The inaugural single parents’ network conference organized by Empowering Single Parents’ Network (ESPN) was held on 7 June 2009, at City Harvest Church and attended by some 40 parents. This quarterly gathering aims to provide a place to “build relationships” and allow single parents to “find encouragement and support from one another.
It was an eventful afternoon as the session kicked off with an icebreaker, aimed to lighten the atmosphere and create a platform for organizer, Derek Dunn to address the crowd.
Isabel Sheena Ng, a 30 something single mother of a 1-year-old daughter shared her testimony on how her life turned around through love shown to her by her friends in church. In the midst of bringing up her child single-handedly, she overcame conflicts and grappled with emotional upheavals, and pressed on to become “her strongest even at her lowest.”
Clearly, the road to recovery for many single parents begins with fellowship and a listening ear from caring family members and friends. Besides providing emotional support, the organizers hope to give practical assistance through workshops such as basic home appliance knowledge, essential financial management courses, and services ranging from handyman jobs to legal advice, so as to ease the single parents’ parenting journey.
Jenny Lee, 36, sales and marketing coordinator and a mother of a 15-year-old teenager, found the child custody evaluation process particularly challenging. She says, “I’m blessed by the family and financial support I received during those difficult times.” All these helped her tremendously, especially with child-care arrangements whilst balancing the needs of her job and family.
Catherine Goh, 26, a students’ affairs officer, who sat in to accompany her single parent church member, believes that ESPN will help lone parents build meaningful relationships with one another and help them cope with various stages of parenthood through sharing a collection of experiences.
|PHOTOS: Koh Meng Kwang|
Ultimately, Empowering Single Parents’ Network aims to provide an “environment where there is security” and the knowledge that “God will fill the gap for the children.” If you would like to join this fellowship or volunteer in organizing its events, you may write in to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.