by Amy Storms
“Pray for lifelines,” writes Melanie Lightbourn-Rowe, “and don’t drown while one is dangling right in front of you!”
Two years ago, Melanie found one such lifeline in front of her: Valencia’s own Single Mothers Outreach. Newly divorced, and new to the Santa Clarita Valley, she was in desperate need of support. At a friend’s recommendation, Melanie tried SMO.
“I got so much more than I had bargained,” she says. “I was introduced to [Programs and Services Director] Jennifer Kennedy for the first time and was completely impressed, not only with the level of professionalism with which I was handled, but with a great support base from the beginning.”
Since that day, SMO has been a much-needed resource for Melanie and her two boys. She has participated in the monthly Shop the Closet and annual Adopt-a-Family events, but her favorite program at SMO is Financial Peace University.
“I had a ton of financial issues that I didn’t know how to resolve,” Melanie writes. “But through FPU, I was able to pay off my debt and focus on saving for emergencies. Empowerment is SMO’s specialty, and I’ve been empowered in such a way that when I am able to make large contributions, SMO will be at the top of my list.”
Being debt free let Melanie return to school without excuses. She recently obtained her M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Leadership Policies, and she hopes to become a middle school administrator this fall.
Melanie admits that she isn’t yet where she’d like to be, and she credits Single Mothers Outreach with helping her strive for more. She inspires others to do the same.
“As single parents,” Melanie says, “we are not hopeless, nor are we crippled by our circumstances. We are uniquely strengthened because there is something that resides in us that pushes us to greatness.”
Today, Melanie “dangles the lifeline” of SMO in front of others, too. She has invited several single moms to the local office.
“We seldom seek help for ourselves because we are proud to be self-sufficient,” Melanie notes. “I had to place my pride in my back pocket. I realized that if a little help goes a long way, then a lot of help could change a life! And that is what SMO provides.”
Please shop at Closet on Main, located in Newhall, CA. All proceeds benefit the families Single Mothers Outreach serves. For more information on Single Mothers Outreach, call 661-288-0117 or visit www.singlemothersoutreach.org.