Program that supports single moms starting in Holland and Zeeland

Movement West Michigan is piloting a program for single mothers in the Holland/Zeeland area that addresses the issues of single motherhood and provides solutions for families desiring to reach self-sufficiency. 

Based on a program developed by Single | MOMM, a Traverse City nonprofit, the pilot will  involve intensive listening efforts to understand the needs of single mothers and use their feedback to guide future programming. 

Movement West Michigan recently received a $30,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area for its Laying the Foundations for Comprehensive Support for Single Moms Program.

"We are committed to mobilizing collaborative efforts to support healthy families in our  community. This grant from CFHZ will allow us to do critical research, build support, and pilot  programs that can have a transformative impact for local single moms and their families," says the Rev. Kory Plockmeyer, executive director of Movement West Michigan. 

Supporting stable homes

The program is one of three nonprofits receiving $130,000 in grants from the foundation, which are intended to reduce the number of children growing up in unstable homes. The grants were made through the Community Foundation’s proactive grant program, which invests in areas identified by nonprofit partners and community leaders as key priorities. 

The grants aim to address obstacles to parents or primary caregivers such as the financial and logistical challenges faced by single parents, the difficulty of establishing consistent family routines  for parents who work multiple jobs or odd shifts, the absence of a parent due to incarceration, or the difficulties of healthy parenting for individuals who experienced difficult childhoods themselves. 

“Young children developmentally thrive on routine, predictability, and consistent presence  from the primary caregivers in their lives,” says Yadah V. Ramirez, CFHZ’s director of community impact. “We are honored to partner with three organizations whose unique missions are  helping to increase the consistency of a healthy parent or caring adult relationships for children  in our community.” 

Two other programs are receiving grants:

MomsBloom. The nonprofit received $60,000 over two years to expand its Postpartum Support Program into  Ottawa County. MomsBloom serves families in the immediate weeks and months after a child is born, using evidence-based practices to screen for postpartum depression, provide referrals to community resources, and give direct assistance to the household. They prioritize serving single mothers, new parents who don’t have family or friends nearby, and others who lack support systems. Helping new parents navigate their roles and care for themselves and their babies is critical to creating a solid foundation for the family. 

West Michigan Marriage Center. The nonprofit received $40,000 to support the development and  implementation of its Marriage Restoration Track program and help those facing financial barriers to participation. West Michigan Marriage  Center works with couples whose marriages are in crisis, often on the brink of divorce.  

The center’s model uses Emotionally Focused Therapy, which regards the security of partner connection as the best lever for change in a dysfunctional relationship and a necessary source of both couple and individual growth. If parents are able to find a healthy path forward for their marriage, that can have a profound lasting impact on them and their ability to have a consistent, healthy relationship with their children.  

“A host of  sociological and psychological studies reveal one thing very clearly: a strong and healthy marriage is the center point of a fountain which naturally cascades down to healthier children, healthier schools, healthier workplaces, and healthier communities,” says Scot Nuismer, who co-founded the West Michigan Marriage Center with his wife, Betsy. “CFHZ understands this  truth and is actively working to see that done in West Michigan." 
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.