Sunday, April 19, 2009

Raising Him Alone

On Saturday, April 18, 2009, I attended the 6th Annual Heal A Woman Heal A Nation Conference at Coppin State University. Co-directors Mothyna James-Brightful and Monoka Tyson of Heal A Woman stated that they strive to rejuventate, re-energize and revitalize the life of sisterhood since we are our sister's keeper, her best friend, her confidant, her reflection and her support. The purpose of the conference is to empower woman to encourage the growth of our communities. The workshops, which I found every exciting were entitled, Taking Care of Me First, Rejuvenating The Dream, Balancing Goals And Decisions, and Creating A Balanced Life.

The portion of the conference that I was interested in was entitled Raising Him Alone. Raising Him Alone is a separate organization that supports single mothers. It is a fact that 85% of households in the US are headed by single parents and most of those are single mothers. They also give support to men who are learning to be fathers or are trying to reconnect with their children. Events have been given in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Virginia. The workshops included: Father Factor: Addressing the Pain of Our Sons Experiencing An Absent Father; Coping With The Day to Day Struggles of Being A Single Mother: Making Ends Meet On A Tight Budget and A Mother's Role in Supporting Manhood Development. I attended all of these workshops and I learned soooo much about the decisions I have made and the impact that they have had on me and Man-Child.

The luncheon was the best part of the conference (ok - the food was ok). During the luncheon, there was a panal of Celebrity MOMS. Dr. Malalia A. Hines, Principal of John Hope College Prep High School in Chicago and Mother of Hip Hop Artist and Actor Common; Dr. Brenda Green, Professor of English and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literatur at Medgar Evers College and Mother of Hip Hop Artist Talib Kweli; Sheron Smith, Author and Motivational Speaker and Mother of Hip Hop Artist Mos Def; Meshelle Forman Shields, Actress, Comedienne and Motivational Speaker, Cassandra Mack, Founder and CEO of Strategies for Empowered Living and Dana Bankins, grandmother who raised Five Sons.

Each of these woman were very open and honest as they shared with the audience their personal trials of raising boys. They discussed fathers, abuse, fighting gangs, decision making, dealing with the court system, facing jail time with their sons, over compensating with gifts, faith, importance of prayer, taking care of self, reaching out for help, and knowing when enough is enough. I found Dr. Mahaila Hines to be wonderful. She encouraged All mothers to take a personal look at themselves to find the answers to many of the questions we had on raising our sons.

The day was very refresing, and as they stated at the beginning of the conference, REJUVENATING. I met a lot of mothers with sons in jail, hospitals, dealing with children with ADHD, teen fathers, those trying to accept and understand sexual orientation, and so much more. The one common theme, though every circumstance was different, we were looking for support and encouragement for our sons. I grabbed many handouts, collected several free books, 10 Steps out of Puberty: A Teen's Guide to Successful Living by LaMarr Shields, Raising Hi Alone by David Miller; The Single Mom's Little Book of Wisdom by Cassandra Mack; and an audio book "Raising God's Children Alone". The only disappointing part for me was that many of the programs offered were for boys between the age of 10- 12 or 14-18. I questioned "What happens to 13 yr olds?" However, I did get a couple of leads for mentoring programs and tutoring groups that I plan to look into.

When I chose the name for this blog, I never thought that there was an organization dedicated to helping single mothers. I am glad my Sistah-friends encouraged me to write about some of my experiencing so that I may also be able to help others as others have helped me.

Please checkout their website for more information and locations of conference near you.


  1. Hey Cilla sounds like the conference was very informative...glad you were able to attend.

  2. Hey Cilla,
    The conference sounds as though it did exactly what it said it would do: reinvigorate and revitalize you! I'm happy you chose to attend, and I do so hope the leads pan out with something for Manchild. Keep the Faith girl.

  3. Thanks Edwina and Yasmin... I could not do it without y'alls support :-)

  4. What a life-affirming event. So often you attend seminars and feel like it is the same old stuff regurgitated. This sounds like this was the right thing at the right time.

  5. As usual a wonderful and insightful blog. So glad you could attend and that it was informative and helpful to you.
    Thanks for sharing the information and I will pass the information on to several women who are raising sons.

  6. Hi Cilla,

    Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad you had such a great time and gained a wealth of knowledge at the same time.

  7. Hey Sista-Queen,

    The conference sounds amazing and I'm going to recc. it to several other Queens. Love that you had this experience and that it gave you energy that you can grow from. You deserve all the support, comfort and happiness your heart and hands can hold. Thanks for passing on the info so others can grow with you.

    Much Love,

  8. 'Cilla: I thought of you over the weekend. I am so glad it turned out to be rejuvenating and most important, a source of support. You're already doing a wonderful job; keep on sis!

  9. Thanks for sharing the information. I will pass the information on to women who are raising sons and to my son whose a young father as a resource to him build himself up. This sounds like it was an amazing conference and if it comes to Chicago, I am going to do my best to attend. Thanks as usually 'Cilla.

  10. Glad you enjoyed yourself and received a plethora of information. I know you are already doing a wonderful job at raising Man-Child.

  11. Cilla, I'm so glad I learned about your blog. Thank you for the very informative post. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on what you learned at the conference.