Education for Single Mothers Makes the Difference

African American graduate in blue gown

First appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise, Mother’s Day Editorial – May 2013 by Gail Cawley Showalter

More children are growing up with single mothers.

Many of the girls become single moms themselves. Today 41% of births occur outside of marriage. Consider the children: 59% (389,481) of young children in poor families live with a single parent. Mothers who may be wondering how in this world are they going to manage to raise their children.

Before you judge, condemn, or turn the page consider the culture in which these young moms have grown up. Everyone, every girl, yearns to be loved, accepted, and desired. Women with just a high school degree or less, account for 60% of the births to unmarried girls. “Single mothers earn less than half of what households with a married couple bring in,“ according to Bryce Covert in Forbes. Many of the moms I talk with had a more than miserable upbringing, including abuse and neglect. It is no wonder when the first young man (or boy) comes along and says, “I love you, Sweetie,” they go for it. Then they find themselves either in an unhappy marriage or completely on their own to raise the child. They do not have the options to go on with their lives, as the fathers do, since in our culture the moms are committed and expected to take care of their children.

Single moms, divorced or never married, need a marketable skill or career. One third of the 12 million live in poverty.

I was divorced with three young children. Had I not had a college degree our lives would’ve been quite different. With a teaching certificate I was able to work in a job with insurance benefits and a schedule that matched my children’s.

As the founder of SMORE for Women, I’ve worked with single moms for several years. The ones, who have a marketable skill and a job, manage much more successfully. Education solves a multitude of troubles for the single mom and her family. She gains a skill, expands her horizons, her children see mom in a new light, and the family turns the corner to a brighter tomorrow. Here is the dilemma: how can a mother who is head-of-household, go back to school?

Buckner International strives to make life better for vulnerable families and has created a way for single mothers to go to college and turn their lives around. They have established seven Family Place facilities across Texas that provide families with the opportunity to live a safe and secure environment while obtaining a higher education. Buckner currently supports more than 130 single-parent families each year through self-sufficiency programs in Amarillo, Dallas, Lubbock, Lufkin, Midland, Conroe, and Houston. Families are provided support through the provision of affordable housing, high quality childcare, financial assistance, vocational training, parenting education, budget training, life skills and individual and group counseling

In two years a mom can turn her life and her future in a different direction. Her children will experience a life style change. She will earn an education that will open doors for long-term employment. It is proven. It is happening.

Think of the change this can make not only for the mom, but also for the children and for our culture. Until the day when our culture changes and we cure this problem, this is a wonderful solution.

To learn more visit

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  1. […] Education for Single Mothers Makes the Difference ( […]

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