Single Mom Project Honors Mothers at Special CelebrationMay 08, 2022 10:29AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Single Mom Project, a nonprofit founded by Manhattan Beach's Janet Jones and her sons, honored 17 single moms on Saturday at a special celebration.
At the Single Mom Project Honoring Ceremony, held at the Richstone Family Center, 17 local single moms were each granted $500. They were also treated to a magic show and a pop-up clothing boutique.
"My sons and I had the impression it was a Mother's Day our honorees won't soon forget," said Jones.
Janet Jones and her sons at Saturday's event - Photo via Janet Jones
The celebration was the
fourth semi-annual ceremony since the nonprofit was launched two years
ago. The Single Mom Project has now given out nearly $30,000 in grants.
Mothers Treated to Entertainment, Shopping Activities
Saturday's event featured a magician from the Magic Castle, performing for the parents, their children and the Single Mom Project's team of volunteers.
The mothers also got to select trendy clothes and accessories for
themselves and their children at a "pop-up boutique" donated by Harper & Harlow, a women's apparel shop in downtown Manhattan Beach.
Additionally, two honorees received Skechers $100 gift cards that were donated by a loyal supporter of the Single Mom Project.
Nearly $30,000 in Grants Given
Jones, who raised two boys as a single mother in Manhattan Beach, created the Single Mom Project in 2020 with her (now grown) sons. The Single Mom Project has partnered with the Richstone Family Center to give cash grants to low-income, hard-working single mothers whose families are clients at Richstone.
The Single Mom Project's grant-giving efforts began in December 2020, when Jones and her sons gave away a total of $5,500 to 11 single moms. On Mother's Day 2021, the group gave a total of $6,500 to 13 local single mothers. Then on Thanksgiving, the group granted granted 17 local single mothers $500 each, bringing the nonprofit's total gifts to more than $20,000 in just a year.
In March of this year, the Single Mom Project hosted a "Confidence Day" for moms that included massages and other spa treatments.
The Richstone Family Center was a natural partner for Jones and her sons in their efforts. The Richstone Family Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Hawthorne that’s dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse and trauma; strengthening and educating families; and eliminating violence in families, schools and communities. Prior to founding the Single Mom Project, the Jones family had coordinated a variety of events for Richstone, from a Back-to-School Barbecue to Free Haircut Days to Free Family Portrait Days.
For the Single Mom Project, Richstone staff and clients (both mothers and children) are encouraged to submit nomination forms that describe what the mother's needs might be -- whether it is paying rent, buying shoes for their children, or taking ESL classes.
All of the mothers who are nominated receive a $500 award. The award checks are then deposited into an account at Richstone designed to track expenditures and ensure that each contribution is wisely spent.
The Single Mom Project's Inspiration
Jones had gone through her own struggles as a single mother, and was grateful to receive support from her Tree Section neighbors and community members when her boys were young.
(Jones is known in the neighborhood for her prolific lemon tree, which she bought with her boys one year on Mother's Day as part of a lesson on how they were going to "make lemonade out of lemons." In 2020, she invited a local Cub Scout troop to pick the lemons for a food donation project.)
A pivotal moment in Jones' life came a few years ago when a good friend sent her a Mother’s Day card and tucked a $5000 check inside.
"He was dying of cancer and wrote that he wanted my sons and me to thrive," said Jones. "He died shortly thereafter, but we’re now paying Matt’s gesture forward."
The mothers have expressed to Jones how meaningful the grants are in their lives.
For example, Jones learned that one of the previous grant recipients had received permission to use her $500 to buy her child a single bed. The client said that Child Protective Services had said they would take her child away if she could not provide a bed.
"The Single Family Project helped keep that family intact," said Jones. "Even though $500 may not seem like a lot to some of us in the Beach Cities, that amount can literally keep a family together."
Donations can be made to the Single Mom Project here.