Minneapolis-based nonprofit expanding to Las Vegas to help struggling single moms
Raising a child is tough, and doing it alone is even harder.
There are programs out there that helps single moms. Some help children of single moms. The Jeremiah Program works to help both at the same time.
The Jeremiah Program is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that focuses on providing resources and counseling to single mothers and their children. And they’re coming to Las Vegas later this year.
Chastity Lord is the organization’s president and CEO. She says the need to help struggling mothers is everywhere.
They decided to expand to Las Vegas after reviewing recent data within 14 different categories and the valley stood out.
“We know that UNLV has an incredible early childhood program that a lot of moms can benefit from, but unfortunately, there's not family housing,” she said as one example. “So there’s an opportunity there.”
She said the pandemic allowed them to be in a conversation “where child care and gender sits at the nexus of generational poverty.”
About 50% of those who identify as single parents sit at or below the poverty level, Lord said.
To take advantage of the program, you have to be a single mother with at least one child under 5, wanting to return to or start college education and be at or below the poverty level.
“This is an opportunity to learn from them, to pick their head up and think about themselves as well,” she said. “The mom starts with the empowerment in leadership. She gets a blueprint for her life.”
“Particularly for Nevada, we have kind of these really large structural barriers that single mothers are faced with kind of from the get-go,” says Bridget Longoria, a sociology professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Longoria said in 2020, Nevada ranked third in households that were food insecure, 44th in affordable housing, and this year, 49th in education. “We have 16.6% of our children living in poverty, with 29.2% of those children in single parent households.”
She said she was excited for the program to expand to Las Vegas, as it’s a wrap-around service, and many other nonprofits in town only provide certain pieces.
“I've been able, in the last 20 years, to change the trajectory of my life for both my daughter, myself, our families, and now I get the amazing privilege of being on the board where I get to sort of share my life experience,” said Ethelind Kaba, who used the program for support during school after having a child at a young age. “JP helped me break those cycles of poverty.”
“They just need a structure and a system that allows them to do what all great moms will do. Bet on their kids and also be able to bet on themselves,” Lord said.
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Chastity Lord, CEO, The Jeremiah Program; Ethelind Kaba, Jeremiah Program alumni and board member; Bridget Longoria, professor of sociology, UNLV