Saturday, March 21, 2015 marked a new day in Ottawa, Ontario, Single Parents Day where the isolation disappeared. This is the date that I witnessed the beginning a the creation of a community for single parents. One by one as each person arrived and took their seat, spread out amongst a sea of chairs, I thought “how alone do they look”. Within a matter of hours we witnessed the community connection that had been my goal from the start of this journey. There was no fear in sharing their stories or shame in asking questions. The energy that filled the room was electrifying. A real community connection had been made. The TEAM I was blessed with has helped me to create something life changing.
It has been a month and a half since that day and SPFS is slowly morphing with a goal to continue the growth of a single parenting community. Locations are being scouted, collaborations are in the works and training is lined up that will allow us to offer more. I understand fun family events are a “must have” to help build continued connection in community. And so it continues…..
The theme for our Symposium was “Just Ask” and this is where I am at – I need to JUST ASK each of you what do you need? What would you like to see happen? What connections do you want to make? What can we do together? Please add your comments and suggestions, the floor is yours…
Liz M Raymond
P.S. I have created a Facebook group Successful Single Parents, I would be honoured if you join us
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On March 19th of 2014 I was at my laptop Googling when I came across an article that totally distracted me from my task at hand. It read….
“March 21st Single Parents Day – a day set aside to honour and applaud the hard work single parents do each and every day in raising their children.” You can’t imagine what went racing through my mind! A day for single parents!! It was seconds when I grabbed my agenda and went flipping through the pages to see what day March 21st, 2015 fell on… Saturday!! Fabulous!! It didn’t take me any longer than that to decide I was going to bring this to Ottawa! And so the planning began!!
So here we have it, the stage is set Saturday, March 21, 2015. The venue is booked (Gloucester Senior Adults’ Centre 2020 Ogilvie Road, above the Earl Armstrong Arena). The planning TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) is in place and we are on fire!!
Our very own Katherine Dines, single mom, blogger and Majic 100 radio host has graciously accepted my invitation to be Master of Ceremonies for the day. I have been manifesting her participation for months!! Thank you Universe!
Our website is up and our Keynote Speaker is booked. We have five awesome speakers that on board to share their knowledge and expertise with our single parents and our team is excited and moving ahead to create the First Annual Single Parenting for Success Symposium. This year’s theme is “Just Ask” because it is all about celebration, education and empowering Ottawa Single Parents. This event is all about equipping you with knowledge you need to create awesome lives for you and your children. It is an event that is sure to change lives, and this is only the beginning!!
Would you like to know more about me and my WHY? Click HERE and have a listen
Liz M Raymond
Tonight I have been sitting here at my computer, after a few hours spent updating our website and I having been pondering about what to write. Amongst the quiet in, scratching my left eyebrow and looking at the title I decided I would look up the definition of “single parenting”.
Funny enough I found Wikipedia’s definition of “single parent” … is a parent, not living with a spouse or partner, who has most of the day-to-day responsibilities in raising the child or children. A single parent is usually considered the primary caregiver, meaning the parent the children have residency with the majority of the time. If the parents are separated or divorced, children live with their custodial parent and have visitation or secondary residence with their noncustodial parent. In western society in general, following separation, a child will end up with the primary caregiver, usually the mother, and a secondary caregiver, usually the father.
Yet there was no definition for “single parenting“. I suppose this is a term I and my Community Development Team created when I was considering the name of this resource centre. It was something I couldn’t find anywhere on the internet.
So let me share my definition. “Single parenting” is the time spent invested in a child, or children, that helps them become self-confident, embodying a high level of self esteem, pride and knowledge that will take them through their life successfully. The person guiding, teaching and letting that child be who they are as their natural talents unfold, could be anyone from a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, foster parent. This person is the one special person who has committed to a child or children.
I am interested in knowing what your definition of “single parenting ” is, so please feel free to comment.
I have read about how “it takes a village to raise a child” and I’m sure you have heard that phrase somewhere too. However, I believe that it really just takes a village, period.
In grade 7 I sat down with an elderly friend of my mom’s to interview her about the depression and how people managed and survived. The one important fact I learned from her sharing, was that back then everyone helped each other. It was the village taking care of the village.
When I became a single parent at 32, it became a very lonely world for me. Instead of neighbours stepping up to be there for me, even just to say “how are you doing today?”, they stepped back and I could see them as they gathered to whisper. They talked about what happened in my relationship. They whispered about the dirty little secrets my ex kept. Not one offered a helping hand. And because of the shame I felt and the embarrassment that I “chose” to let this happen to me (something I couldn’t believe I let happen), I became isolated . No village, just many days and evenings filled a lot of stress, sadness, bitterness and resentment. That went on for too long.
Then one day I saw a little bit of light through the crack of a window. My, now good friend and mentor, Penny Lee Prevost of the GradUit Network saw something, or knew something I didn’t. She was lovingly persistent and talked me into having a Dream Board Workshop. That was the day it became apparent to me that life did not have to continue the way it was. I could change my world, one step at a time.
Penny Lee became the leader of my village. You see, now I have more than a village, I have communities of loving individuals that inspire me as I am now able to inspire them. I knew I had to share what I found. I knew I had to help others either avoid challenges I encountered, or help them get through them easier – not alone.
And here, Single Parenting for Success was founded. Originally my granddaughter and I called it our “Dreams Come True Centre” because that was exactly what I wanted this centre to be. Where people who are parenting children on their own could come for support, education and training, not to mention a connection to the resources in the city, free of judgement. This is where I could make my dreams come true of helping other single parents. My vision, our vision, is one of a “home” filled with love and cozy furniture to hold workshops and get-togethers. Our children could come with us and participate in children’s programs that would help them develop. Children and parents can gain skills to embody self-confidence, empowerment and knowledge that will serve them well in every area of their lives.
This is only the beginning. What are your dreams? What would you like to see at the Centre? Would you like to be a member of our community/village?
Let your voice be heard, share your ideas, concerns and knowledge. Welcome!!
Liz M Raymond