Originally created 03/18/03

Single parents aren't alone in new group



It's the little things, like paying for her children's field trips, that matter to Tina Guy.

Things like forking over $50 for those end-of-the-year trips stretch her one-parent budget to the limit.

"For most people that's not that big of a deal," Ms. Guy said. "But for me, working a $7-an-hour job, it's hard. That's why support for single parents is so important, so people can talk to people who understand what they're going through."

Finding that support is about to get a lot easier, thanks to another local single parent Larissa Illyn, mother to 2-year-old Dalton Hicks, wanted the support of a single-parent group, but found it difficult to find an organization geared toward parenting.

"I looked everywhere but all I could find was groups for singles, nothing for single parents," she said.

An Internet search turned up Parents Without Partners, a national nonprofit organization that provides support to single parents by offering friendship and opportunities for the exchange of parenting techniques.

"I just thought it was wonderful," she said. "What's great about it is that it provides support in three ways - with family activities, adult social activities and educational activities."

According to the organization's Web site (www.parentswithoutpartners.org), there are already more than 50,000 members in the United States and Canada. The group's demographic is 55 percent female and 45 percent male, and most parents have teenage children.

Ms. Illyn is starting a CSRA chapter of the group and will hold the first meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Warren Baptist Church, 3203 Washington Road.

The group is much more than a support network, she said.

"Some of the larger groups get involved in political and school issues and really push for the single parents," she said. "What people don't realize is that because we are single parents and we work and we go to school, it's hard for us to be at every P.T.A. meeting."

The group is open to any single parents, regardless of gender, custody or religious affiliation.

"Everyone that I've talked to is from different backgrounds," Ms. Illyn said. "We're just going to be here as a resource, to help each other."

IF YOU GO

WHAT: CSRA Chapter, Parents Without Partners

WHEN: 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: Warren Baptist Church, Welcome Center, Room C101, 3203 Washington Road

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call Larissa Illyn, (803) 819-0150, or e-mail at larillyn@aol.com.

Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3223 or jennifer.hilliard@augustachronicle.com.