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The Single MOM KC: Providing Hope, Courage and Community

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Maria is the proud mother of two beautiful boys. She became a single mom when her youngest was five months old. The realities of single motherhood meant that even with a solid education and nursing career, Maria found herself and her boys homeless, sleeping on couches and living out of her car. Maria describes the anger and resentment that grew within her to become all-consuming, and the emotional pain so immense it became physical. Everything in her life was impacted by this turmoil, even her boys. 

For many families in the Kansas City area, Maria’s story is a familiar one. Forty percent of children in Kansas City are growing up in single-parent homes, which is higher than the national average. This statistic has far-reaching implications for lifelong health and well-being for both mother and child. The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that “children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to drop out of school, to have or cause a teen pregnancy and to experience a divorce in adulthood.” Single-mother families are about five times as likely to experience poverty as married-parent families, which can increase stress and lead to mental illness and depression. This is particularly true when single mothers do not have access to supportive networks. 

The Single MOM KC, or TSMKC, ministry was founded in 2009 by Misty Hughes in defiance of these troubling statistics. As a single mom, Misty knew first-hand the exhaustion and isolation that comes with bearing the full responsibility of parenthood and provision. She spearheaded a movement for other single-mom families, and soon a grassroots organization of women gathered together to provide hope, courage and community to each other. 

Twelve years later, TSMKC has formalized its foundational priorities of hope, courage and community into a comprehensive, holistic program that equips families to be restored into a better story. TSMKC invites the more than 61,600 single-mother families in the Kansas City metro area to join together in communities of solid, stable, growing families. TSMKC is peer led and highly collaborative, with trained single mother leaders implementing a majority of its programming. 

Today, Maria, one of those trained leaders, has found greater peace and a comfortable apartment. She credits TSMKC for “feeding my soul, teaching me how to pray for my kids, their future and even their dad. It was a lot of work, but little by little, with God’s help and with guidance from TSMKC, I was able to give up my anger and resentment. And I started seeing that freedom in my kids too.”

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Written by: Rachel Segobia