Single motherhood is becoming prevalent in our culture. As many mothers struggle to work, pay bills, and raise healthy and happy children alone, they can end up feeling isolated, frustrated and overwhelmed.
Sisters Helping Each Other (SHE), a support group for single moms, is kicking off its third year this month. SHE was started by Elmhurst resident Jane Loerop, former director of Little Lambs at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, along with assistant Melody Vestuto.
SHE tries to break the barriers single women face by offering them support, promoting healing and facilitating companionship with one another. The mission of SHE is to serve the needs of single mothers through education, networking, social activities, skill building and more. SHE believes in families helping families by sharing information and resources whenever possible. Meetings include a complementary lunch for mothers and their children, and free childcare during the speaker or activity portion.
The first SHE meeting this year is a Spa Day on Sunday, Sept. 16. After enjoying a complementary meal with their children, mothers will be able to choose from many spa options while their children are cared for by loving volunteers. Spa options include facials from Merle Norman, chiropractic massages from Advanced Health of Oak Brook, hair lift, foot reflexology, healing touch massage, nails and more.
In October SHE distributes clothes to mothers as they prepare for the winter weather, and in the spring SHE makes summer clothes available for mothers to prepare for a new season. At the yearly Christmas Party, mothers are able to choose from an array of toys and gifts for their children. In addition, updated information is distributed monthly to attendees concerning community resources for single mothers, including legal service, food pantries and counselors.
“It's provided a support group of other women who are in similar situations like myself, a working, divorced, single parent trying to provide my child with a wholesome environment,” said Lori Nixon, a member of the SHE group.
Paula Ziegler, a single mom from Elmhurst, has enjoyed the group as well.
“SHE has been a support to me in that I have heard some amazing stories from speakers who speak at our luncheons," Ziegler said. "The speakers have had difficulties at times in their lives, but they all share the same value system in that they feel and see how God has been present throughout their lives. They value how God is always with them and leading them.”
In the upcoming months, speakers will cover topics such as Parenting Styles and their Impact on Children, Healthy Foods are Fun to Eat, and Anger in You and Anger in Your Kids. Additionally, in the spring, speaker Rob Rienow will discuss Parenting Advice to Single Parents.
Three years ago, the very first SHE meeting was a luncheon on the patio attended by 10 single mothers. The second year kicked off with 25 mothers at the first meeting and ended the year with an average of 35 mothers and 30 children at each meeting. SHE also currently has a steering committee comprised of seven single mothers. SHE’s goal for their third year is to have 75 mothers at its monthly meetings.
SHE is open to the public and meets monthly from September through May. Meetings are usually held on the second or third Sunday of the month from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Garden Room at , 149 W. Brush Hill Road in Elmhurst (next to the new Elmhurst Hospital).