Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacie Poythress.
Stacie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I became a devoted single parent of my son after a divorce with is dad; who, never really reached out to us or supported us in any way due to his own struggles. Despite this; my son and I had a wonderful home, family, and friends. I vowed to stay positive and to always be grateful for our health, happiness, faith, peace, and opportunity. I even helped at my church to reach out to other single-parent families.
I am an advertising and media executive with wonderful family, friends, and business opportunities; however, like many in 2008-2009; I lost my employment during the economic downturn of the time in a company merger. This is when I really felt the absence of financial support from my son’s father. It was the first time I had been unable to financially provide independently and it truly opened my eyes to how scary it is to raise a child on your own when you are not equipped for it. Even though I had been provided an exit lump sum to “get us through”, I exhausted it due to the length of time it took to gain new employment. Even my parents were reluctant to help financially due to the continued times I kept asking for help. I was very low in my spirits and self-worth. I felt ashamed even though there was really nothing I did not do to get on my own feet again. Later, even though I found new employment – it was not enough. There was an accumulated amount of back due debt to pay, and we nearly lost our home. Due to the fact that I had a home and a car, I was turned down for assistance by area non-profits. When I called the State for help, they provided $14/mo. appx in food stamps and CHIPS Health Insurance for my son – but nothing for me/our household. They said I “had too much” – that they might be able to give more if I was pregnant.
I could not rationalize that $14 in food stamps and health insurance was all that was available to me for the purpose of providing my child a home, healthy food, transportation, education, and so on. If I was the only person that he could rely upon; then, why didn’t there exist a resource for that purpose? I was so confused.
Anyway, so I could not find financial aid through the transition that would keep us afloat. So I just kept working both ends against the middle. I accepted the health insurance for my son and took the “smaller” job, and then, worked with the bank on the mortgage, and “just kept swimming”.
Along the way we met a handicapped single mom and she also needed help; even moreso. We welcomed them into our home and together found peace in companionship during our mutual struggles. She was handicapped with an eye condition and had been unable to get employment.
I was helping her one day in Downtown Dallas at Legal Aid. on the way to file for my own business when I had an “aha” moment that I feel was divinely inspired. As I was filing for my business to be created, I would file also for a non-profit to be created to help more families like ours. It was that day that Single Parent Advocate was created.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have been so many bumps and lumps – and also so many fabulous opportunities. I have grown in every which way as I grow into my own “skin” while fostering Single Parent Advocate through its first ten years!
Learning about how to file Trademarks, create bylaws, host fundraisers, recruit and keep a board of directors, create programs, collect and distribute donations, All of this comes alongside, writing meaningful articles, speaking occasionally in the community, drying terrified tears of other parents, encouraging a board and volunteerism effort that will last beyond me.
All this while still being present within my own life and family, and working full time.
Most people who know me, ask me “why” – it has taken a toll on every part of my life. However; yet, and still, I cannot imagine me without the Single Parent Advocate community.
Perhaps that which we define – defines us?
Please tell us about Single Parent Advocate.
Today, Single Parent Advocate is a 501c3 Non Profit with a working board and advisory board that serves single parent families in the North Texas region (Dallas/Collin/ Tarrant/Rockwall). Additionally, Single Parent Advocate publishes an online website and social sites that encourages and equips families we cannot reach with our “hands and feet” yet.
In North Texas, families are nominated for our safe social program or for our parental educational scholarship program. Nominations are accepted from area schools, churches, other nonprofits, or businesses. This nomination process is designed to make it possible to actually assist single parent families among the working poor who would normally be disqualified for aid because they do not live at or below the poverty line – yet and still, have children whose needs are beyond their capacity to earn.
One time, at the beginning of this journey I had a single mother, employed at an area hospital, tell me that she “felt punished” for working, and for trying to “do the right thing” and not just live “off the system”. Later I learned that this is the case for many types of families; but that single parent families was a large portion of them.
In North Texas, according to the Center for Public Policy Priority, it takes approximately $48,000 to raise two (2) children on one income, and that only about 30% of the available jobs actually pay that much.
I am most proud that I listened, that I am learning, and that I can leverage that to help our community understand this “gap” and collaborate together to bridge it.
What were you like growing up?
As a young girl, I danced and tormented my poor brother. I was a little bossy and competitive. I was always encouraged by my grandmother to “smell the roses” but had a fear of missing out on anything going on around me.
Growing up, as a teen, I was a go-getter. I worked hard at our family business and at school. I was pretty typical in that I experienced sibling rivalry with my brother, questioned my mom on most things, and revered my dad. I wanted to be just like him.
I ran track in high school and was a member of my school’s honor societies. I loved my 1968 red Ford Mustang, my girlfriends, and my boyfriend.
Later, in college, I developed a love of singing and continued my interest in dancing….and, truly found a personal relationship with God.
- $28 Fills a Backpack for a child
- $50 Provides a family meal at Thanksgiving
- $100 makes Christmas brighter for a small family
- $200 makes Christmas brighter for a larger family
- $250 buys school books for a single parent going to college to increase their earnings
- $500 pays for part of tuition for a single parent going to college to increase their earnings
- Website: https://singleparentadvocate.org
- Phone: 214-534-4460
- Email: [email protected]
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/singleparentadvocate/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SingleParentAdvocate/?ref=bookmarks
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/singleparentadv?lang=en
Volunteer group photos from our Back to School and Christmas events. At Christmas, thanks to a partnership with Spokes for Folks and Lifetime Fitness of Flowermound, we distribute bicycles to parents and children to assist with transportation and fitness needs. Each year we participate in North Texas Giving Day and we went down to WFAA with our WOW Wall (Words of Wisdom), alongside a close up of a note from one of our families. SPA serves 1600 individuals (parents and children) in the North Texas area. We have wonderful partnerships with Huffines Automotive Group, who helps us make all this happen with in kind help as well as professional non profit guidance.