We Can Become the Village

After years of struggling through single parenting (4 children) and bankruptcy I know what it feels like to carry the weight of responsibility without the means on your shoulders.

Now, part of my life is spent giving encouragement to others going through similar challenges by offering coaching, connecting parents to local resources and occasionally bringing an unexpected surprise, as in this story and short film (The Single Parent Project- Grocery Give Away)

I have provided coaching or on the job training to each of these parents and have gotten to know some of their personal stories. We all have our struggles, I know you have your own struggles, through their stories maybe you will gain some courage, insight or clarity. I know that when we reach out to those around and us and make the effort to get to know them, we are then able to touch their lives where they may be hurting. Here is some background on where the ladies in the film have been hurting.


{Received $225 groceries and babysitting}

I met Krista when I trained her on the job in a role she had just been hired for in a Realtor’s office. Over the four weeks of training I got to know a bit about her incredible story.

Krista and her two boys had been living in Ontario. Her dysfunctional environment was holding her back from the life she wanted to give her children and so after saving enough money for plane tickets, she packed up everything she could carry and moved to Calgary. The day she moved was June 20, 2013 – the very week Calgary experienced the devastating flood. Her ride couldn’t show up at the airport, she didn’t know what to do! In desperation she called emergency services and was told no one could help her here and that she should just go back home.

The job she finally landed where I trained her came together in a rather unconventional way. She didn’t know anyone who could babysit her two boys (5 & 6 yrs) and so hired a babysitter off Kijiji to watch them at a swimming pool so she could go to the interview (she thought a public place would be safest). The babysitter never arrived and so the potential boss actually came to the pool and Krista had her interview right there while she watched over her boys. Miraculously she got hired for the job and her new boss also helped her to find a basement suite to rent so she could move out of the motel.

Krista doesn’t have a vehicle and has strategically arranged her life and resources all within walking distances and bus rides. Although the Calgary winters can be cripplingly cold, she does her best to have winter clothes for the family so they can survive the elements without a car.

She does not earn enough to keep everything paid and leans on the Calgary Food bank and other resources for her needs. She just started a new job in a larger company where she feels she has the opportunity to increase her earnings and she is also on a list for subsidized housing which would help her out a lot.

She manages to keep a good attitude, she is thankful for what she has been able to accomplish after her big leap of faith moving to Calgary and she keeps looking to better days ahead.


{Received $140 Groceries $50 gift card}

When I was experiencing tough times I turned back to journalism, which I love, to help me in the meantime while I searched for full time work. I was able to freelance for the City Light Newspaper and received some much appreciated help form the church community. So when I felt that I wanted to reach out and help someone I asked the pastor of a church if he knew any single parents he could refer me to. He gave me Corinne’s information.

I reached out to her with some coaching first and then invited her to belong to a Mastermind group I had established.

I am impressed with her tenacity to do all she has to do. She has been going to school on student loans to obtain a degree, she has worked every chance she has gotten and attends to her beautiful daughter. She does have some family close by who offer emotional support but they don’t have finances to spare or carry her so she knows the responsibility is on her.

I know she has wrestled with the pain of depression at times and loneliness, even hopelessness (last summer her car broke down and suddenly she couldn’t work at her job which required her vehicle). Sometimes I find it hard myself just hearing what circumstances she is dealing with.

After four years of over-demanding schedules she can now see a light at the end of the tunnel with only a few more months of schooling to go! She has been accepted to finish a practicum in Jamaica where she will be able to re-connect with other family members. Never without a wrench in her plans, even though it is nice to finish with family in Jamaica, she is now presented with the need to continue paying her rent in Calgary while supporting herself out of country. She is selling everything she can to try to raise the money to just get her to the end! (Then she will set herself on task to get a job with that degree….but that is another chapter yet to come).


{Received $200 gift cards)

Krystal is learning that time can heal our wounds and that it certainly takes time to get out of debt. She has a creative style about her and walks with confidence, but not many people know what a tight rope she manages as she scrapes to get by and out of the red.

The full time job that she had hoped would turn into a satisfying career has turned a different corner and she isn’t getting out of it what she had hoped. She has to work on the weekends at a second job and also commits to another employer one evening a week.

She sees no way out with inflation rising, taxes being increased and her lovely girls getting older and needing more important things. She questions what she wants to do with the rest of her life and is afraid that this rut may just be how her life goes. The gifts and talents she was born with lie dormant behind closed doors and as she laments how few parts of her life are enjoyable-  she cannot see how to make things better.

She is on her journey trying to discover who she is again, as her own person, and what that means. If she had more free moments she may be able to tap into the intuition and wisdom inside her but as she works, runs her home and provides for her daughters her days run into weeks and months and she has so little time to just breathe and be still.

I hope that by giving what I can to her, she may be released from the pressure just enough to see the light inside of her so she can find her way out.


{Received babysitting}

Kaila had just broken up with her boyfriend and moved back home- they realized they just weren’t right for each other, each still so immature in their own ways – when she found out she was pregnant. Not a unique story but that certainly didn’t alleviate the impact of it.

Both parents and extended families are able to provide help and support in many ways, but the lifestyle of a single woman versus a single mom are worlds apart. Kaila has found that the challenge of full time work, finding good daycare and reaching towards her ultimate goals are impossible in her circumstances. Almost everyday her son cries and screams when she leaves him at daycare and almost everyday she cries to herself ‘how can I ever make this better?’

She has goals and dreams that are alive in her. She is a gifted health care provider, she exercises regularly, has a keen sense of nutrition but hasn’t got the schooling behind her to work in the field. She is planning to take a holisitic nutrition program but has to find a way to save the money. A recent new job is helping pull some finances together but first she has to pay off what debt she fell into over the past years working at a gym, (which she liked) but not making enough money.

For her the constant frustration of knowing what she wants to do and how she wants to live and not being able to step into it, is a source of intense disconnect. When she makes a plan the timeline is so long that it sometimes becomes sadly overwhelming and then the daily cares of life get in the way. Just like the issues with her car. The door that got hit when her son was born has just stayed like that because she would have to pay 50% of the cost to get it fixed and she can’t. An internal electrical issue came up and it is too costly for her to have repaired so she just makes do. She needs to have her car but she can’t afford to keep it up in full repair, so in the meantime it just gets worse and worse.

Hopefully she WILL find a way to get her goal of schooling fulfilled and work to make money and raise her son and one day she will look back and ask, ‘how did I ever do that?’ – perhaps with a little help from her friends.

We are Better Together.

Let’s become the village and help those around us.

We can all make a difference in someone’s life!

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