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Civil society helps single moms become financially independent

Global Goals & Global Society
Civil society helps single moms become financially independent

Paths for Single Mothers launched in southern Arizona (USA) in 2020 and eventually expanded into the state's central region.

Karen Montgomery discovered about the Paths for Single Mothers program as she neared the end of her sentence at Perryville Prison in Goodyear last year.

She applied immediately after attending a lecture about how to qualify for free higher education and was accepted. “Three days after I got out [of Perryville], I knew I was going to be starting school,” Montgomery said.

In November, the mother of three, who now works at the Cambria Hotel in downtown Phoenix, enrolled in Mesa Community College's database development program. She plans to finish it by the end of the year and intends to put the talents she learns at the hotel to use.

"I recommend this program to anyone who wants to accomplish something better," Montgomery stated.

A Growing Program

The Women's Foundation for the State of Arizona is now collaborating with Coconino Community College to expand the program to the northern half of the state.

The college hopes to help 30 to 40 women complete the program, which offers 11 career paths.

Women accepted into the program pay no tuition, receive free child care if necessary, and receive a stipend to assist cover transportation, supplies, and other school-related expenditures.

After completing their studies, the mothers can receive additional assistance in developing a resume, dressing professionally, interviewing, and managing their finances.

"The Pathways Program for Single Mothers' wraparound support design and holistic approach is truly a best practice model with a track record of success," Tony Williams, the college's vice president of student services, stated in a press release.

Obtaining a Living Wage

Leslie Ybarra Zambada was working minimum wage and attempting to maintain herself and her three children. She was able to find a better job after enrolling in the Pathways for Single Mothers program, and she now earns tens of thousands of dollars more every year.

"I went from just scraping by to, I don't know, it just feels like so much less stress, just being financially solid," Ybarra Zambada said. When she learned about the Pathways program, the Phoenix native was already active in another Women's Foundation program called Dress for Success.

She applied for and is now seeking a small business management credential at Glendale Community College, which will take around six months to accomplish.

Ybarra Zambada said Wal-Mart approached her about a potential job while she was looking for a higher-paying job, but the corporate representative indicated she lacked college experience. Ybarra Zambada was able to follow up with the employer and demonstrate that she was pursuing the certification—and she was successful.

"A lot of that opportunity came from me being able to go through school and tell them, 'Hey, it's something that I don't have now, but I will have it soon,'" Ybarra Zambada said.

She said she had a terrific time with the Pathways program and that her current position, which she has been at for three months, is still "unreal" at times.

"I'm grateful to everyone involved," she said, "and this has been a big benefit for me."

The UN's 2015 adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has since become the overall framework for UN activities, has a direct impact on mothers. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of this program, or "Agenda 2030," are a major source of optimism for women all over the world, especially the poorest ones who live in rural or isolated places. They represent a commitment to a brighter future for both their children and themselves.

Global society is of the opinion that empowering and recognizing moms may significantly advance many of these objectives. By supporting mothers and their children, the return on investment is largely positive for the realization of the 2030 agenda!


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