Enlightened Helping Hand Foundation – like any other charitable organization – begun its activities powered by compassion and – to some degree – the lack of first-hand experience with the impact charity has on its recipients. We were eager to end the suffering of poor single parents with children. From the very start, in addition to life skills’ workshops, we sought to provide relief in the form of food, clothing, furniture, etc. to single parent families in need.
2013 was a year of massive growth for EHHF in terms of its membership, food and goods’ distributed to struggling single parent families, welcoming new donors, connecting with great volunteers and relationship building. Take a look:
(Read more on EHHF’s blog….)
It was our belief that once the hungry are fed, the children are clothed and their homes provide basic comforts, we’ll be able to move on to the next step and help the recipients of food and goods move into successful self-sufficiency. Based on first hand experience however we learned that poverty and hopelessness as well as dependency rob struggling single parents of the determination to get back on their feet.
As cruel as it may sound to someone who hasn’t done the work we’ve done, charitable giving breeds helplessness. Don’t misunderstand me: the immediate help of emergency food and other survival items is – and will always be – necessary. (The work done by food banks is absolutely critical to survival of the most vulnerable among us.) In the case of EHHF, our goal is to assist struggling single parent families to not only overcome a crisis but RECOVER from it, not to support the habit of helplessness. EHHF is here to help struggling single parents eager to lift themselves up by the bootstraps, like the Founder of Enlightened Helping Hand Foundation’s once did.
That’s why after a long time of catering to emergency needs of disadvantaged single parents with children, Enlightened Helping Hand Foundation has evaluated its effectiveness and revised its course for 2014.
Enlightened Helping Hand Foundation’s long term vision is “to create a transitional facility that would provide housing, meals, psychological care, child care, after school program, adult education as well as employment to facilitate the transition of disadvantaged single parents with children into independence and successful self-sufficiency. With the ultimate goal of ensuring that every child – the child of a single parent included – is safe, nurtured and educated and that single parents’ families are as strong and successful as two parent families.”
It has become clear to us that a comprehensive approach would be the most effective in assisting impoverished single parents with children to a full recovery. New members come to us not only needy but often exhausted, hopeless and traumatized by their experiences. A comprehensive approach, which would support their emotional recovery (with professional counseling) along with full care (room, board and childcare) combined with education, job training, life skills’ workshops and employment would help disadvantaged single parents to not only recover their self-confidence and resume (or begin) productive lives but heal their wounds like no food and goods alone ever could.
For now the transitional, full service facility is but a dream. Without it, EHHF cannot provide the comprehensive recovery program it would like to provide to single parents with children.
Still our experience catering to disadvantaged single parent families’ immediate needs taught us that in addition to improving the quality of lives, it also robs unemployed and underemployed single parents of their determination to succeed which is why in 2014 Enlightened Helping Hand Foundation will discontinue its emergency food and goods program. EHHF will continue its individual case management and life skills’ workshops for adults (to improve their work and money management skills) which have proven successful and add:
- a referral program
- professional counsel
- after-school program for children from disadvantaged single parents’ households
It is Enlightened Helping Hand Foundation’s belief that the main focus of our work should center on facilitating recovery from a crisis, not extending the crisis’ duration.
The solution may be less than ideal, but restoring disadvantaged single parents’ pride in self-sufficiency and independence while providing them with much needed tools and support is the main goal of our organization.