There are many reasons why single mothers aren’t able to finish their high school and college degrees. Life is not easy, and life is especially not easy for someone who is trying to work and support a child singlehandedly. The mothers that come to our home have not had the easiest time making ends meet while raising kids on their own, so we applaud them for their strength, resilience and desire to make good lives for themselves and their children.
To live sustainably in Milwaukee, a mother needs to make at least $50,000 a year, and that is very unlikely without a college degree. We want our mothers to have a chance at a full life, so we help them get on their feet, so they can become the independent mothers that they desire to be.
Our system works well because our mothers are able to go to class and study while free daycare services are looking after their children, and they can still come home to a warm, supportive environment after their days of classes. Furthermore, when children grow up in families of higher education, they are more likely to seek out education in the future as well. This means that when we are educating single mothers who have lived in generational poverty, we are also doing our part to snuff out generational poverty in and of itself.
The important thing is to recognize that each mother is unique and brings her own set of skills. We want to help each mother further the skillset that she has so that she can go out into the world and live life to the full.
- Chloe Harbach
Ms. Harbach is a student from Wisconsin Lutheran College who is working with a team of students to put together public relations materials for New Beginnings – A Home for Mothers.
1. You Get to Choose What You Want to Do.
If there’s a word to describe the volunteer positions you can fill at New Beginnings, it’s variety. You can watch the home during times when regular staff isn’t there as a Home Assistant, help set up fundraisers as a Church Liaison, form a close personal relationship with a resident while also being a role model as a Mentor, help residents with their academic progress as a Tutor, lead educational programs as a Group Night Presenter, or help with different projects as a general volunteer.
My Story by Shawna
God showed me that He had a higher plan for me and directed me to New Beginnings: A Home for Mothers. I have been here for a little over a month and have started parenting classes twice a week, have developed a healthier relationship with God (through church and devotion), and have signed up to attend school to complete my accounting degree starting this summer. Without the worries of having no roof over my head, I not only have been able to focus on my education goals, but also on my parenting skills, and my health as well. With no more self-doubt, I am very optimistic about our future!
Allesundrea (Shawna) joined the New Beginnings Family February 2018. She is expecting a baby boy in May. She plans on going to school and get her degree in accounting.
Many of our mothers, prior to coming to New Beginnings, did not have the opportunity, Christian encouragement, or resources to continue their education. One of the best books I have read is called A Framework for Understanding Poverty written by Ruby Payne. The author illustrates that poverty is often a result of a lack of resources, and that education can change the current prevalence of poverty. In fact, she goes on to say, "An education is key to getting out of, and staying out of, poverty." Education has the potential to break the cycle of poverty.
However, there is a caveat. More than 20 years of experience has shown us that mothers will often doubt their ability to continue their education because life events have eroded their self-confidence. As we know, self-doubt is a tough feeling to overcome, but by centering the focus on God's love for us, mothers learn that with Christ anything is possible.
We know that the educational attainment of a mother predicts the educational attainment of her child. For this reason, New Beginnings maintains an education fund in which we help mothers pay for the cost of tuition, school supplies, laptops, and transportation to school. Your gifts are life-changing for the mothers – they are finally given an opportunity to succeed with God by their side. To help your gift go further, the Siebert Foundation will match gifts given to education dollar for dollar.
Sharing the gift of education and Christ's love is key to breaking the cycle of poverty for mothers just like Kim, Meosha, and Letisha – even more than that, your gift breaks the cycle of poverty for generations to come. Will you prayerfully consider a gift today?
Thank you for supporting life-changing work. The mothers' accomplishments are a result of your gifts, and each mother is grateful for the opportunity to break their cycle of poverty.
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.