Friendship that Feels Like Family
Volunteer Mentors Provide Loving Friendship and Support to Moms like Evelyn.
“My kids kind of changed my life. I was not really doing good before I had kids. They’re my everything.”
Evelyn gave birth to her eldest son Joseph when she was 17. It was a hard time. Her family had kicked her out, and a few years after he was born, she started drinking--heavily.
“I wasn’t on the right path… It was kind of easier with one kid to have someone watch him, so I started drinking lots again,” she explains.
Over the next few years, she began to see the effects of her drinking on Joseph, who began acting out and was constantly unhappy. Once she was pregnant with Eva, she knew she needed to change.
Since Eva and Joyce have been born, she hasn’t drank at all. Her eldest Joseph is now 13, Eva and Joyce are 5 and 4 respectively, and their little brother Lambert is almost 1 year old.
Evelyn brings the same determination that helped her stop drinking to her everyday life as a single mom of four kids. Despite her calm demeanour, she admits it can be overwhelming.
About a year ago, Evelyn began participating in Mom2Mom to get some extra support as she juggles the pressures of single motherhood. That’s where she met Lauren, an actress and fitness instructor.
Through the week, Evelyn and Lauren, along with fellow volunteer Melissa, text and talk. At least once a month, they get together for coffee or run to the store. Evelyn says the friendship and support she gets, along with help with groceries, takes a lot of stress off her. In fact, she recently returned to school to finish her high school diploma, something the extra help from her Mom2Mom friends has allowed her to do.
“I can talk to them about pretty much anything, you know?” Evelyn says. After a year of getting together, they’re more than friends. Lauren and Melissa are a lifeline.
Lauren begins to tear up. “You’re going to make me cry,” she says.
Lauren began volunteering with Mom2Mom because she wanted to connect deeper with people in her community. Though she isn’t a mom herself, she felt passionate about supporting women and kids. She’s continually amazed by Evelyn’s resilience.
“Volunteering with Mom2Mom has opened my eyes up to how strong of a woman, of a human being, you have to be in order to be a single mom,” she says.
“One thing that I really do admire about Evelyn is that you can… tell how much she loves her children and how much she is just trying her best to provide the best life she can for them,” Lauren says. “She fights every day to give her kids the best life that she can.”
The Mom2Mom Relationship Model
At Mom2Mom, we believe that the best way to improve the lives of children living in poverty is to support their moms. Nothing replaces the love, attention and positive role-modelling of a primary care giver.
Time and time again, we’ve seen that the best way to support a mother in a time of need is to connect her to another caring and compassionate mother in her community.
That’s why we facilitate friendships like Evelyn and Lauren’s.
Our Relationship Volunteers are women from different backgrounds, often who have raised families themselves and want to use their knowledge to support other moms. They are stable, non-judgmental allies who offer active listening, emotional and practical support.
For many participant moms, this may be their first relationship that is predicated on support where there is no agenda to judge her suitability as a parent, or threaten to remove her children. These relationships help our participant moms thrive as mothers and leaders of their families.