MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Margaret Cowan, the founder of I Am My Sister’s Keeper knows what it’s like to be a single parent.
“I’ve been a single mom since I was 19. So almost 21 years,” she said. “When I was working full time and going to school full time, I was like losing it. My mom was like Johnny on the spot. I was having class in the evenings after I got off work. Get home around nine o’clock, she would keep them.”
She knows not everyone has a support system like she did.
“People would be like bringing their kids or their kids would be sitting in the hallway while they were in class because they don’t have a babysitter,” she recalled.
That is why she created I Am My Sister’s Keeper, an organization that alleviates stressors preventing single mothers from being successful. They help with affordable housing, child care and provide essential items like diapers, personal care and even clothes.
Every other Wednesday, they meet up via Zoom to check in with each other. And every Friday, the moms take part in learning sessions.
“We talk about things like wealth to self esteem, to credit and self care,” she said.
Those Zoom meet ups are important to Alondra Hawkins, a single mother of four.
“Sometimes they catch me,” she said. “I’m probably just done crying or about to cry or having a rough day.”
Hawkins was referred to I Am My Sister’s Keeper through the 211 hotline when she was inquiring about community assistance.
“For us to be able to have people to talk to that can kind of understand what we’re dealing with, especially not just the physical but the mental part. Like sometimes we need a mental break. I love my kids but sometimes I just need like a five minute cool off,” she said.
Cowan wants to make sure single mothers are not forgotten.
“A place to be heard, understood, taken seriously and not judged,” she said.
That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give I Am My Sister’s Keeper $1,000, because it does take a village to raise a child. and often times, your village is not made up of family members. It’s made up of supportive friends. They’re a true community changer.