As Mother's Day approaches this year, there are many angles on honoring mom. Mom is a cherished icon in the U.S. We adore and revere her. We don't know how she does it and marvel at her fierce love and tenacity in face of challenges and threats to her children. The moms of Detroit are no exception.
Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson shared with me:
Some of the major obstacles facing striving mothers in Detroit today are reliable transportation, auto insurance costs, living wage jobs, neighborhood safety, quality housing and child care costs.
Imagine for a moment that you're a mom in Detroit living on less than what it takes for your family to thrive. You face similar challenges as all moms in low-income situations, plus more. In a car-dependent city, things like getting to work and school are a challenge and getting to the laundromat a struggle. In a city where housing is newly-available but not always complete, your apartment night not have a refrigerator or stove. You're trying to raise your kids and work and maybe get some more education so you can afford better, but too often your environment throws barriers in your way.
At my organization, Benevolent, we see the challenges that Detroit moms face because we've got their stories up on our site every day.
Danielle plans to become a Certified Nursing Assistant so she can better support her kids. Hers used to be a two-parent home, but now Danielle's on her own and determined to thrive regardless.
My goals are to own my own home, not be in debt, and be in a position to support myself and my family with a good job. Becoming a CNA will help me because once I take the classes and pass the test I will be qualified to work in different healthcare settings where there will be more job options available for me.
Darla and her 17-year-old daughter are both in school, training for medical careers. Darla's studying to work as a medical biller and her daughter as a dental hygienist.
My goal is to finish school and start my career as a medical biller and coder so that I can increase my income and better provide for my family.
That's only the tip of the amazing mom iceberg. Recently, Benevolent has posted stories in partnership with our Detroit partners, from a working mom whose exhaust system was stolen off her car and put her job at risk, to a mom whose rental apartment went into foreclosure due to a negligent landlord, and many moms who've secured stable housing for themselves and their kids only to find that they lack basic appliances like stoves, refrigerators or anywhere to do laundry.
While Detroit isn't the only place where we see needs like these cropping up, there's a theme we see magnified there -- moms who are determined to move beyond poverty and raise thriving kids, all while bobbing and weaving through obstacles. When moms are trying to work, improve their education and income, and support their kids through school and life, this backdrop makes things even harder.
Facing that kind of situation, it would be easy for any of us to focus on the negative, but here's the thing: these moms of Detroit don't have time for that. They face down adversity and they do what they need to do to keep moving towards their personal and professional goals, to care for and protect their kids, and to model tenacity, resilience and self-determination.
These programs are what Councilman Benson was referring to when he talked about connecting striving families with "training opportunities [and] supportive resources such as Benevolent and local employers." In his words, "This effort is our first step in rebuilding our community and getting Detroit back on track."
When it does get back on track, we're betting that Danielle and Darla and the other astounding Detroit moms who have shouldered their way with strength and ferocity through all the obstacles to get to their goals will be a big part of the reason the city and its children made it through.
Benevolent is a nonprofit social platform which invites you to step in and make a difference in one low-income person's life at one critical moment by contributing to support a single, clear and validated need.