If I Made It Through THAT, I can make it Through Anything- Life Lessons from the Pandemic
No one ever could have imagined the challenges of the last year. It's impossible not to assign deeper meaning to the pandemic.... something more has to come from so much loss. I'd like to believe we all grew and learned from this experience. (Perhaps you can now bake a mean loaf of sourdough?) And I'm proud to say we blossomed as an organization.
We opened the Empowerment Center in 2019, to foster community and connection, through IN-PERSON programs and events. The onset of COVID-19 only nine months later required we quickly PIVOT (the most over-used word of the decade). But by listening to our families' needs and responding, a time that could have been disasterous became a time of innovation. And, in the stillness, I found myself practicing what I preach....
I talk so much with women about resilience, about making the most of difficult situations, about choosing faith over fear, about believing in yourself and your potential.... and those truths are the reason Single Mom Strong is thriving. From our calendar full of in-person events, to the overhead of the new Empowerment Center, we had so many reasons to fail. But, we had one even greater reason to survive, and it was this simple: we believed. I know this is my purpose and my commitment to our mission will not waiver, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by a team of people who feel the same. It's that belief that carried us through.
In the past year, we finalized all of the plans that had been on the horizon. From fully defining our workforce development program, with the addition of Pre-Employment Coaching, our Career Exploration Program and, finally, the Career Clothing Closet, (which will open this summer), to opening our Pre-K classroom. We filled the event-free hours with growth. Now, on the horizon of a "return to normal", I feel so many things: excited, a bit anxious, hopeful and mostly grateful. I am grateful for our incredible EmpowerME team who stepped up to the challenge and not only operated our preschool and childcare with almost no disruption throughout the pandemic, but finished the job of building out those programs to the level of quality we had promised. I am grateful for the massive amount of community support that kept us going when grant and sponsorship opportunities waned. Mostly, I am grateful for each vote of confidence we received: via a message, an hour of volunteering (so many toys to disinfect!), or a donation.
They are proof that you believe, too.
What I have gained from this is solidification of the lesson taught by every other adversity I have faced in my life:
If I made it through that, I can make it through anything. And that is always my message to the moms in our organization, or to anyone really... to YOU, in case you need a reminder. All of your traumas, all of the obstacles you have overcome, they are proof that you CAN. You have survived 100% of your worst days, including now, a year-long (and counting!) pandemic. What more proof do you need to believe in yourself?