Stock Groups

How one non-profit is helping single moms disrupt the cycle of poverty


Nirat | Istock | Getty Images

Millions of mothers have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not secret.

Mothers have struggled to balance their work with ongoing childcare uncertainties, which has led many of them frustrated well into the third anniversary.

The tough decisions made between working and raising children were not surprising for those with middle or upper incomes. However, the reality is that low-income mothers had to make these choices before the national crisis. Chastity Lord CEO, Jeremiah Program, an organization that helps single mothers overcome poverty.

Lord stated that many of his moms had known the system was not working prior to the pandemic.

She said that the system “ceased to work in middle and upper class people, who couldn’t spend money on it.”

The “poverty tax”, which single women often face, can cause them to lose their job stability as well as make it difficult for them to continue higher education.

Lord declared that “Single mothers with small children matter.” “They are an enormous group and single moms with small children make up a large portion of the country.

Jeremiah Program works to end the cycle of poverty in single mothers in nine U.S. towns.

It includes over 1,500 single mothers in Austin, Texas and Baltimore.

Since its inception 24 years ago the group has supported more than 4,000 mothers-to-be and their children.

Jeremiah Program helps women go to college, and then graduate. They have access to coaching and child care, early education and safe housing. Additionally, training on topics such as financial literacy, positive parenting, and mental health is available.

A typical mother who takes part in the program, is approximately 27 years old and has at least one child.

Each participant must be enrolled in school. Over 80% of the participants are people who identify as Black or Latinx, with 50% being Black.

This program is mostly private funded and seeks applicants via media ads.

It begins with 12 weeks’ empowerment and leadership training. The participants then create a blueprint to help them achieve their goals.

Lord explained, “Creating space for that type engagement and that sort of dreaming really are an incredible first-time for many of us moms.”

Andromeda Vegas, 26 years old, was having trouble juggling nursing school and being a mother.

Learn more from Empowered Investor

These stories are not the only ones that deal with divorce and widowhood.

She moved in to Austin’s campus, Texas, August 2019.

She was inspired to enroll in Jeremiah Program after she gave birth to her 3-year-old girl in 2018.

She anticipates that she will complete three degrees by the time she leaves for college in 2025. This includes the associate’s in health science degree she already has, and an associate in nursing degree she will complete in December.

The program also provides stability for Vega’s daughter who is enrolled at the center, which is located in their same building. The staff at the school works alongside Vega in improving her parenting skills. In turn, the mothers of the building form a support network to each other.

That included helping Vega to get her daughter from the hospital to and from school.

Vega would have not been able make the same academic gains if she had not enrolled at Jeremiah Program. She stated that she was likely to be living in a toxic marriage and would struggle to pay the bills.

She felt able to take a step back, reevaluate her life and enroll in the program. This will help her stay focused on her goals.

Vega explained that she now has a completely different perspective and set of standards about what she wants in her life, what it can be lived without and how to provide for my children and herself.

The program also puts $100 in a 529 college savings fund for each semester that she is out of school.

Vega stated that she is three years old and has a college savings account. It’s a significant statement, even though it isn’t something my mom had.