Single mothers are given a chance to improve lives

When Sandra Brooks was a social worker, she dealt with many women who, like her, were single mothers.

It was through that work that she noticed a great need for services designed specifically for single mothers, she said.

"I saw that there are a lot of services in place, but there is still a big gap," she said. "Yes, there are women who are single mothers and are working, but that does not mean that they don't need help. For some of the women, the help was not there; and for the ones that had services, the services weren't adequate for their needs."

This year, she formed Sanctuary by the Brook, a nonprofit organization, to help fill the gap.

The organization offers a mentoring program for single mothers.

In coming months, it will begin sponsoring regular workshops to address topics and issues that face the women, Ms. Brooks said.

"Single mothers have a lot of hats, and it's necessary for us to balance everything," she said. "You have to balance work, managing money and, most importantly, taking care of the children so that someone else isn't raising them. A lot of times, you just want another adult to talk to and give you that extra support while you're balancing those hats."

She also hopes to add a residential program in the next couple of years. Single mothers and their children would be able to stay from 18 months to two years while they work on employability and general life skills.

"We will teach them whatever skills they need," she said. "We are going to teach them while walking alongside them while they do it. We want to be sure that once they are out there on their own they are successful."

The organization is looking for additional mentors and volunteers.

For more information about Sanctuary by the Brook, or to become a mentor or volunteer, visit www.sanctuarybythebrook.org or leave a message at (706) 952-0416.

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

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