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
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