their look that you’re the greatest person in the world to them. Suddenly this gooey wet thing on your chest is the most important part of your life,” said Alexis. Unconditional love is an amazing thing. “You’re not doing half a bad job,” Alexis assures, “Always raise your child to be polite, helpful, and respectful.”
What are struggles you’ve faced as a single mother?
“Stability!” Alexis quickly responded, “Financial stability especially.” She’s currently looking for a new home for just her and Lola. She wants to be able to be the parent that she wants to be. She stated that even if you are living with someone rent-free, “pay rent” but put it into your child’s savings account. Additionally, when seasonal clothes go on sale, buy the next size up.
What advice would you give to single mothers?
“It’s okay,” Alexis said, “It’s okay if you have it together or if you don’t. If you have a baby you’re strong. You’re giving, caring and nurturing. You will be okay. Nothing will be as bad as you think. To Lola, I’m the best person. Don’t make your kid think it’s not okay. My parents sometimes didn’t have the best of times but that never stopped them from giving us a good life. Sky’s the limit. Never too late to go to school, even if you have two, four kids. Always resources out there.”
Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
This week for group night we welcomed Karie Gerke. She is a licensed physical therapist who is certified in infant massage. We had an awesome time with her as she showed us how mothers can bond with their little ones as young as one month old. Since we have no babies with us at this time, we used dolls that she brought with her. Shawna got to use “Miranda,” a very lifelike doll.
The most important rule to follow when starting massages with a baby is to get his or her permission. Obviously young infants cannot yet speak but there are several physical cues to look for. These include giving nice eye contact, a smile, or simply a certain way that he or she turns their head. To turn massages or anything else into a routine, words and actions help the baby understand what is going to happen next. The baby should be in his or her alert stage but also calm. The massager should also be in a calm state and be ready to take her time. Babies can be massaged on a wide variety of surfaces, such as the floor, a table, a lap, or against a shoulder. Younger babies tend to feel more secure on the lap.
Even though it is an optional activity for caregivers to participate with their babies, infant massage has a wide range of benefits. Infants take a while to gain sensory awareness. With the help of massages, they gain a greater understanding of where their body parts are and how to use them. It sometimes takes a little bit of time for some babies to know they have feet! Massages can reduce stress and anxiety for the babies. It also helps to relieve tense muscles, especially if a baby spends a lot of time in one place such as a carrier or bouncy seat. The more a mother is in tune with her baby, the better she can determine if her baby is sick or has another ailment. Tummy strokes specifically help digestion for a fussy baby. Lastly, massages create a special bond between the mother and the baby. They are an excellent way for some one-on-one time and a fun activity.